Otley pubs celebrate long-term leases

West Yorkshire-based operator Jason Smith and his team were joined by the Otley Pub Club on Monday 17 May.

West Yorkshire-based operator Jason Smith and his team were joined by Greg Mulholland and members of Otley Pub Club on Monday 17 May, as the group celebrated the reopening of The White Swan, following a joint £228,000 upgrade with Star Pubs & Bars.

It has been 14 months since the refurbishment was due to start and seven months since the last pint was pulled in the popular local. 

The reopening provided further reason for celebration, as all five Star Pubs & Bars pubs in the town have now been taken on by operators on long-term leases, something Otley Pub Club had sought. 

“It was great to have a preview of the refurbished White Swan in advance of its reopening," says Mulholland, president of Otley Pub Club (pictured above left). "It looks great, just right for this important and historic pub and I’m sure it will please existing regulars and new customers alike. Jason and the team really understand The Swan and his vision and experience have been key to getting this right alongside Star Pubs, who listened and engaged, and we thank them for working with us, to everyone’s benefit.

“It’s also great that all Star’s pubs in Otley now have long-term tenants in place, which is good news for the town, and Otley Pub Club will continue to support them all.”

Plans for the future

Smith also took on the lease of another Star Pubs & Bars Otley pub, The Junction, in November, and will be taking on The King’s Arms, Silsden, in June. He plans to grow his estate further over the next 12 months.

“I am confident that business will come back to near normal in the next year. So much so that my plan is to increase my pub estate to five pubs in West Yorkshire by the end of the year. They’ll all be wet-led pubs offering a little bit of pub food.

“I'm passionate about keeping UK pubs alive. I believe it is more important than ever to invest in pubs to provide customers with comfortable, safe and inviting surroundings to encourage them to come out. It’s not enough just to open your doors and hope customers will come, especially in Otley, which has more pubs than any other town in England; you need to continue to evolve and improve your offer."

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