OTLEY PUB CLUB – APRIL MEETING AND SOCIAL; GOOD NEWS FOR FANS OF FOOTBALL AND OF BEER; AND LET’S SUPPORT OUR PUBS.
Hi there! It’s nearly the first Thursday of the month again already, which means there’s a Pub Club meeting this week – April the 3rd.
Our usual three-pub social meeting this month will begin at 8-o-clock in THE FLEECE on the right-hand side of Westgate, walking out of Otley heading West towards Menston/Ilkley. [Car parking if you need it, down the slope at the back of the pub.] As usual, the committee will meet for about an hour before that, and then we’ll greet members for a social drink before we all move on to the next pub at about 8:45. This week it’ll be just a few minutes’ walk back towards Otley to THE CROSS PIPES, on the opposite side of Westgate. Then back into town and turn right onto Kirkgate [past the pitch black Black Horse] at about 9:30 to our final stop – THE RED LION. So what are these three pubs like, for future reference if you can’t make it on Thursday?
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 separate areas. Completely refurbished a couple of years ago, it has a range of Wharfebank real ales and guests. There’s a beautiful beer garden looking over the river at the back with plenty of tables, but even though it’s now lighter in the evenings and quite warm this week, you might still prefer the view of the river from the big windows in the pub.
THE CROSS PIPES is a lovely old community pub, where you’ll always get a really warm welcome – from the 3 west Highland Terriers as well as the publicans! 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. And if you really must keep driving, it too has its own car park
Finally, THE RED LION has one of the nicest looking frontages on Kirkgate, and should possibly be called The Phoenix, as it’s come back from the (almost) dead so many times. The current landlord has rescued it from its “open-all-hours” disco reputation, and the upstairs room has been tastefully redecorated [from its previous all black!] There’s a massive screen up there for sport if that takes your fancy, with its own full bar, or you can just enjoy a real ale in one of the typical town-centre pub rooms downstairs. No car park, but then in the third pub of the night, I for one won’t need one!
GOOD NEWS FOR WORLD CUP FOOTBALL FANS
It’s been announced today that pubs in England can stay open until 01:00 on those days when England games in Brazil are kicking off at 20:00 BST or later. The Red Lion isn’t the only pub in town with a TV, so there should be plenty of opportunities to support your team with your family and friends in one of Otley’s finest hostelries!
AND – GOOD NEWS FOR BEER FANS!
Chancellor George Osborne announced in the budget a second successive cut of 1p from beer duty, as well as the end of the above-inflation duty escalator on other alcoholic drinks. As Greg Mulholland, Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group (and incidentally, Honorary President of Otley Pub Club!) commented: “However whilst freehouses, who deal direct with brewers and buy at genuine wholesale prices, can pass this welcome 1p on to drinkers, the pubcos continue to operate their own ‘pubco price escalator’ and increase beer prices year on year, regardless of inflation or tax levels”.
SO – LET’S CALL TIME ON THE GREAT BRITISH PUBS SCANDAL!
The pressure group 38 Degrees are calling on the Government to stick to its promise to introduce a Pubs Watchdog to prevent valued pubs from being placed at risk of closure due to unfair practices in the pub sector. They already have almost 35,000 signatures on a petition to Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, urging him to govern the behaviour of large pub companies (which own around a third of UK pubs) and ensure publicans are treated fairly. A key role for the Pubs Watchdog would be to ensure rents and wholesale prices are reasonable. If you agree, and would like to sign the petition, it’s at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-pubs-from-corporate-greed-let-s-call-time-on-the-great-british-pub-scandal
APRIL IS “COMMUNITY PUBS MONTH”
Community Pubs Month, organised by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, will take place in April and aims to raise the profile of British pubs and what they offer to our communities.
The campaign encourages pubs to organise events and try new marketing initiatives that will help entice more people to visit their local pubs during the month and hopefully the future. Pub-going trends in recent years have shown a decline in visits, and Community Pubs month and other CAMRA campaigns aim to slow down this decline in the short term and reverse the trend in the future.
CAMRA will announce new independent research that shows more people will return to pubs if their local community pubs inform them of what is happening – it seems communication is the key! So I hope you find these newsletters and invitations to our social evenings helpful.