It seems like months since we had our usual visit to 3 of Otley’s pubs on a Thursday night [and indeed it is!] but this week we’re back to our usual format. So we’ll be holding the committee meeting in The Cross Pipes for about an hour from 7pm onwards, then staying on to meet and greet any members who fancy joining us there. If you can’t make that, we’ll be in The Black Horse at about

8:45, and The Fleece at about 9:30.

THE CROSS PIPES is a lovely old community pub, where you’ll always get a really warm welcome. It can be unfairly overlooked because it’s a bit out of the town centre, but well worth calling in for a pint, a game of pool and a chat (after you’ve done your shopping in Waitrose?) If you’re driving, it has the added advantage of having its own car park. THE BLACK HORSE has been re-energised by its current landlords since re-opening just in time to see the Tour de France charge straight towards it down Boroughgate! Sensitively re-furbished, with tasty pub food and a range of real ales to wash it down, it once more provides a welcoming presence in the centre of town. There’s car parking nearby on Westgate. THE FLEECE is a big open pub with plenty of tables for drinkers and diners and a log burning fire in the middle. There are also a couple of smaller rooms where you can relax and enjoy the range of Wharfebank real ales and guest beers. There’s a beautiful garden looking over the river at the back with plenty of tables, but at this time of year that might be a step too far! Again, The Fleece has its own car park.


What do you think of this video from the £10 million advertising campaign sponsored by the pan-industry ‘Let There Be Beer’ campaign? The campaign is funded by a coalition of global brewers, and is backed by industry bodies and associations. It’s designed to show consumers that there is a different style of beer to suit a wide variety of people and occasions, with a renewed focus on the quality, diversity and versatility of beer. An admirable goal, but personally I just find it all a bit patronising!



According to this article in The Daily Mirror, ‘pint-sized’ bars could be the way forward to save the declining British pub industry – but do we really want a future where the traditional British pub no longer exists? The whole attraction of the British pub – whether rural or urban – is its mix of history, social traditions, architecture, ambience, style, comfort, familiarity, appearance, locality – the list goes on and on. It might vary slightly from one person’s view to another, but we all know what we mean when we think of the traditional pub. A converted fish shop, or a café with formica tables just doesn’t match up, and I’m afraid the room in the picture of Bob Baldwin’s former cycle repair shop in this article looks like everything a pub shouldn’t be!

 I also see he says “We have got 59 real ales”. Err, sorry, don’t believe you! That’s a beer festival, not a pub.

We do have a couple of small ‘pubs’ in Otley, both of which have definitely added to the drinking scene, and both of which Otley Pub Club is proud to support. But we’re also happy to continue to fight for all the remaining traditional Otley pubs rather than look towards a future where the only places you can get a drink are soulless single rooms in a parade of shops. Nevertheless, it seems some places are always keen to embrace something new and, dare I say, gimmicky – like East Kent, for instance, as seen in this recent article from The Guardian.

Both the above articles do make it clear that the reason micropubs survive is that they have extremely low overheads, most don’t even have to pay for playing music, and above all of course, they aren’t tied to one brewer or supplier, and they don’t have to pay ridiculously high costs to a property company passing itself off as a ‘pub’co. We all know where the future salvation of pubs lies – traditional or new – and it is in making them all completely free of ties, and definitely NOT in destroying all the fine old traditional pubs just to turn a profit.


Proper refurbishment work has started at The Manor, and I’ll keep you up to date with when it’ll be fully open again, in November’s Newsletter. The Royalty has now changed from a managed house to a lease arrangement, so Mike and Laura have now left – once again I hope to be able to tell you more in the Newsletter in a week or so.


I know Otley’s pubs don’t really fit into the category of ‘rural’ pubs – what with us having twenty, and some villages and even small towns only having one [if they’re lucky]. But bearing in mind the discussions above about micros versus traditional pubs, it’s interesting to see this report in The Publicans’ Morning Advertiser

It says the village pub can be worth between £80K and £120K to its community because of the range of services and facilities it can offer. Interesting.

Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

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