Even the ghost is friendly at this pub

By Helen Mead

Features Writer

Even the ghost is friendly at this pub

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“IT’S A proper old boozer.”

Lee Pullan is proud of The Old Cock, the pub he owns with wife Linda. “It’s timeless, with its original stone flagged floor, exposed oak beams, mullioned windows, original fireplaces and a wood burning stove - it’s like going back in time.”

He adds: “We are the first pub you see when you get off the bus in Otley. We have a lot of regulars, many who have been coming in since we first opened and quite a few customers who travel in to visit us for our real ale.”

The characterful pub - our Telegraph & Argus Pub of the Week - specialises in cask ale, with nine hand pumps, six of which have rotating beers alongside three permanent beers Theakstons Best Bitter, Timothy Taylors Landlord and Daleside Blonde.

“We like to support good local independent breweries and occasionally some breweries from further afield,” says Lee. “We also have a good range of keg products, an international bottled beer selection, a vast malt whisky collection and a large gin collection. We only serve pies and sandwiches on a Saturday, and no under 18s are allowed in.”

The pub, in Crossgate, opened in 2010 after Lee sympathetically renovated and restored the 18th century building which had seen many uses over the years, from residential to a pottery and a vegetarian restaurant.

“It remained empty for a few years and then in 2007 Linda and I bought it with the intention of turning it into a real ale freehouse. It was in a terrible state of repair as its last refurbishment was in 1892.

“I started a full renovation of the building with the help of Linda and my dad, with an eye to taking it back to its former glory, exposing many of its original features.”

Pub manager Chris English joined the year after opening. “A lot of people come in every day and many more come two or three times a week, both from Otley and further afield, due to our reputation as a real ale pub. People love it - some say ‘I wish this pub was in our village.’

“It’s a really friendly pub and we want people to feel welcome: ‘Your next customer is your next regular’ is how we see it - we hope people come back.”

And they do - soaking up the pub’s traditional feel. “We have no gaming machines, no TV and no recorded music, just occasional live folk music upstairs.”

He adds: “We host beer festivals, usually two each year. We have had up to 13 handpulls. Hopefully we will be able to host one again this year.”

The pub has a resident ghost. Says Lee: “During the renovation and rebuild I experienced a few strange noises in the building. We have also had a couple of people visit the pub who have worked there previously and talked about strange things happening, mainly in the kitchen. My plasterer wouldn’t go in the cellar.”

A professional psychic was called in and staff were relieved to learn that the ghost was a friendly one.

The inn has won numerous awards, including three Leeds CAMRA Pub of the Year awards.

“This is our only pub, we put everything we had into creating The Old Cock and we are very proud of it,” adds Lee. “Sourcing beers and providing our customers with real ales that are seldom seen in other pubs is our passion.”

*The Old Cock, 11-13, Crossgate, Otley LS21 1AA; visit oldcockotley.co.uk