THE SCENE Very busy and very loud. The basement at Kansas Smitty’s is compact to say the least so if a dark, sweaty vibe is what you’re after, look no further. We arrived at around 8pm and it was already packed so if you want a seat, get there early. The crowd was a varied mixture of students, young professionals, a few older professionals and a couple who looked suspiciously like one of the acts’ parents.
THE MUSIC The blurb promises line-ups ‘curated to entertain and enlighten.’ This includes an extremely eclectic mix from classical accordionists to Indian Sarod players. The night I went, Marcus Bonfanti and his blues band had packed out the house. The guys on stage seemed to be having a great time which filtered through to an already raucous room and it created an electric atmosphere, a suitable start to the nearly-weekend.
BEHIND THE BAR When you finally get to the bar (expect long a long wait), the menu has a separate juleps section and a selection of other cocktails. The julep at its most basic is bourbon with mint and Smitty has house inventions such as the Allotment Julep, infused with nettle, elderflower, carrot, coriander seed, apple pear and mint. We tried several and all were decent but didn’t pack in as much flavour as anticipated. The real stars were on the other side of the cocktail menu, the stand out performer being the strikingly red Azalea, a mixture of Campari and Bols Genever infused with sloe berry, citrus and dry sherry.
Bill please Cocktails are around £8-£9. Bar standards such as G&Ts are available but I’d go for an Azalea every time; go on, it’s Thursday night!
VERDICT: Good music, great atmosphere, pretty much a perfect Thursday night if you’re looking for somewhere to get the weekend off to an early start.
ADDRESS: 63-65 Broadway Market, E8 4PJ
TUBE: 15 minute walk from Bethnal Green tube but well served by bus routes.
OVERALL STAR RATING 4 out of 5