Now the Uncle Ming’s story goes – Uncle Ming, one of Shanghai’s most notorious figures,- started a life of crime as a policeman collecting protection money from local opium traders. He became so powerful that, by the 1920’s, he had to leave China. Uncle Ming settled in Sydney and set up a community place for the local Chinese expat community to meet and have drink. So Uncle Ming’s Bar is one the site of this community hall.
Many small Sydney CBD bars are down a flight of stairs off the street – this time it’s 55 York Street. Once inside, you’re enveloped by dimly lit alcoves, red lanterns, a warm old Shanghai bar with pictures of the past everywhere – the bar with stools is off to the left of the main area with a view to the kitchen through a large round window straight ahead. Check out the cocktails – their own specials, like Bruce Lee – sloe gin, vodka, peach and ginger beer and some takes on classics like a spicy margarita. The barman suggested trying a margarita with chilli bitters and sprinkled with few chilli flakes – and not half bad. He says he likes using spices in cocktails and there’s a few like this on the list.
We also had to try a classic martini – Uncle Ming’s stock a gin we haven’t seen many places before – Professor Cornelius Appleforths Bathtub Gin made using the traditional method of infusing. Result – gin that’s big on juniper and spice and light on botanicals – perfect for a dry martini.
There’s a wide of range of Asian spirits – of course, sake also Soju/Shochu – a spirit that hails from Korea and Japan – it’s made from barley, rice or sweet potato. Try out Baiju – a Chinese Strong Spirit that’s made from many different grains and aged for many years. But we were impressed by one of the widest and most diverse range of whiskies – Japanese – Nikka and Suntory, Taiwanese, Bourbon and Rye and Scottish/Irish. Many a long winter’s evening could be spent here with a drop or two of your favourite single malt whisky.
To eat, in keeping with the Chinese theme – dumplings – Pork & Chive, Pork Dim Sim, Scallop Gow Gee, Prawn Dumpling, BBQ Duck Buns and a few more to stave off late night hunger.
Uncle Ming’s Bar – a little bit old Shanghai (or at least a Sydney version of old Shanghai), and on the nights we’ve been there the crowd was a cool easy looking inner city group with a friendly vibe, sharp service and music from past decades to make you want to tap your boots to. All adding up to a cool Sydney bar.
Uncle Ming’s Bar
55 York St, Sydney CBD 2000