"The devil is in the detail and downstairs at Kansas Smitty’s it’s red hot"Review Rating: Reviewed by T.A.O
Holed up in the basement below Off Broadway, Kansas Smitty’s is the type of bar that reminds you that there are still people who care about the finer things. And when we say ‘finer things’ we mean the music and the atmosphere, the devil is in the detail and downstairs at Kansas Smitty’s it’s red hot.
Dimly lit, tightly packed and with a ceiling just about 7 feet from the floor, this bar-cum-jazz club is a hot box of style. Not just a bar, there is also the Kansas Smitty House Band, who regularly play the bar’s small stage. And when it’s not them, it’s another act serving up ragtime, blues, swing, soul and jazz. Live music plays most nights and just to go and complete the sleazy chic, Guys and Dolls vibe, there’s even the regular Tuesday poker night in the basement, with a £5 buy-in for anyone who emails ahead.
Behind the bar, the Julep rules the cocktail menu, with multiple varieties of the Southern classic. However, on our visit, we drink the Hard Times, and find the icy, sweet popcorn and bourbon mixture a dream in the sweltering, shoulder-to-shoulder bar.
While all this could easily reek of a contrived attempt to create some ersatz prohibition parlour, Kansas Smitty’s doesn’t feel a bit like it. You just need to look at the musicians and the owner’s history to know that the bar is a genuine jazz joint with talent always passing through.
T.A.O reviewed Kansas Smitty's Bar on Sun 10 Apr 2016Review disclosure: reviewer was invited to review