After so much happening last month [5 weeks] this 3-week newsletter might seem like a bit of a let-down at first. But all the pubs are still here, still serving, and still putting on a whole range of events. [Beach Party anyone? In Otley??]
What’s more, we’re now back up to 20 [yes, that’s right – 20!] pubs with the arrival of The Otley Tap House, so the variety of establishments and options for customers is now wider than ever. If the rumour that we heard last week is true, and planning permission for development of The Summercross has now lapsed, who knows what might happen there? With the housing development on the old mill site, and more housing planned for the East end of town, what a great location that would be for a pub! I wonder if The Yeoman has room for a small cinema . . . ?
Like me, you should make it your ambition to visit them all. Frequently!
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LE TOUR WEEKEND – BLOODY MERVEILLEUX!
We really couldn’t have wished for a better event, or a better weekend, could we? Every pub in town was packed to the rafters on Saturday after the race had departed, and because the roads were still closed during the afternoon there was a real party atmosphere in town. Random [unattributed] comments from various publicans – ‘Best day EVER’; ’10 times the normal business’; ’sold as much beer in 1 day as we usually do in 2 weeks’; ‘queuing out of the door and alongside the building’; and ‘we could do with one of these every month’!
Here’s a shortened version of OPC’s publicity report of the French Pub Names campaign, and as it’s written by the guy who got the campaign mentioned in over 30 newspapers, radio and TV programmes, you might just be seeing a version in the media somewhere soon! Well done, Andrew McKeon, and thanks from OPC on behalf of the town and all its pubs!
“Banners of all 19 pubs’ names in French were provided and displayed. Otley BID made a grant [£180] of a third of the cost. A press release was distributed to local and national media on June 23 along with a photo with the President outside the Junction, and then followed up with more pub photos. Thanks to those pubs which really got behind the idea and were happy to do TV and radio interviews.
“The exercise has been a phenomenal success with publicity for Otley and its pubs to a worldwide television audience. Many of the pubs were mentioned by name and several appeared on TV and radio. Most of the UK national press carried the story as well as local and national radio and TV. (All those of which we are aware are shown below – let us know if you saw or heard any others.)
“Without the banner idea, Otley would have had no more than a fleeting mention as the Tour swept through the town. Because of the French banners Otley was mentioned in many reports as often as the major places on the route (e.g. Leeds, Harrogate etc) and far more than similar places such as Ilkley, Skipton etc.
“Coverage has been international in that the French banners and Otley were mentioned in several Eurosport reports, on Sky Sports and Sky News, various websites and even in the Washington Post (USA). It is likely that it was mentioned in French media but we have not been able to trace any so far.
“Value and Benefits
It is not possible at this early stage to measure the benefits of all the publicity but it certainly put Otley (and its pubs) on the map. It may have contributed to attracting more people to Otley on the day. Similarly it won’t be possible to measure long term effects except on anecdotal evidence. So let us know if people mention it.
“Together with the Otley Carnival it contributed to Otley being ‘Highly Commended’ in Welcome to Yorkshire’s awards for best Dressed Town for the TdF.
“One thing is certain; the publicity was worth thousands, (possibly even hundreds of thousands) of pounds, and appeared in places where you couldn’t even buy advertising if you wanted to – like Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. At £30 a banner it must be the cheapest publicity ever.
“Known media coverage
BBC Radio Leeds
BBC Look North
BBC TV News
BBC TdF Website
BBC Radio 4 Today Programme
BBC 2 Mock the Week
Yorkshire Post (2)
Yorkshire Evening Post (2)
The Washington Post (USA)
Telegraph & Argus
Guardian Northerner website
Daily Express website
Daily Telegraph (2)
Mail On Line
This is Money.co.uk
Admiral Taverns web site
Just to prove yet again how important Yorkshire is to the pub trade, and vice versa, academics from the University of Leicester are now looking into pubs in Leeds as part of a research project funded by English Heritage. The aim of the project is to increase our appreciation of ‘severely threatened’ pubs in England, and you can read a bit more about it on their website.
SOCIETY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF BEERS FROM THE WOOD – SPBW
When I was in The White Swan collecting information for this newsletter, I got talking to a guy at the bar [as you do – aren’t pubs just great?] He turned out to be from the Leeds/West Riding [don’t you just love that?] Branch of SPBW, and insisted on telling me about it. I won’t tell you the whole long story, but the gist of it was that they organise cheap trips to pubs and breweries, drink real ale, and generally enjoy themselves. Their national weekend is in Huddersfield from 14 – 16 November this year [organised by the West Riding [!] Branch, and this will give you a flavour of what they’re about –
“Friday: hopefully a visit to Mallinsons Brewery in Huddersfield. Also visiting other pubs in the town including brewpubs the Sportsman and Rat & Ratchet as well as highly rated pubs such as the King’s Head and the Grove.
Saturday: we will do the West Yorkshire part of the Rail Ale Trail starting from Huddersfield. First to Marsden, home of the Riverhead Brewery Pub where hopefully the brewster can be present to answer any questions. There are other pubs in Marsden too. Then by bus to Slaithwaite for a visit to Empire Brewery; the beers can be sampled at the nearby Commercial Inn. Then by train to Mirfield and Dewsbury and, if time permits, to Batley.
Sunday: to Holmfirth possibly for a visit to the Nook Brewery and its nearby pub; several other good pubs in town. Then possibly to Holmbridge as well, where a new brewery and pub have just opened. Also a visit to the Sair Inn at Linthwaite, one of the oldest brew pubs in UK. Beer here is not often seen outside of the pub and a look in the brewery can probably be arranged.”
More information is on the SPBW website.
NEWS FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS (or so)
THE CROSS PIPES – After that intro at the start, I had to start off with the pub that’s having a beach party this Saturday, 19 July! Unfortunately, the weather’s looking decidedly unpredictable, but that won’t dampen the enthusiasm for this family day. Children in fancy dress are welcome during the day, and there’ll be prizes for the best dressed boy, and girl. There’ll be paddling pools, limbo dancing, junior and senior cocktails – and even inflatable palm trees and parrots!
On Saturday 2 August, singer/songwriter/guitarist Steve Seed will be back by popular demand, from 19:30.
OTLEY TAVERN – The charity fundraising event for newborn babies charity BLISS on Sunday 6 July was a huge success. Thanks to David Ogley and Paul Tayler for keeping people entertained; staff Jacqueline Pullan and Josh Chantler for handling everything customers could [figuratively!] throw at them; and Mel Metcalfe for helping to organise everything. Entertainment coming up:
Friday 18th Carolynn May
Saturday 19th Ray Thomas
Sunday 20th Good News (60s)
Friday 25th Melissa
Saturday 26th Jamie Ansbro
Sunday 27th Irish band Blimey O’Reilly.
WHITE SWAN – Tonight and every Thursday, Bar Room Buskers evening entertainment [open mic] goes from strength to strength. To find out what the evening is all about, go to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BarRoomBuskers/ or follow them on Twitter: @BarRoomBuskers
Every Wednesday is quiz night at 9-o-clock;
Saturday 2 Aug – The Gerry McNeice Band.
THE ROYALTY – Will have a Yorkshire-themed menu for Yorkshire Day on Friday 1 August, as well as Yorkshire beers including Ossett’s Yorkshire Blonde. Outside there’ll be a barbecue and bouncy castle if the weather’s kind!
Live music Friday 25 July – Artiste to be confirmed.
THE JUNCTION – 50 pence off all draught ales every Monday; live music every Tuesday; and quiz every Wednesday at 9:30
Sunday 20 July – Holmes, Vermond and Hardcastle @ 4-o-clock
Saturday 26 July – Motus @ 9-o-clock
Saturday 9 August – Motor City Blue
THE ROSE AND CROWN – As well as their usual array of music, karaokes and discos, the pub currently has offers on Hooch – 2 for £6; WKD – 2 for £5; and Smirnoff Ice – 2 for £5. Coming shortly on the bar will be Cragg Vale organic ale from the Little Valley Brewery.
THE OLD COCK – Continuing with its folk music nights every Tuesday – alternate weeks being general folk, and Irish-based music. They’re also taking bookings [£29:50] for a trip to Marble Brewery in Manchester on Saturday 16 August, which will also call in at a pub in Huddersfield for about an hour on the way back, arriving in Otley at about 18:30/19:00.
THE YEW TREE – Although they might not have experienced the mad crush that the centre of town did on TdF day, I was in there the following day at about 3-o-clock, when the road outside suddenly started to get busier and eventually came to a full stop. Apparently it was cars and bikes coming back down from Blubberhouses, where they’d seen the Tour go past on day 2 of the Grand Départ, and now getting jammed trying to cross the river. Bad news for some, but not for those who saw The Yew Tree over the road and decided to pull in there instead! They’ve got the usual landlord’s quiz every Tuesday night at 8:30, and the customer’s quiz at 9 pm on Sunday, and karaoke on Sunday 2 August at 8 pm.
THE BOWLING GREEN – As part of Wetherspoons’ national cider festival from 11 to 27 July, they currently have at least 4 additional and unusual ciders chilling behind the beer – perfect in this weather! I personally sampled their Beetroot cider, which was interesting – and not just because of the lovely lilac colour! They’ll be focussing on Yorkshire beers for Yorkshire Day, with specific brews still to be confirmed.
WHITAKERS – On Yorkshire Day there’ll be a charity raffle in aid of Autism First, with prizes including a Leeds Rhinos shirt signed by the whole squad; 2 meals for the price of 1 at The Roebuck; and 2 tickets for a Guiseley FC match.
6 new beers coming up, including Schiehallion craft lager on a handpump, from Harviestoun brewery in Scotland.
Friday 25 July – Big Picture
Saturday 26 July – Chainsaw
Friday 1 August – Waiting for Wednesday
Saturday 2 August – Down Reno
Friday 8 August – [to be confirmed]
Saturday 9 August – Shady Dealz
THE RED LION – Karaoke disco every Friday night at 8, and every Sunday afternoon at 5. And don’t forget they have a separate upstairs function room with its own bar, that will accommodate up to 60 people – and it’s absolutely FREE. So if you’re planning any sort of private event, just get in touch with the pub.
NORTH BAR SOCIAL – Currently on offer is ‘Verdita and Tequila’ for just £2:60, so after my beetroot beer, I had to have a go at this as well! For those who don’t know [like I didn’t] verdita is a traditional Mexican ‘chaser’ for tequila. North Bar Social make it themselves, from a mixture of Pineapple juice, fresh coriander, fresh mint, jalapenos and a dash of sauvignon blanc. It’s a green colour [not very attractive, it has to be said, compared with beetroot cider!] and tastes herby/minty/pineappley and hot. Why not give it a go? You may never want your tequila with salt and lime or lemon again!
Coming up in celebration of Yorkshire Day will be a tap takeover by Great Heck Brewery, from along the M62, beyond Knottingley. Also watch out for an upcoming beer and cheese matching event!
THE BLACK HORSE – Not had its ‘formal’ opening yet, although like all other pubs in town, it was buzzing on TdF day! They are doing food until 9pm every day though; the bedrooms are all open and being let out successfully already, and the huge function room is available for hire, with its own bar – contact Steve or Mark at the Hotel for details. Phone number is 01943 466383; email address will be available soon, as will the website; Facebook and Twitter accounts are on their way; and wifi will be back once Mark’s sorted out the password protection that he broke!
THE ROEBUCK – The Wednesday night quiz continues every week at 21:00, and looking ahead, Bank Holiday Monday sees the return of their popular family fun day with bouncy slides and games in the garden for the kids.
THE BAY HORSE – Another pub that had a magnificent TdF weekend, with crowds of people in Vernon’s “Sunny Beer Garden”. All the bacon sandwiches might have gone now, but you can always get the famous beef and dripping version for £1:50.
THE BLACK BULL – A very early shout-out for landlady Audrey’s 60th birthday on Friday the 12th of September, when local girl group The Velveteens [https://www.facebook.com/velveteens] will perform at 7:30 pm, followed by a 5-piece band playing 60s/70s/80s/90s music]. Before then, the pub will be serving food all day during the Otley Food and Drink Festival on Sunday 27 July, and –
This Sunday, 20 July – Solo artiste Richard
Saturday 2 August – Another solo artiste, Chris Scarlett from 7:30 pm.
THE OTLEY TAP HOUSE – Brand new ‘micropub’ that opened the evening before the TdF, right next door to The White Swan, and which adds to the options for drinkers at the Eastern side of the town centre. Now, I have to confess here that Otley Pub Club has a policy of supporting all the existing pubs in town, and therefore not really being in favour of any new establishments opening that might impact on the business of the rest. Having said that, this is a proper little ‘pub’, with a wide choice of real ales and bottled beers, and might even INcrease the overall interest in the pub trade at that end of town. So now it’s open, we’ll be supporting it in just the same way as we do all the others. The new owner Kev is keen to exploit traditional pub options for his customers, and is planning to have acoustic music in the future, whilst also exploring new directions for Otley, such as traditional tapas at the bar. There’s a nice garden with tables behind the pub, so go and see what you think, and make the most of it while the weather’s nice!
THE HORSE AND FARRIER – Yorkshire Day will see ‘The Battle of the Yorkshire Brewers’ at the H&F, with Malton’s Brasscastle being lined up against Huddersfield’s Hand Drawn Monkey. A third of a pint accompanying each of 6 courses of the Farrier’s finest food, all for the round sum of 30 quid. And as if that weren’t enough, vegetarian AND vegan food options are available on request.
There’s also a new summer menu, and a new fixed price menu with extended availability, so check out their website for details
Most Sundays sees a local group jamming/practising from about 9 til 11, and if you’ve got an instrument with you, you could just join in! They won’t be there this Sunday, but will be on the 27th of July and 3rd of August. Then on August 24th.
THE FLEECE – They’re planning a beer festival for October [to get you in the mood for Otley’s town beer festival on 14/15 November] and will continue with barbecues every Saturday if the weather lets them! You might have seen Wharfebank Brewery saying The Mexican is now in bottles, but I had a pint from what was probably the last barrel of the chilli-spiced draught beer at The Fleece yesterday. They might have one or two left in the barrel if you’re very quick! If not, this month’s special 4.8% premium pale ale ‘Oberon’ and the 5% dark cherry stout ‘The Cherry Picker’ might take your fancy!
THE MANOR HOUSE – There is never any implication in these newsletters that the last is the least, and that’s certainly not the case today. We’re glad to welcome new landlord Kevin, who has just taken over at The Manor. Along with his partner Yvonne [who is a schoolteacher, so becomes a ‘willing’ extra pair of hands outside term time] and bar manager Chris, they’re keen to revitalise the pub and welcome back old customers as well as attracting new ones. The pub will be undergoing a fairly long refurbishment, so will be closed for about 4 weeks – sometime! Kevin’s not sure exactly when it will take place, but was adamant it wouldn’t be during the Otley Folk Festival weekend!
As you might know, the pub is owned by Thwaites brewery, so will still serve their beers, but is also now serving beers from Wharfebank Brewery [they do get around, don’t they?]. Before refurb, there’ll be 2 hand-drawn ciders and 3 cask ales. Afterwards, there might be a perry as well, and an extra couple of ales on the bar. Current opening hours are:
Mon – Thurs 15:30 to 23:00
Fri 13:00 to midnight
Sat 11:00 to midnight
Sun midday to 23:30
See you there!
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That’s all for now – with usual apologies to those I’ve missed out or misrepresented, and thanks to everyone for giving me their time and information. [it’s a hard job going round all the pubs at least once a month, but somebody’s got to do it! But it’s an even harder job not drinking when you’re in them!]
And remember – if there’s anything else you’d like to see in this newsletter, or any specific information you’d like on any individual pub, or any aspect of all pubs – like dog-friendliness; wi-fi availability or whatever – just email the return address and I’ll do what I can to help.
OPC Membership Secretary
Thursday 17 July 2014