My friends and I stopped by Smithfield for a pre-dinner drink recently. I was eager to check it out as the owner, Stuart Delves, is an old pal of mine from his bartending days at One and One in the East Village.
Smithfield is a great addition to Lower East Side nightlife. Just down the block from the very good (although overpriced) SX 137, Smithfield is comfortable without being too casual. It's funky and fresh without trying too hard to be hard-edged or hip. When my group visited around 7:30pm on Saturday, there were two small groups and one large (8-10 people) already enjoying themselves. The vibe was mellow, but I'm sure it varies from night to night.
At Smithfield, you can choose from beer (bottles or about eight on-tap), wine or cocktails. Stay traditional or try some of their more unique offerings like vodka and Kool Aid. Seeing as we were on our way to Barrio my group of five stuck to basic beer, wine and two sodas. The bartender was attentive and only too happy to happy to talk up other bars and restaurants in the neighborhood. We munched on complimentary pretzels as the bartender's sweet pooch stared, begging us to drop one.
The music you'll hear at Smithfield is here, there and everywhere. When we first arrived, we heard a few songs from the Trainspotting soundtrack, but by the time we left, something with more of a Latin influence was playing. Variety is good. There's a jukebox, as well, although when we were there, the bartender was playing DJ.
To get to Smithfield, take the F train to Delancey Street.