ONE NIGHT in hipville

For­get the hipster hate, Ade­laide has a bar, chew and brew scene that that says no to faux and of­fers plenty of hip places to go

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - COVER STORY - Words gor­don kanki knight

shirt, and skate shoes or boots. And hav­ing taken my own ad­vice, I set out, look­ing on fleek*, to find places in our city that live up to the hipster found­ing prin­ci­ples.

Ade­laide is amid an ur­ban re­newal and is tick­ing off most of the hipster check­list: pop-up places and pedes­trian spa­ces; cy­cle paths and sake bars; bou­tique burgers, bar­bers and brew­ers; artist ap­pro­pri­a­tions of un­used build­ings; and chefs who that know the name of the farmer who grew your heir­loom car­rot.

Thanks to “ac­ti­va­tion” (aka giv­ing aban­doned shops to peo­ple with beards) hipster rev­o­lu­tions have hap­pened in Peel St, Bank St, Leigh St, Bent St, Topham Mall, Union St, Ebenezer St, Gil­bert Place and Gre­sham St. Out­side the CBD, hip­sters head for Queen St, Croy­don; Gib­son St, Bow­den; The Strand, Colonel Light Gar­dens and St Vin­cent St, Port Ade­laide.

Right now, Peel Street is hippest of the hip, so I head there with friends to start my night out. First stop: subter­ranean art deco speakeasy Maybe Mae.

At the bar and on the leather ban­quettes is mix­ture of hip­sters, suits and two Ir­ish air­line hostesses who in­vite us into their con­ver­sa­tion. Our cho­sen aper­i­tif is the Ruby Lu – cham­pagne-in­fused prepran­dial per­fec­tion. The vibe is hipster with a chic twist – what New York­ers call “haute hipster”. But the chat – flight at­ten­dant tips on five-star Dublin ho­tels – is more haute than hip, so we set off again in search of street-style cool.

We grab a cab and head east, for a late-sit­ting din­ner at Afrikaan-in­flu­enced res­tau­rant Africola on East Ter­race. The stools over­look­ing the kitchen al­low us to marvel at South African chef Dun­can Wel­ge­moed and his team as they work. Co-owner of Africola is “artver­tiser” James Brown, a 35-year-old graphic de­signer – more hippy, less hipster – who is cen­tral to the re­brand­ing of Ade­laide through his work on ev­ery­thing from pop-ups to high-end in­te­ri­ors. His in­te­rior de­sign work here bursts with AfroClash* colour. My din­ing tip: opt for the Chef’s Menu and you’ll be tuck­ing into Afrikaan dishes such as peri peri chicken and slow­cooked mut­ton, all boast­ing mil­i­tantly sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents.

Sated, it’s time to head back west for an ale at Clever Lit­tle Tai­lor. The name comes from a Broth­ers Grimm fairy tale about three dudes who woo a golden-haired princess, and the bar is co-owned by three dudes who woo fa­cial-haired princes.

The mez­za­nine level of­fers three tan­leather booths, where chat­ting with friends and mak­ing new ones is easy. Need some hipster con­ver­sa­tion starters? Try these for size: Have you streamed the new Tame Im­pala al­bum yet? Can I get a ve­gan burger around here? Have you seen Har­mony Korine*’s tap-dance films? Don’t you just hate the hip­ster­i­za­tion of Ade­laide?

As the witch­ing hour ap­proaches we de­cide it’s time to go full turnt* at club An­cient World.

The laneway that leads to An­cient World is def­i­nitely not ac­ti­vated. Dark and un­wel­com­ing, it’s a hipster Ru­bi­con. We hold our noses (the laneway stinks of pee), take the plunge. In a flash we’re in­side an un­var­nished space danc­ing to a band that is so ob­scure the singer has yet to meet the drum­mer. The fash­ion here is nxtsht* (elec­tro pink polyester, trench coats, print ed tops); the chat is about in­stal­la­tion art, Kick­starter projects and, of course, who’s go­ing home with whom. Be­hind the bar, the beer of choice is... West End. That’s right folks – Ade­laide’s daggy, doggedly un-craft beer has been co-opted into the hipster move­ment. But hey, it’s cheap and gives you a buzz, which pretty much de­scribes a night at An­cient World. You could have a night out here for un­der $20.

At the end of our night out we re­alised that hipster can be a can of lager and a dance, or a cham­pagne cock­tail be­fore char­coal prawns. And it can still be au­then­tic. And for all the neg­a­tive press hip­sters get (snarky*, Ricki Hall* clones) the fact is their choice of drink, dance and din­ing des­ti­na­tions are di­verse, award­win­ning and chang­ing the face of Ade­laide for the bet­ter. We can all be hip to that.

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