27 Water Street
Old Snow Hill,
Birmingham, B3 1HL.
Tel: 0120 233 0310
Subway City's Website
I held events of my own here and have tried to help the management
with their music policy. It has been a super "underground"
club (it's actually under railway arches!) near Snow Hill Station
and the center of Birmingham, but has been declining in popularity
for some years now, and needs a facelift.
Most of the staff including security are friendly, (they've won awards
for it) the atmosphere is relaxed, and it has a great vibe.
On-street parking is generally available around the club, but the
venue feels somewhat isolated, as there are few other activities going
on in the area at night, (unless you go for a walk along the adjacent
canal) though investment in the form of flats and a new Weatherspoons
on Livery Street may mark the start of a resurgence.
here for a location map of the venue.
|This venue went through a difficult
time over the past few years, with increasing confusion about
its Saturday nights, and more competition. Gay people who went
to its highly popular events in the past saw it increasingly
as a straight club, it lost much of the fun atmosphere it used
to have, and many saw it as grubby and run down. Straights often
still also saw it as a gay club, and frankly the management
didn't seem to be doing anything to esolve the confusion. Instead
they blamed their inaction and declining attendances on the
need for renovation work on the building, but after years of
using it, this excuse is wearing thin!
Many people imagine that the club must be losing money but in
fact this is unlikely and this club is probably still something
of a gold mine despite the poor Saturdays. If they were successful,
the club would be raking in even more money, but the Thursdays
are reasonably popular with cheap drinks events, and until recently
the club had the security of regular outside promoters running
events like Cohesion and House of God.
However, these guys are moving or have moved on using other
venues (HoG have used other venues though is back again in July
2003), or collaborating with other promoters, (Cohesion now
being involved with and part of Inukshuk).
There may be many reasons for them moving elsewhere, some to
do with Subway, and others not. Currently the only fairly well-attended
nights are Thursdays, Afterssential
on Sunday mornings and the monthly BLUE.
Even that's not what it used to be and DV8
started to erode Subway's domination of Thursday gay nights
by offering a similar cheap drinks deal, and during the summer
of 2003, with their new garden terrace and location central
to the gay scene, DV8 became very popular
Subway City has great potential to reclaim its former glory,
but as time passes, the competition was hotting up, and the
gay crowd were getting used to going elsewhere. The club is
also in need of a facelift and since 2001 has talked about having
renovation work done. It always seems to be about to start but
then some "problem" emerges, usually to do with the
railway authority which owns the structure, which prevents it.
The last was that renovations were to start early in 2004, with
one room being done at a time, but false starts have been announced
more often than the boy cried "Wolf" and no one who
knows the club will believe it until they see the work actually
from a few licks of paint, and some new furniture in the snack
bar, the place remained unrenovated throughout 2005. Punters
speculated that this was probably due to the club having developed
a new clinetele, and being busy enough to keep the management
happy without them having to spend money on renovations.
here for Subway City's own website. This
will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the business
empire of Bill Gavan, the club's owner. The
site also has an active guestbook, and fun photos, though some
elements are not kept up to date at times.
|Video clips at the club...
|For an even
better idea of the club check out the video
clips of 2Klub at Subway City.
Just click the flyer to go to the events page.
|The water test...
|This is a regular test we have at most
clubs we review. The bar staff are asked at some point to
supply a glass of tap water. (See our section on Water
in clubs). We'll indicate the results on the relevant
page for the club, though it should be noted that the norm
is that the implementation of any policy on free drinking
water is decided by the venue, not the club promoter. Suffice
it to say that generally venues provide free drinking
water without question. However, this venue was an
In 2003 on asking for free drinking water I was told that
the staff are not allowed to provide it, ("It's more
than my job's worth", said one staff member, and when
I pointed out the Birmingham City Council's standard clause
on the supply of drinking water she arranged for me to be
escorted by security to the club's manager for an explanation
- i.e. I had to explain what I was "up to".
The then manager told me that this club had some sort of special
license arrangement, under which they were only required to
provide free water for a medical emergency, (can you believe
that!) and that anyone asking for free water would be expected
to leave as, if they needed free drinking water they could
not be in a fit state to continue in a club. I have no idea
why he said all this as, until then, no one had ever spoken
to me as though I was retarded.
The licensing authority's policy on the provision of free
drinking water does not require you to explain why you want
it, nor does it put any provisos on its supply e.g. only for
medical reasons, and the government's guidelines, Safer Clubbing,
explicitly recommend that clubbers NOT be thrown out if they
are in a bad way, as sudden exposure to cold can be harmful.
(See our drugs
section for more info).
Needless to say that there are no such special licenses for
premises in Birmingham. That manager has since been replaced,
and eventually after the Afters
clubbers began discussing it on the Sundissential
web board a water fountain was installed. Though this is now
out of commission, you can now get free water at the bar if
you ask for it.