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Picture of Blue Gates Hotel
Image posted by peter ashworth
Submitted on Wednesday, 26th April 2017
With picture contributions to 26942 other pubs
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Blue Gates Hotel, Smethwick

100 High Street
B66 1AA
Correct details

Served areas

Reviews of Blue Gates Hotel (Average Rating: 5 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about Blue Gates Hotel

Not much to add to the comprehensive story telling below. The building really needs a blue plaque to celebrate this story. Amusing that Malcolm X thought Smethwick worse than Harlem!

My visit - taken aback by two things. The volume the music was being played at. A mix of Indian music and cheesy xmas songs at a filling rattling volume. And the prices. Large Jamesons and a Guinness.... £7.20.

On 1st December 2022 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1361 recommendations about 1346 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Blue Gates Hotel

Sometimes a pub is worth visiting not for its beer, its atmosphere or its architecture, but because it has an interesting story to tell, and such is the case with the otherwise fairly unremarkable Blue Gates – a large pub and former hotel opposite Smethwick Rolfe Street station. In 1965, civil rights activist Malcolm X visited Smethwick after learning of a local government scheme that prevented black and Asian residents from buying their own homes in the area. As part of his visit, he was taken to the Blue Gates – a segregated pub with a separate bar for black and Asian customers. He entered the whites-only Smoke Room but was refused service and was forced to move through to the side bar where he was served a pint of bitter. Testimonies from local Sikh residents paint a bleak picture of life for immigrants in places like Smethwick and his visit plus the attendant press coverage galvanised the community to push for change, with pub segregation in the town on the way out by the end of the year. Sadly Malcolm X never got to see these results as he was assassinated back in the US just nine days after his visit to the Blue Gates.
I suspect he might be pleased to find the pub currently being operated by two friendly Indian gentlemen and frequented by a wide range of customers from this multi-cultural community. Having said that, when I arrived on a Saturday afternoon, I was unsure quite what to expect when I was confronted by a sign on the front door stating that the pub was open for ‘Regulars Only’. Undeterred, I soldiered on, finding myself inside a large open plan room – the old separate bars having been knocked through to form a large square room with a central island servery. The room is carpeted throughout with some comfy banquettes around the perimeter supplemented by some standard chairs. This leaves a large gap between the seats and servery, which unfortunately makes the place feel rather soulless, even as a good pre-match crowd started to build up ahead of West Brom’s 3pm kick off. The front right corner is filled by a pool table and there was a dartboard on the other side of the room, but this only made a small dent in the empty acreage. As if this wasn’t enough, there is an overspill area to the rear right, which is also opened out beyond a small low wall and offers more of the same seating in a very plain, unadorned space. TV’s throughout the room were showing Bargain Hunt with the sound on, although thankfully someone put The Doors on the juke box which drowned it out. Elsewhere, several pictures sparingly dot the walls, many depicting various Indian scenes.
It was no great surprise to find no handpulls on the bar, so I ended up with a pint of M&B Mild for £2.30, which represented good value and by far the most interesting option among the usual keg mega-brand suspects. The service was pretty efficient and friendly and the pub seems to have a good core of regulars who all seemed to know one another.
I was really pleased to visit this pub which merits a small footnote in the struggle for race relations in the UK. The pub today is a basic affair that will probably have little of interest to the casual visitor, but it seems to serve the local community well (certainly more so than its 1960’s incarnation) and has a story that deserves to be told.

On 4th April 2017 - rating: 4
[User has posted 3140 recommendations about 3140 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Soup Dragon left this review about Blue Gates Hotel

This is a detached pub and former hotel. It is a 1930s build, which replaced an earleir hotel on the same site and with the same name - indeed, there were likely two previous incarnations. It is in a 17th century style, executed in brick, with large sash windows and dormered mansard roof. There is a projecting enrance tower, and blue shutteres are attached to the lower frontage windows as a pun on the name. The interior is a huge open plan room, all around the central island serving bar. There is a dart board, table footy game and a couple of pool tables. The decor is mainly cream, with some wood panel and it mainly has perimeter seating. A few mixed prints adorn the walls. There is a TV - somewhat awkward for most to see, which had general programmes on. The service was friendly and the clientele mixed and cosmopolitan - watch out for the impromptu dancing by the semi-merry locals - driven by coutry and western music on the jukebox. Beer; no real ale, just the usual keg stuff, with a decent enough M&B MILD. A place that is so big, i am sure it nearly always feels empty, no matter how many are in. Nothing for the real ale fan, but friendly and ok for a swifty.

On 14th August 2013 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 3067 recommendations about 3062 pubs]

External web links for Blue Gates Hotel

No known official website for this pub.

Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Just a quick pint, then I'm off
Smethwick Rolfe Street, 0.16 miles, 3 min walk (show)
Smethwick Galton Bridge, 0.5 miles, 9 min walk (show)
Smethwick Galton Bridge High Level, 0.51 miles, 9 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for Blue Gates Hotel, Smethwick
1st Dec 2022, 10:40
Picture submitted by Ian Mapp approved
1st Dec 2022, 10:06
Picture submitted by Ian Mapp

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 04 April 2017 by Pub SignMan
  • Darts : Yes last updated 14 August 2013 by Old Blue
  • Hot Food : No last updated 04 April 2017 by Pub SignMan
  • Jukebox : Yes last updated 04 April 2017 by Pub SignMan
  • Live TV Sports : Yes last updated 04 April 2017 by Pub SignMan
  • Micropub : No last updated 04 April 2017 by Pub SignMan
  • Pinball : No last updated 04 April 2017 by Pub SignMan
  • Pool Table : Yes last updated 14 August 2013 by Old Blue
  • Real Ale : No last updated 14 August 2013 by Old Blue
  • Real Cider : No last updated 04 April 2017 by Pub SignMan
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