Smith’s Alternative is a licensed venue. Persons under 18 are welcome but must be under the responsible supervision of a parent or a legal guardian. 

Where: Smith’s Alternative is situated in the iconic Melbourne Building in the heart of Civic, Canberra’s city centre. Smith’s is located in Ngunnawal Country. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are on, the Ngunnawal people, and pay our respects to their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. 

Purpose: Smith's exists to celebrate local culture and provide a safe and comfortable place for it to be developed, presented and appreciated. Open nearly every day of the year, we aim to have something happening on every one of those days, including music, poetry, comedy, burlesque, theatre, literary events, cabaret, vaudeville, art gallery openings, performance art, dance parties, the sciences, philosophy and politics... anything interesting, unusual, entertaining, humorous etc. but not illegal and not degrading to the human spirit.

We’re also happy for people to hold meetings, run workshops and in other ways utilise the space for community building exercises.

We believe in community that flourishes from generosity of spirit and love, compassion and respect for all the people therein and the environment that sustains them. But we also operate within a legal and regulatory framework that requires us to uphold various rules;

Alcohol and smoking: We take responsible service of alcohol seriously and strongly discourage the over-consumption of alcohol at the venue. We will not serve patrons who are intoxicated. We do not allow underage people to enter without parental supervision. We are also required to control smoking in and around the premises by law which states smokers must move four metres from the boundary of our outdoor area. We comply with this law because we want our non-smoking patrons not to have tobacco smoke inflicted upon them.

Behavioural issues: We have no tolerance for customers who make other customers, staff or management uncomfortable, eg. act in a threatening manner, intrude on people’s space without enthusiastic consent, harrass people sexually or in any other manner or act in a discriminatory manner towards people for any reason. Dangerous acts, aggressive dancing, crowd surfing etc. are expressly forbidden. Any of these acts can result in removal from the premises and/or banning at management discretion.

We make no apologies for upholding the law. Failing to do so risks us losing our license, our business, the livelihoods of our staff and this place that means so much to so many people. People challenging our authority causes us an enormous amount of stress and often makes us feel we’d rather just give up and close down. Smith’s is not a public instituion. It exists solely because the owners have devoted many years to creating and maintaining it. As with any normal person in their own home, we have the right to choose who comes here and to exclude anyone for any reason.

Refunds: Tickets are non-refundable unless the event is cancelled or substantially re-scheduled, or is cancelled as a result of a Public Health Directive issued by either the ACT or Australian Federal governments.

And once again, Smith’s Alternative is a licensed venue. Persons under 18 are welcome but must be under the responsible supervision of a parent or a legal guardian.