Do you remember that I thought the weather was bad last month? Then it immediately took a turn for the worse! Fortunately we didn’t suffer quite as much as communities from Carnforth to Carlisle, but the Wharfe’s been over its banks a couple of times in the last month. We were also really lucky that the gales at the beginning of December had died down enough by the 6th to let the Victorian Fayre go ahead as planned – and it was a huge success [more news below].

Now all we have to do is keep our fingers crossed that we’ll have snow at Christmas, and a clear, bright New Year weekend, so we can get out for some brisk country walks, ending by a pub fireside! But first – the all-important pub opening times over the holidays, for those who fancy a bit of socialising with their mates before or after the family festivities!



Pubs in alphabetical order every time from now on. Links to Facebook pages on highlighted pubs this month only, so you might want to keep this one – or better still ‘Like’ each pub so you always know what’s going on! Twitter next month! All days not shown against any pub will be normal opening hours. And just in case there’s anyone who doesn’t understand my shorthand code, XE – Christmas Eve; XD – Christmas Day; BD – Boxing Day; NYE – New Year’s Eve; NYD – New Year’s Day.

A couple of things worth mentioning – we think THE RED LION will be the only pub in town open in the evening on Christmas Day, and THE ROYALTY will be opening at 10:00 on Boxing Day morning for people who are up on the Chevin early, for the annual Chevin Chase running race!


Still uncertain. I’ll try to find out before Christmas and let you all know.


XD – 11:00 to 14:30


XD – Closed

BD – Closed

NYD – Closed


XE – Open through to 01:00

XD – 11 to 16:00

NYE – Open through to 01:00


XD – 11 TO 3


XE – Noon to midnight

XD – Noon to 17:30 WITH FOOD.

BD – Noon to 22:30

NYE – Noon till ‘late’!


XE – Noon to 23:00 [Food to 20:00]

XD – Closed

BD – Noon to 23:00, food to 16:00

NYE – Noon through to 00:30, food to 18:00

NYD – Noon to 23:00. NO FOOD


XD – Noon to 15:00


XD – Noon to 15:00

NYE – Open through until ‘late’! With DJ, not ticketed.


XE – 11 to 02:00

XD – Closed

NYE – Noon through to 02:00

NYD – Closed


XD – Noon to 15:00

NYE – Open through to midnight


XE – Open through to 01:00

XD – 11 to 15:00

NYE – Open through to 02:00. With DJ, not ticketed.


XD – Noon to 14:00

NYE – Close at 17:30. Re-open from 19:00 until ‘late’. [Ticket in advance only]


XE – Noon through to 01:00

XD – Noon to 14:00, and 19:00 to 22:00

NYE – Noon through to 01:00


XE – All day from 11:00

XD – Lunchtime only, from 11:00

BD – All day from 11:00; Food noon to 19:00

27/12 – All day from 11:00; Food noon to 19:00

28/12 [Bank Holiday Monday] – All day from 11:00; Food noon to 19:00 [NB: Closed Monday 04/01/2016, and all Mondays until Easter].

NYE – All day from 11:00; Food noon to 17:00

NYD – All day from 11:00; Food to 18:00


XE – Open through to 01:00, with disco

XD – 11:30 to 17:00

BD – Open through to 01:30, with disco

NYE – Open til ‘late’!

NYD – Open through to 01:30, with disco


XD – Noon to 15:00

BD – 10:00 to 23:00

NYE – Noon to 21:00

NYD – 11:00 to 23:00


XE – Open til Midnight

XD – Noon to 14:00

NYE – Open til ‘late’!

NYD – Noon to 10:30


XD – 11:00 to 14:00


XD – Noon to 14:30

NYD – Normal pub hours, carvery noon to 15:00



Otley Pub Club will do (almost!) anything to help promote and support all the pubs in Otley, and to try to maintain Otley’s reputation as a famous pub town. Here are some of our major projects underway at the moment; some being planned for 2016; and others still on the drawing board! If you have any ideas for ways we can continue and expand our promotion and advertising of Otley’s pubs, both individually and together, please do get in touch. All these things just start by someone having an idea and making a suggestion – and sometimes even the person suggesting it thinks it sounds too daft to work. Send in your ideas and suggestions, and we’ll see what we can do!


LIZZIE ARMITSTEAD COCKTAIL – This is something we’ve been thinking of for some time as a fun way to show our appreciation of what Lizzie has achieved as an individual sportswoman, and of how she has helped to put Otley on the world sporting map. This has been a phenomenal year for her, peaking with the world road race championship and culminating with a BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlisting (so far!). Let’s hope we’ll all be toasting her SPOTY success before Christmas, and an Olympic gold medal in Rio next year [as well as a gold post box in Otley]! This is the brief press release that accompanied the photo –QOTR
Otley people and cycle fans will now be able to toast the success of the town’s World Cycling Champion, Lizzie Armitstead, with a drink named in her honour, thanks to Otley Pub Club.

 The club has created, in conjunction with one of the town’s pubs, The Fleece, the ‘Queen of the Road’ cocktail in honour of Lizzie and her success. The drink is designed to reflect the colours of her team sponsor, Boels Dolmans, red, yellow and black. The cocktail is made of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup and served unmixed in a tall glass, dressed with homemade black crystal sugar & a slice of blood orange.  The non-alcohol version is without the tequila.

 Speaking at the launch of the cocktail with Lizzie at the Fleece, Otley Pub Club chairman, Andy FitzGerald said: “We are all very proud in Otley of Lizzie and her success and wanted to show our support in a fun way. We are delighted she has been able to help us launch the cocktail in person. We will be rooting for her in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and we wish her every success in 2016 and at the Rio Olympics when we will be raising a glass or two of the ‘Queen of the Road’ cocktail.”

 Commenting Lizzie said: “This is a first for me. Obviously my gold medal was first on my wish list but this is a bonus. I am a proud Otley girl and excited that the people of Otley can have a drink in my name, as until after Rio 2016 I can’t. Cheers!”

 The cocktail wQOTR2as developed by the landlord of the Fleece, Fred Bell, at the request of Otley Pub Club which is a voluntary community organisation with over 300 members. It was founded by the local MP Greg Mulholland, now its Hon president, six years ago to support and campaign for the town’s pubs.  Further details about the club can be found at”
(If you want to try this for yourself, Fred says you can make the black sugar frosting quite easily by putting caster sugar in a sealed kilner jar or similar, with black food colouring & liquorice to taste, & shaking vigorously! [I didn’t get the amounts, I’m afraid, so you might have to experiment – but that’s half the fun!] )  Lizzie Photo’s by Ian Stuart, Otley Camera Club.

ROUNDHEADS IN THE BLACK BULL – You will remember the Hairy Bikers visiting Otley earlier in the year, when they met members of the Otley Pub Club committee and talked to Audrey the landlady IMG_20151213_1227543_rewindof the Black Bull about the history of the pub during the Civil War. It is believed that Cromwell’s troops drank the pub dry on the eve of the Battle of Marston Moor [and some also say the landlord was subsequently despatched by those troops because he couldn’t provide any more alcohol!]

We still aren’t sure of the exact date of the screening of the Hairy Bikers’ TV programme featuring the Black Bull, but we’re planning to get a couple of ‘real’ Roundheads along sometime this weekend for a photoshoot to promote it. Hence I was in Newark last weekend to meet up with the Officer Commanding, Colonel Robert Overton’s Regiment of Foote in the Roundhead Association. They are a battalion in the English Civil War Society, who re-enact battles and provide ‘living history’ exhibitions from the 17th Century. We are hoping that this small event at The Black Bull will be just the start of a longer-lasting collaboration between Overton’s and OPC, so watch out for more news in 2016!

Pub Passport

HISTORIC ALE TRAIL MARK 2 – This has been some time in the planning I’m afraid, with an updated list of current pubs and new descriptions being created as well as a list of potential new sponsors being approached. I’m sorry it’s taken a while to appear, but watch out for it appearing in Information Centres, Libraries and Pubs early in the New Year.


PUB PASSPORT – This is again one of our projects that’s had to be ‘put on the back burner’ for some months – at first because of other more pressing priorities, and later because we wanted to wait until the revised version of the Ale Trail appeared. Once publication of the Ale Trail is out of the way, we’ll be promoting the Pub Passport mainly as a way of tempting people from out of town to visit every one of the town’s pubs. But of course that doesn’t mean Otley residents are excluded. Quite the opposite! Those of you who live here will find it much easier than outsiders to get your passport stamped at every pub, and gain whatever the prize is at the end of the quest! Much more about this coming in 2016.


A TOUR de YORKSHIRE EVENT – Following the massive success of our Tour de France pub ‘name-changing’, which gained media coverage nationally and internationally, we intend to come up with something equally impressive for the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire if we can. It wasn’t really appropriate last year, when the Tour only skirted the southern edge of the town, but this year both a men’s and a women’s stage are actually starting in the town itself. It was a huge day in Otley on Wednesday the 9th of December, when the TdY stage start and end points were announced from Otley Courthouse, attended by Sir Gary Verity and Christian Prudhomme – who then both stayed on to visit other parts of the town. We’re all looking forward to welcomin
g them and the 18 cycling teams back in April, and we want to turn that day into an absolutely massive event that will be remembered for years to come – not just in Otley, but in cycling and media circles as well. The potential for future visitor numbers to the town is phenomenal. There’s not much time to get this one off the ground, so if you have any brilliant pub-related ideas that you’d love to put into practice with our assistance, just let me know as soon as possible!



A YORKSHIRE DAY EVENT – We do have a bit longer to plan this one, and we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do. If it works, it will be amazing! [But we don’t want to share it yet, in case any other town steals the idea and beats us to it.] More on this one in the New Year as well.


PUB POEMS – You might not know that Otley has its very own publishing company, which grew out of Otley Word Feast – a town-wide celebration of the written and spoken word. Following the last feast in 2014, OWF has published three poetry anthologies, as well as a number of books and pamphlets by individual poets. Their latest anthology ‘Surprise View’ is all about Otley – including its pubs – and it made me wonder if we could work with them in the coming year. Perhaps we could collaborate on an anthology about pubs – not just in Otley – and maybe even get some of the poems, or excerpts from them, onto beer mats. These could then be used to promote the anthology, OWF, OPC, the poets and their poems more widely – in Otley and potentially in any other pubs around West Yorkshire and even further afield.


AN OTLEY LOST AND FOUND SERVICE – Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find a lost and found service for mainly small and lower-value items in Otley. Higher-value items are usually dealt with by the police, but there are many other things – like toys, gloves, credit cards, hats, umbrellas and so on – that people probably don’t even report. If you do know of a service in Otley – perhaps based on a Facebook or other social media account – please let me know, and I’ll help to publicise it. If not, wouldn’t a pub-based service be a great way to get an even closer bond between Otley residents and their locals! Where else is open to the public for up to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week – even including Christmas Day!! My idea would be for found items to be left at specified [maybe even all!!] pubs, where someone from OPC would collect them, announce them on Facebook and take them to a central location. [Errr – I haven’t actually mentioned this to any landlords yet, and I know they work almost all the hours in every day already, so maybe it’s not feasible – but I just throw it out there for comments and possibly to be picked up in 2016. I suggest it could be called Otley Lost And Found, or OLAF – if Disney don’t object!]


BREWERY TRIPS – While I was making my monthly trip round all Otley’s pubs to collect information for this Newsletter, I bumped into the people who run one of our smaller local breweries – The Ghost Brew Co. (You can find out more about them at ). They’re based at the bottom of Hollins Hill in Baildon, on the road from Otley to Shipley, and although they don’t have brewery tours or open days they did say that if I could get around 20 people who would like to visit and drink some of their beers in the brewery itself, they would be delighted to see us. Again this is just an idea at the moment, but maybe it could be the start of a new venture for OPC in future. There are plenty of smaller local breweries within easy reach of Otley, and although we don’t want to take trade away from Otley’s pubs, perhaps we could arrange a trip out every now and then. Let me know what you think.


I know I always look forward to the events coming up in the next 4 or 5 weeks, but the last month was so special, I think it’s worth a quick review, and a few words of thanks.



OTLEY VICTORIAN FAYRE – With the help of the new BID footfall monitors around town it was estimated that the attendance at the Victorian Fayre on Sunday December the 6th was around 19,000, which was incredible after the horrible weather of the previous few days. Otley Pub Club once again gave the Elise Brumfitt Victorian Alehouse Award to the pub judged to have been most successful in creating a Victorian atmosphere. This year it was won by the Old Cock, with the North Bar Social moving up a place from last year to second, and the Bowling Green – with no fewer than 6 members of staff in period costumes – coming third. The Red Lion and The Horse and Farrier also won commendations for their costumes on the day. I would certainly like to add my personal thanks to everyone involved at all the pubs who put in the time and effort to add to the Victorian atmosphere around town during the day. Thanks also to Steph Lee, all the other volunteers, and every shopkeeper, stallholder and visitor who help to make Victorian Fayre Day one of the memorable events on the Otley calendar every year.


OTLEY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS – The festivities in Otley Market Square on Monday November 30th, to accompany the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights, were incredible this year. The street theatre and drumming group Spark provided something completely new, and they were really well received; the firework display was just long and spectacular enough to not get tedious [or too expensive!], and Otley Brass Band and Market Square attractions provided plenty of entertainment for old and young. It was good to see so many people calling in to enjoy the hospitality on offer in all the pubs on the walk back home as well! Once again – thanks to Otley Town Council and all volunteers and performers for making it a night to remember.


OTLEY BEER FESTIVAL – And while I’m at it – thanks to Otley RATS and everyone else involved at Otley Beer Festival, where Otley Pub Club sponsored a barrel of Sunbeam Brewery’s Honey and Lavender. OBF was so successful this year, that at times in the evening it was almost difficult to raise a glass to your lips in the crowd, let alone get to the bar! So maybe that’s why there was slightly less beer sold than last year, even though there were more people in attendance. Personally, I thought the new pricing and payment system made things a lot simpler, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. What’s more important was that another few thousand pounds was made for this year’s chosen charities:

Children’s cancer charity – Candlelighters
Domestic abuse charity – Behind Closed Doors
Yorkshire Air Ambulance
Otley Parish Church



Very, very briefly – and I’m bound to have missed some, but this Newsletter is getting rather long [and rather late], so I’ll just have to say I’m really sorry to those I might have missed!


Still time to ‘Name The Reindeer’ for £1 a go, to win the hamper on show in the pub. All proceeds go to CLIC SARGENT children’s cancer charity. Winner announced on 23/12. [BTW – just so you know, Wetherspoons are putting their beer prices up by 5p a pint].


Three party nights in a week!!

Friday 18/12 – Party night. Dress to impress!

Saturday 19/12 – Fancy Dress party, with a prize for the best costume.

Christmas Eve – Party time again! [Casual dress this time.]


New Year’s Eve ‘Dress To Impress’ event, with a prize for the best hat/headgear! Free canapés and glass of fizz on arrival and a big quiz from 21:00. “Free to all our friends, with a £1 (or more) donation to our favourite local charities.”

Don’t forget there’s 15% off the total bill for any local club/society/charity or organisation wanting to hold meetings at The Fleece. So if you’re planning a meeting, phone 01943 465034 or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.


Friday 18/12 – Resurrection Men

Saturday 19/12 – Brave Face [Rory Holl’s Band]

Tuesday 22/12 – Lucy’s Shoes

Tuesday 29/12 – Gypsy Bill

New Year’s Eve – Tickets only, £1 minimum donation. All proceeds to Wheatfields Hospice.

Tuesday 05/01 – Rocking Deke Rivers and The Jetters

Tuesday 12/01 – Bar Code Zebras


Sunday 27/12 – Irish music session

New Year’s Eve – DJ party til ‘late’!

Saturday 02/01 – Joe and Anne Gallagher

Also – free food every Thursday at 6 pm, with donations welcomed towards the Thomas Constable memorial fund. Irish music sessions every other Wednesday.


Saturday 19/12 – Christmas Party Day from 10:00 through to 02:00! Craft Fair during the day with Etsy products. Also crackers, mince pies, Christmas themed drinks – and possibly some ukuleles!


Wednesday 16/12 – Chewit-Well Mummers ( will be performing in the evening.

Tuesday 22/12 – Open Mic night

New Year’s Eve – Fancy Dress Party with DJ


Friday 18/12 – Lee Lambert, phenomenal young artiste

Saturday 19/12 – J J Benjamin, terrific male vocal entertainer

Boxing Day – Ryan Myczko, excellent male vocalist

New Year’s Eve – Live entertainment with Tom Milner, and buffet – all free. Tickets only though – and they’re going fast!


Tuesday 22/12 – Carol concert with Otley Brass Band starting at 7 pm.


If you haven’t been to their weekend lunchtime carvery yet, why not give it a try this weekend?


Thursday 17/12 – The last Bar-Room Buskers of the year! It’ll be a Christmas Party with some fine eats being kindly provided by the pub, promises to be a festive fun filled night with music and song.


Saturday 19/12 – Above Average Weight Band at 9 pm.

Sunday 20/12 – Christmas carvery

Carvery every Sunday with 3 meats, and free food every Friday at 5 pm


– – / / – – / / – – / / – –

As ever, I might have missed things or misrepresented the facts, for which I apologise.  Thanks to all pub landlords and staff for giving me their time and information – and remember, the more you give me, the more I can tell potential customers about!

If you no longer want to receive these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club, just email the return address. On the other hand, if you stop receiving our newsletters but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Just send an email to , or via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

15 December 2015

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!