King Street’s newest community bar opens its artfully bohemian doors
There’s a sign out front saying “nothing to see here”, and this is a fib. If the only thing that Kingston Public Bar had going for it was the fact that it’s a bar up on the largely neglected top end of King Street that would still be worthy of notice. The fact that it’s pretty great is a second worthwhile point. For all those who’ve shuddered at the prospect of a long, dry walk from the Lansdowne to Corridor, take heart: there’s a new oasis just up near the Vanguard.
You can tell a lot about a bar by the quality of the music it plays. Mid-period Tom Waits? Then it’s a place that knows how drinking works. A playlist of '80s kitsch? It’s a fun, upbeat joint that knows its demographic. ‘Hey Soul Sister’ by Train? Run, pausing only to throw a match onto the petrol-soaked rags you’ve already placed around the façade. As for Kingston, when TIme Out drops by they are rocking the classic Beastie Boys cut ‘Fight for Your Right (To Party)’, which immediately suggests a place that knew its stuff.
It’s an airy room with tables spread around – definitely a place better suited to a meal or a session than a cheeky pint at the bar – and combines two distinct décor aesthetics: the commissioned boutique (the gorgeously Twin Peaks-ish mural on the back wall, the old-pipes-as-light-fittings) and the whatever-art-you-can-get-from-Vinnies-for-$40 that adorn the other walls, where embroidery, cheap reproductions and '80s porn jostle for space – and don’t miss the photography on display in the toilets. Not that you can, we might add. They’re… er, “eyecatching”. And largely “wang-themed”.
Kingston prides themselves on their small-batch wines and craft brews, and suggest a pint of the Cavalier IPA, which is one of the three beers on tap. The wine list is short but clearly curated with care, and their spicy Bloody Mary is the saviour of our worse-for-wear companion.
The menu is skewed towards things to nibble while drinking – freshly shucked oysters, cured meat platters, crisp prawns – so combine it with their $6 wrapped beef-cheek cigar (honestly, it’s so much better than that sounds) and you’ve pretty much got the best way to kick off an evening. The cigar is basically a delicious hamburger minus the stodge.
The staff are friendly, the location’s great and the menu interesting – it’ll be good to see how it is once it’s been lived in a little more.
|Venue name:||Kingston Public Bar and Kitchen||Contact:|
62-64 King St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 4pm-midnight; Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10pm|