This is my favourite cafe and my favourite bar and my favourite performance venue. Let me tell you why ~
I appreciate this place a lot for its inclusiveness, its versatility and its cultivating and sustaining of a community.
As a performance venue, Smith's hosts a wide range of (mostly but not exclusively) musical acts. The venue's variety shows and open mic jams foster local artists and makes performance opportunities very accessible for everybody.
The diversity of musicians and bands that perform makes the atmosphere of the place a little bit different each time. I love how the place adapts, and I love to see the creativity that it cultivates in the people who come in.
As a cafe, it has quite a homely feel, as all the food is baked in the store. Most of the food is, but not exclusively vegan. The peanut butter brownies, I recommend. The coffee is great, and the barista's are all very talented with what they do.
As a bar, the place has a range of house cocktails and a very good house red.
As a safe space, the place is welcoming and accepting of all who walk in. People are very respectful. I love to see how comfortable people are there, and quite often their will be someone dozed off on a couch ! It's beautiful. The ~donated~ piano ( and many other instruments) outside depicts Smith's' sense of community, conviviality, cultivation of creativity and its accessibility. The place is important to me, as it is important to many other people I know. I'll love to observe it as it changes with the many lovely people who come and go through.
This place is just brilliant! I love it. A beautiful vibe. Relaxed folkie/hippie/shabby undertones, with a hip/cool sheen over the top. Who puts a piano out on the footpath for anyone to play whenever! Instruments hanging and sitting around the place inside. Nigel and staff are friendly and laid-back. The music/art/entertainment they put on is varied and wonderful. Canberra is so lucky to have this cultural icon!! Go Smith's Alternative!!
More places like this, everywhere. Laid back, unpretentious, DIY, grass roots, independent...music venue, serving quality coffee late night. Great door policy - get a drink sit outside and listen to the music for free. Or pay to go in. More of this!