Uncle Ming's

This York Street basement bar serving Asian-infused cocktails and delicious dumplings is a little bit kitsch, a little bit mysterious and a whole lot of fun.
Prudence McKendry
Published on September 10, 2012
Updated on May 31, 2024


Uncle Ming's is almost undetectable from the street — only a hastily scrawled chalk sign gives this basement bar away. Once you descend down a narrow flight of steps and enter, don't be surprised if your senses are momentarily stunned. The soft red glow of caged light blubs, vintage glamour shots on the walls and delicate wisps of incense perfuming the air invite revellers into the enticing debauchery of a 1920's Chinese speakeasy.

Unsurprisingly, Asian flavours abound on the extensive cocktail menu, with cute takes on classics like Uncle Ming's version of a negroni — dubbed Wax On, Wax Off, made with gin, whisky umeshu and cynar. Leaning into the kitsch, you can also order cocktails to share, which are served in traditional teapots. Or keep things simple and go for one of The Favourites — Uncle's is whisky and fresh apple juice, while Auntie's is house-spiced rum and fresh apple juice. Both are delightful.

People clinking two yellow cocktails from Uncle Ming's from YCK Laneways.

There are beers from Japan to Singapore, sake, soju, umeshu and a heap of Japanese whisky to savour, although you can also go local with one of the many Aussie wines on offer. And if you're on the wagon, there are plenty of mocktails to choose from that are equally packed with Asian flare.

Uncle Ming's may be a bar first but it's also a dumpling house. Choose from classic combos, from pork and chive to chicken and mushrooms. Also worth a try are the barbecue buns, spring rolls, takoyaki octopus balls and Ming's Wings — chicken wings stuffed with pork mince, cabbage and leek.


Appears in:

Sydney's Best Underground Bars for 2023


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