April NewsLetter








Sorry the Newsletter’s a bit late this month – I’ve been preparing my U3A walk round Otley’s pubs; I’ve been away; and worst of all I went on the 4 pubs walk preview and sprained my ankle. Oh, and the weather was really warm . . . and some other excuses that I can’t remember right now. Still – hope you enjoy it! [And my grateful thanks to t’other Bob, who went round the pubs collecting this month’s information – yep, I really had sprained my ankle, but don’t let my clumsiness put you off the Walking Festival!]



Everywhere I’ve been around Otley over the past week or so, pub gardens and outside seats have been packed with people enjoying the unseasonably warm and sunny weather. Pubs have to make the most of any opportunities that come their way to stay solvent, and weather like this during a major public and long school holiday is a godsend! Tailed off a bit over the weekend, but it was great while it lasted and it looks as though there’s more to come this week.



April already, and Summer’s on its way [unless we’ve had it all already – see above!] So here’s an early plug for one of Otley’s most popular annual festivals. The Walking Festival runs from Saturday June 27 to Sunday July 5 this year, and many of its 50-odd walks involve calling in at a local hostelry. So why am I talking about it so far in advance? Because 3 members of the OPC Committee, plus one, tried out the ’Four Pubs Walk’ on Easter Monday. The walk is on the first day of the Festival, and involves calling in at the eponymous 4 pubs during a walk of about 10 miles. We all just about managed it, with a pint in each pub and the odd bowl of chips along the way, and of course the weather was glorious! So if you like walking, and drinking, and the Wharfe valley countryside, I can thoroughly recommend it. [Seek out the yellow Walking Festival programme in Otley’s pubs, and at Chevin Trek on Gay Lane, Otley.]


Not only the Tour de Yorkshire to look forward to – with its ‘Cote de Chevin’ climb up East Chevin Road looking as though it’ll be packed out – but Otley Street Festival on the same day as well. The Street Festival is a FREE, fun day out for all the family with lots of music and entertainment being planned. Acts already booked include dancers, stilt walkers, face painters, juggler, balloon modeller, children’s colouring activities and much more.

The event starts at 12 noon and runs until 4pm. The music, provided by various groups of local musicians and performers, then continues in the Market Place into the evening.

For further details keep checking the website.

For those of you who can’t sleep, there’s bound to be the usual dancing at dawn on top of The Chevin on Friday the 1st of May. Watching Wayzgoose, The Buttercross Belles and Briggate Morris dance from about 4am onwards at Surprise View is certainly a good way to blow away the cobwebs and prepare for a fun weekend. There’ll be dancing round the maypole on Friday evening as well, and then watch out for Morris sides dancing outside the pubs over the long weekend.


One of the issues that divides residents about an event like this, is the closure of roads and restriction of services while it’s going through. In the case of the TdY, it’s even worse! We were unsuccessful in our request to Leeds City Council, to change the route from Birdcage Walk – to Burras Lane and Bondgate – so more people could see it. They said that a ’rolling road closure’ of about 90 minutes would cause too much disruption. Since then, they have closed Bondgate completely in the afternoon and evening over two weekends for roadworks. Now they are about to close West Chevin Road for works to improve the road surface – possibly for the safety of TdY riders, which I can’t complain about. The works will take place between 09:30 and 15:30 from Monday April 20th to Thursday April 30th inclusive. The attached notice doesn’t actually say whether the road will be open during the rest of the day and night, but if it isn’t, it’s really going to annoy the hundreds of drivers who use it as a short cut! http://rykdownes.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/04/09/temporary-road-closure-west-chevin-road-otley-leeds/#page-content


On the 6th of April, changes came into force under The Licensing Act that meant on-licence pub premises no longer needed special licences for a number of entertainment activities. The amendments cover live and recorded music, plays, films and more – as described in this article from The Publican’s Morning Advertiser. There are still other licensing and copyright requirements in place of course – like those of the Performing Rights Society and film licensing organisations. The Government website offers more guidance, but at least it’s a bit more ‘Red Tape’ that’s been cut from licensees’ lives!



The Government has confirmed that the statutory code for pubs is expected to come into force by May 2016, and that an adjudicator should be ‘up and running’ before that date. The new draft code will include the details of the recently agreed market rent only [MRO] option before it goes out for final consultation. More details are included in this article, again from the Morning Advertiser.


As part of the celebrations for the first ever Community Pubs Day, the Government has allocated another £200,000 to the Community Shares Unit – the body that supports people coming together and using community shares to save local assets. Over £50million has been invested by communities in the past year, and the Government expects to see a further 150 community-owned enterprises start up this year. They can be shops, businesses – even farms – but our interest of course is in pubs, and we’ll be keeping our eye on this if ever one of Otley’s community pubs looks as though it’s about to go under.

At (almost) the same time, Pub is the Hub has secured an extra £100k of Government funding for its community service fund, which will go directly to pubs that are looking to diversify. The fund is to help pub landlords provide essential services to their local community – like libraries, post offices or shops. Not needed in Otley at the moment, but it’s always worth knowing about these potential funding sources for the future!


And talking of diversifying – a pub in Cheshire was shortlisted last month for a Government award that recognises the country’s most responsible businesses. The Wheatsheaf Inn near Malpas has been nominated because of its services to the community – including its own ‘meals on wheels’ service for the elderly. Landlady Emma Harvey said they were the only small business represented, alongside business giants like Marks and Spencer, Fujitsu and Sony. Local MP Stephen O’Brien, who had nominated the pub, said it was a great example of how “people with good business sense lead innovation and improvement in the services available in vibrant communities.” Full article here.


Just a reminder to any publicans reading this, that there is no way round the TV licensing of Premier League football on SKY or BT Sports channels. Another 7 pubs from Gateshead to Woking have recently been fined between £5K and £9K for breaches of copyright, and landlords are being warned not to believe suppliers who say they care allowed to show foreign broadcasts of live PL matches, for instance. The Premier League are currently engaged in their biggest ever investigation programme, and they WILL take action against pubs who breach their copyright. So if you do want to show the best sport, make sure you’ve contacted SKY or BT first!


This article from the Publican’s Morning Advertiser was my favourite April Fools Day story – that Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were planning to open a chain of motoring themed pubs. A highlight would be a special Saturday night celebrity feature from one of their pubs called ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Bar’!

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I haven’t pointed this out before, but The Bay Horse was the top collecting box host for 2014, in support of St Michael’s, proving once again that pubs really are an important part of the community. And don’t forget Bay Horse Court is one of the regular Morris dancing spots on Mayday weekend.


Exciting stuff going on here – but STILL can’t tell you what. Watch this space!


Food now available 12 hours a day – 9am to 9pm – and a new menu coming soon. Mums and toddlers group is thriving. Very early warning of a big pub re-opening first birthday party in July!! [We’ll be there.]


“Nowt special on”, they say! [OK, so that’s just cheap beer, cheap food all day every day, and a huge number of South-facing tables in the sun, then?]


As well as the disco karaoke every Sunday from 2, there’s now a BBQ every weekend [weather permitting]. Children welcome.

Sat 18 April – Ra’s and The Real Girl

Sun 3 May – rooms available for the TdY

Sat 30 May [Early warning!] – Comedy hypnotist Chris Lee, 7:30pm.


Keep checking out the new beers and food menu. Fred’s still settling in and making the place his own – and hasn’t that garden been fabulous in this weather?


Open mic night this Thursday 16 April @8:30pm, soon to be a regular event. Also another ‘Meet The Brewer’ event coming up in April, after the success of the last one! Don’t know the details yet, so you’ll probably get another email from me when I do!


Quiz Wednesdays; Music every Tuesday and every other Saturday:

Tues 14 April – Resonators 9pm

Sat 18 April – Bar Code Zebra Band


Last month, Paddy’s Day, this month Mayo Day – Saturday May 2nd! Same celebrations, same excitement, same atmosphere! Irish music, and Irish dancers. Check the Facebook page at The Manor House Otley for exact details. Also:

Sunday  May Edel Fox – unbelievable opportunity to see this internationally renowned Irish musician performing FREE in a pub in Otley! [The pub has also booked the Thwaites shire horses on the same day, so keep checking Facebook for that as well.]


See all the cycling Spring Classics on TV:

Sun 14 April – Paris Roubaix (missed it!)

Sun 19 April – Amstel Gold

Sun 26 April – Liège/Bastogne/ Liège

Sunday Breakfast Club still has coffee and croissants for £3:50 from 11am every Sunday til they run out – with that locally-made bacon jam if you want to try it. Second early warning that The North Bar pubs are running a ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ bus trip starting at The Cross Keys in Leeds at 6:15pm on the 8th, 15th and 22nd of May. Full details at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/north-bar-magical-mystery-bus-tour-tickets-16014575025?ref=estw


Champion beers of Britain beer festival at Easter was a great success – thanks to the 30 beers on offer over the 5 days, but also thanks to you the customers turning up in large numbers! Back down to 9 cask ales now, including favourites Mary Jane, Landlord and Theakstons.


Open mic night is now every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Plus live music:

Fri April 17 – Craig and Wylie

Sat April 18 – Richie Scharmler

Fri April 24 – Steve Chapman Smith

Meet The Brewer with Saltaire Brewery on Thursday April 30. 3 Cask ales plus bottles to taste, with food included, all for £12. Buy tickets now to avoid disappointment.

Darts players are still needed to complete the pub’s team, playing on Wednesday nights [and when the weather is like it was over Easter, don’t forget the garden is a real suntrap!]


Charlie Wells’ Bombardier and another new beer [tba] soon, to join the other quality local cask ales OTB. Sky Sports; and the usual great music on Fridays and Saturdays:

Fri 17 April – Cat Diva

Sat 18 April – Kelly Rox

Fri 24 April – Ricky Starr

Sat 25 April – Jennie Laine

And keep checking their Facebook page at The Otley Tavern, to find out more


Watch out for big changes here, as the upstairs room is being prepared for live music – coming soon!


You can tell Summer’s on its way when The Roebuck opens its doors on a Monday again.  Now Easter’s come and gone, they’re open 7 days a week. What’s more, barbecues are on their way. Not sure yet whether there’ll be one over Mayday weekend, so keep checking with the pub.


Quiz night Tuesday – jackpot £250 tonight [14 April] if you read this in time! [If not, you’d better go down next Tuesday and find out whether it was won.]

Sun 3 May – Sunday lunch til 5pm [will be busy!] Plus late opening – disco.


If you’ve been a bit confused, or even concerned, about the succession of managers at The Royalty since it re-opened last February, this might put your mind at rest. New landlord Danny has now taken over the lease on what we believe to be a rent-only option, which should give him a bit more freedom to control things. He’s already been very friendly to The Walking Festival, agreeing to open early for their ‘Four Pubs Walk’ on June 27, and for a young guy he’s had bags of experience in the pub trade already. We were up there on Easter Monday – 5 days after he’d arrived! The sun was shining, the place was packed, and the future looked rosy, so we wish him good luck. He is still looking for experienced ‘front of house’/bar staff full time by the way, if you want to go up and see him.


Quiz on Thursdays and live music every Saturday check with pub for details of bands; ‘like’ their Facebook page at Whitakers; and follow @WhitakersOtley on Twitter.


Bar-Room Buskers still going great guns every week. As well as Cask Wednesdays when all ales are £2:50 a pint, there are now ‘pensioners’ specials’ from noon to 5pm, Monday to Friday – John Smiths/Carlsberg/Black Sheep @£2:50 as well.

[BTW – Congratulations to Chris, who I understand has been away on his honeymoon!]


It’s all about food this month!

Wednesday is pie night – £5:95

Friday there’s free food [if you’re drinking, of course!] from 5pm, ‘til it runs out. Could be curry, or chilli, or ‘posh dogs’ or anything – it changes every week.

Sunday is the day for a roast carvery.

Watch this space [and their Facebook Page at The Yew Tree Inn Otley] for news of more food offers coming up. [And by the way, they’re looking for a cook for their kitchen as well, so if you fancy it, get in touch with the landlord Brett ASAP!]

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That’s all for now – with the usual apologies for things I’ve missed or misrepresented, and thanks as usual to everyone for giving me [and Bob!] their time and information.

Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

14 April 2015

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