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Uncle Ming's

Bars Sydney
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A spicy subterranean bar offering a wealth of Japanese whisky and Chinese dumplings

You know you’ve arrived at Uncle Ming’s when you enter a subterranean bar on York Street and the smell of incense hits your face. Let your eyes adjust to the dark and take a look around – you have just entered an opium den-style drinking parlour straight out of downtown Shanghai.

For a small bar there are plenty of cosy nooks and with all this moody red lighting it’s probably hosted a few first dates. Ornamental lamps shed light on the walls covered in pictures of Asian pin-up girls while random tunes including anything from Ray Charles to Frank Sinatra play in the background.

Take one look at the drinks list and you’ll realise this isn’t just a Chinese-themed bar. There’s ale from Japan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, plenty of sake and soju, and umeshu (a Japanese plum liqueur). But the real focus at Uncle Ming’s is whisky. They’ve got more than 90 different types including 60 from Japan.

Try the Hattori Hanzo cocktail, a refreshing mix of Japanese whisky, spiced honey, apple and fresh lemon topped with soda. Ask the bartender to freestyle and you may get a Campari, Japanese whisky, Ardbeg and Pedro Ximenez concoction. It’s good but strong and after one of those and a James Hong Blazer you’ll need some food – especially if you’re on that date.

Avoid the complimentary snow pea crisps and order a tower of steaming bamboo baskets filled with assorted dumplings including pork and chive and chicken and coriander. The steamed duck buns are more onion than duck – we’d suggest ordering another round of prawn dumplings instead.

You can easily lose track of time at Uncle Ming’s. It’s late Thursday night and everyone’s gone home except six loved-up couples scattered across the room.

Could this be Sydney’s favourite Tinder bar?

By: Alex Adams



Address: LG 55 York Street
Price: $10-$50
Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-midnight; Sat 5pm-midnight
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