Oh, Smith Street. There's so much to love about you, and so much to hate. Kent Street, the mysteriously named bar which is one of Smith Street's oldest fixtures, falls firmly into the first category – it embodies the artistic, slightly scuzzy energy that makes the strip so great, minus the mad junkies and bogan weekend shoppers.
It occupies a creakily elegant old building, kitted out with vintage armchairs, coffee tables, lamps and typewriters. There’s an ever-changing array of artwork on the walls, a standing invitation for artists to submit their work, and regular film nights. Kent Street may in fact be the perfect venue for movies - not only is it dimly lit and tiered like all the best cinemas, it’s already had a projector set up for years.
A video camera captures the scene outside on Smith Street live and projects it on a screen over the front door, allowing for surreptitious people-watching and creating a permanent sense of deja-vu. It’s a little like being inside a Michel Gondry video.
If this all sounds a little too highbrow, it’s worth pointing out that Kent Street keeps its metaphorical feet firmly on the ground. The music swerves all over the map from hip hop to cock rock, the sign on the tip jar reads (sic) ‘TIP ME IF YOUR A SICK C*NT’ and the area behind the bar is adorned with 80s childhood memorabilia - there are Hulk fists, a hobby horse and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles skateboard occupying pride of place.
The menu consists of jaffles and whatever baked goods happen to be in the glass case and the coffee is reputed to be very good, though we were hardly going to waste our time on that with an extensive range of beers to choose from.
It’s cash only, so be sure you bring enough to cover your drinks and be a sick c*nt.