October News Letter

Apologies with the delay in publishing – AS usual problems with upgrades !






As usual, The Otley Folk Festival was one of the busiest weekends in the year for Otley’s pubs [although perhaps a little quieter this year than it has been in the past?] Tills were ringing, pubs were singing, and a great time was had by all. Unfortunately, a walk round Otley on a midweek evening the following week made it look as though there was a definite ‘hangover’ in terms of customer response, with many of the pubs being virtually empty. Let’s hope this isn’t a downhill trend until the next ‘splurge’ at Christmas – but there’s only so much money to go round!

Two points about the newsletter itself – I’ve sent in as an email again, after some people had difficulty opening it from an attachment; and I apologise for the hyperlink overload this month – as ever, always deal cautiously with hyperlinks. I can only assure you that I’ve done my best to make sure they are all correct and safe!


You will no doubt have seen the advertising by Macmillan Cancer Support for their latest fundraiser, which encourages you to do exactly what it says above! They are a brilliant organisation, and after the success of the ice-bucket challenge, this type of ‘nomination’ or ‘challenge’ campaign was bound to take off. I said in January that when people are encouraged, or feel moved, to stop drinking for a month, it can have an effect on the income of publicans. I am certainly not suggesting that you shouldn’t support such a worthy cause, but as I said then – “Obviously we’re not promoting excessive alcohol consumption – you can still go to the pub for a game of darts or doms, and have a pint of a diet soft drink if you want.” So please don’t desert your poor old pub.


Talking of non-alcoholic drinks down the pub, this was one of the items discussed at last week’s OPC AGM at The Royalty [see more below]. Our PR man Andrew, floated the suggestion that we should design or commission a drink to commemorate the cycling success of Otley’s world champion road racer Lizzie Armitstead. The main discussion was not about the idea itself, but about the practicalities surrounding it. Some people thought a cocktail [the initial suggestion] might not be an ordinary ‘pub-type’ drink, and that some pubs might not want to make it, or might not even have the right ingredients. Another discussion centred around whether a local brewery could be persuaded to brew an Armitstead Ale, and if it could, how many of the pubs would want to stock it – or indeed would even be allowed to, by their pubcos.

As Lizzie is a very successful sportswoman, there was a suggestion that maybe we should be thinking about a soft drink rather than an alcoholic one. A soft drink might be more appropriate to the sporting ethos; if it were made with generic products like lemonade, orange juice or whatever, then any manufacturer’s brands could be used, allowing it to be served in every pub; a soft drink would appeal to children as well – many local children have been inspired by Lizzie’s success, and it would enhance the image of pubs as community resources for all the family. We haven’t got any further than that so far, so if you have any brilliant suggestions for a non-alcoholic [or alcoholic, if you must!] Armitstead cocktail, please let me know!


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We would have dearly loved to have seen more of you than the dozen of us who made it to The Royalty last Thursday. But it was good to see a couple of Otley’s landlords – new and old – there, as well as Political representatives local and National, alongside the committee stalwarts and one new committee member. As it was, we had to stuff all the free food down us, that we could have shared with you – but never mind! There was a cracking report on a successful year’s activities, from our Chairman Andy; a lively debate on matters arising from that, and from suggestions for future activities; and a pretty fair consumption of The Royalty’s beverages. An advance copy of the press release about the AGM is attached as an appendix below.




Some pub operators still impose a clause when they sell pubs, which says the building can no longer be used as a public house – leading to their subsequent loss to the community, and use as Tesco locals, or restaurants, or just demolition and replacing with housing. New community pubs minister Kris Hopkins – the MP for Keighley and Ilkley – is promising a report on this “in the coming weeks”. As this is the third such promise since the Government launched a consultation into the restrictive behaviour in August 2011, I wouldn’t hold your breath!


The owner of The Chesham Arms in Hackney has been forced to keep the building in the A4 [pub] planning class, after trying to convert it into residential and office accommodation without planning permission. The pub was already registered as an asset of community value [ACV]. See article in the Morning Advertiser. As an example of how ACV status can be used to delay or even stop the sale or conversion of existing pubs, see this second Morning Advertiser article, about the Rose Hill Tavern in Brighton.


Why do you think you see so many old men sitting drinking beer in pubs? Bet you never thought it was because beer drinkers live longer! An expert on the link between heart problems and alcohol consumption has revealed in a research paper this month that “one or two beers a day reduces the overall risk of dying young”. What’s more Dr Simona Costanzo said that men could have up to 4 drinks a day, and women 2, without it damaging their health.


Local favourite crisp manufacturers Seabrooks have designed a new ‘peel front’ 40g [and 90g] pack, which makes them easier to share, apparently. [Share! Why would you?] Details here.


PUBOPSCLUB is a networking, learning and development event for pub operations managers, run by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser and M&C Report, and is free to attend, thanks to sponsorship by Sky and Vianet. The next full day session will be held at Yorkshire County Cricket Club in Headingley and will include workshops on coaching/mentoring and competitor analysis, run by Francis Patton and Guy Lincoln of Leeds Metropolitan University. There will also be best practice presentations from a range of expert guest speakers, structured problem solving sessions and, of course, plenty of networking time.


Does anyone remember how good The Summercross bonfire used to be? Rising insurance costs, even for fairly minor firework displays, and the popularity of year-round self-bought fireworks for birthdays and other occasions make pub bonfires a less attractive proposition nowadays. The Roebuck’s definitely ‘bucking’ that trend with its own celebrations, but let me know straight away if you do know of any others that I’ve somehow missed, and I’ll get a special email out at the end of October!

Otley Sailing Club is an organisation I don’t think we’ve mentioned before, but they provide a wonderful resource for the Otley community and beyond. They’re based on a lake along the North side the River Wharfe about a mile outside town. They provide training and support both for sailing and power boats and for all ages and abilities. They will be holding a bonfire and social night on the 8th of November. Their website says: “Annual burning of boats with fireworks, bar, locally sourced pies and peas. Popular social event, fun for all the family. The fire will be lit at 6.30 pm; Food will be served at 7.15 pm; Fireworks at 8 pm; Bonfire building will be on 26 October and 2 November.  All help appreciated.” Find out how to join them, at http://www.otley-sailingclub.co.uk/event-1765522

Otley Rugby Club will be hosting a bonfire and fireworks display on Saturday 1 November, with all proceeds going to the U14s tour. Details on the U14s website.

I’m not aware of any others at the moment, but look out for them in the local press.



This newsletter covers the 5 weeks up to and including 14 November, which means both Halloween and Bonfire Night will be the big nights out in that period. The trouble is, I didn’t have time to visit all the pubs this month to ask them about their future events, so I had to rely on email. Publicans being the busy people they are, they might have missed the message, or not been able to reply before my tight deadline. So I do apologise to all those pubs who don’t get a mention this month – it’s just because I didn’t get a reply from them in time [and didn’t have time to chase them up. Sorry.]


Piano player every Friday night.

Sports TV showing live football Saturday and Sunday afternoon plus any midweek matches and Rugby when on.

Now have a dart board, and looking for players to get involved in friendly darts matches on a Wednesday night.

A prize for the best costume worn on Halloween.

Now serving cocktails; the usual 7 cask ales lagers cider and Guinness; and bottled beers.


Sunday 9th November, Open Mic night hosted by the Quickening.

Wednesday 12th November, 5 course beer and food matching menu with Goose Eye Brewery £24.95.

Also new and exciting Autumn menu coming up from new chef Richard!

(“To be honest Halloween has snuck up on us but I’m sure we’ll pull an apple or two out of the barrel for it!”)

THE MANOR HOUSE – Manor will be closed for refurbishment until mid November. Announcement of the opening day and events in December coming soon.


17th October- 2nd November- International Real Ale Festival, featuring 10 international brewers. Ales £1.99;

Monday 10th November at 7:30pm a charity fire walk all in aid of Little Heroes Charity. Get down there if you fancy walking on hot coal!

New menu – lots of exciting new craft beers, including Devil’s Backbone [5.2%IPA, specially brewed for Wetherspoons] on draught. Many more, including some new ciders!

Bookings already being taken for Christmas day.

THE ROEBUCK – A couple of things going on as well as their Bonfire Night – with its bonfire, fireworks, pie and peas, toffee apples & beer!! There’s the introduction of a new food menu; a new Quiz prize of a £25 food voucher (every Wednesday at 9pm); and they now do a Tea or Coffee and a slice of cake for £4.50.

THE OLD COCK – Lake District beer festival from Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th October. 30 different real ales on 13 hand pumps over 4 days. Also – traditional Cumberland sausages in a roll with fried onions. [See website http://theoldcockotley.co.uk/ and Facebook for more.


Tuesday 14 October, the annual visit of the Samuel Ledgard Society. The Society was formed in 1998 at the Rose & Crown, during the second annual reunion of devotees of this well known and much respected bus company. Ledgard’s old Otley bus depot used to be almost opposite the pub, where the Kwik-Fit garage now stands. They say “Come and join the survivors of former Ledgard staff, old passengers and Ledgard enthusiasts for a nostalgic evening. Its free admission!” And there is likely to be some old memorabilia, old uniforms, and maybe even an old bus outside. More about the Society at http://www.samuelledgardsociety.org.uk/

Friday 31st October Halloween disco, with apple bobbing and stuff, and prizes for the best costumes.

For the remainder of the pubs this month – here are some links to Facebook pages, and websites for more information and for future reference.
















And of course information about ALL Otley’s pubs is always available on the OPC website.

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That’s all for now – with usual apologies to those I’ve missed out or misrepresented, and thanks once more to everyone for giving me their time and information.

Bob Brook

OPC Membership Secretary

Friday 10 October 2014


Otley Pub Club reports ‘successful year’


The reopening of two pubs in Otley has been just one of several highlights in a successful and good news year, according to the chairman of Otley Pub Club, Andy FitzGerald in his 2014 report to the club’s annual general meeting.


Against a national trend of pub closures, Otley has seen continuing significant investment in Otley pubs with the refurbishment and reopening of the Black Horse Hotel in the town centre and the Royalty on the Chevin. In both cases lobbying and pressure from Otley Pub Club contributed to their revival.


The report added that the opening of a new micro pub, the Otley Tap House and news of the imminent refurbishment and reopening under new management of the Manor House in time for Christmas were further signs that Otley retains it reputation as a magnet for fans of real ales and traditional community pubs.


“Compared with a few years ago,” said the chairman, “there has also been a significant improvement in what Otley pubs have to offer, with a an amazing choice of real ales and other beers, food and dining facilities, live music and now accommodation.


“Otley Pub Club had ensured that the pubs played an important role in key events in the town such as the Victorian Fayre, the Walking and Folk Festivals, Otley Word Feast and the Tour De France.”


He highlighted the success of Otley Pub Club’s decision to rename all the pubs in French for the Tour De France which resulted in worldwide publicity and many publicans being featured in the press, TV and radio from Australia to the USA.


“The Tour de France effect has been noticeable with an increased profile for Otley and its pubs and greater demand for accommodation. It has generally been good news about Otley pubs this year.”


The chairman thanked the members of the committee, all local volunteers, for their work including the monthly newsletter, the OPC website, publicity and lobbying and also the club’s president, Greg Mulholland.


Otley Pub Club is an organisation created by local pub supporters and local publicans. Free to join, it is a way for Otley people to support their local pubs and enjoy the wide selection of real ales and for publicans to communicate with each other and their customers. The club campaigns on behalf of pubs where needed and organises social events, runs a web site and publishes a popular monthly newsletter and the successful Ale Trail leaflet. For more information visit www.otleypubclub.co.uk

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