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About Subway City...

Subway City,
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.

Map . . .

Click 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 on Thursdays.

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 taking place.

Apart 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.

Click 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 exception.

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.
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