bartender making a flaming cocktail

Intimate cocktail bar in the heart of Chinatown Sydney

While there are many places to drink around the Town Hall and Central areas of Sydney’s CBD, there is no intimate cocktail bar quite like BanchoSophisticated, stylish and elegant are words that come to mind when describing the establishment. It’s cozy but not cramped. There are couches, tables and smaller tables suited to your group size. There is a sleek long counter if you’re lucky enough to be seated there. We say lucky because there’s really no better view of the bartending skill that is exhibited by well-dressed and well-mannered mixologists. Tucked in a small alleyway in Chinatown, Bancho should be included into your must-go hidden bars in Sydney. Garry, a resident Tastyfoodpixels foodie writes.

Date night places in Town Hall

If it hadn’t occured to you, Bancho probably should be on your agenda of date night places in Town Hall. The interior is dimly lit, with music playing loud enough to encourage conversation but not overwhelm it. The decor is tastefully designed and arranged to create a familiar feeling. Stepping inside, the oaky surfaces and wooden flooring give a sense of Bancho’s class and subtle exclusivity. 

For couples, I would recommend booking ahead and trying to acquire a seat at the bar. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, the bartending skills are simply a joy to watch. From slick hand movements serving delicious after work drinks, to slightly-flamboyant-but-awesomely skilful manipulations of fire and alcohol, there is no shortage of visual entertainment. Secondly, the height of the counter is comfortably positioned for meaningful conversation. Leaning chin on palm, you and your date can chat for hours. Thirdly, if the second reason is redundant and your conversation is spiralling into disastrous awkward silences, there’s always the visual bartending spectacle to reignite conversation. 

Hidden bars in Sydney

Bancho has its origins as a whiskey bar serving famous Japanese brands. HibikiYamazaki … your favourite brands are all on feature in the elegant safety of locked glass cabinets. Bancho is also no ordinary whiskey bar. Catering to the corporate population around Town Hall and Central, you may purchase a particular bottle of vintage whiskey and store it in your own exclusive glass cabinet. When entertaining clients, what higher feeling of prestige is there when you own a bottle from Bancho? When you walk inside, peer upstairs and you will see the bottles of whiskey on display.

After work drinks

Friday night ideas can repeatedly end up in a night at KBBQ or a visit to the pub. There are often two separate locations, one for food and one for drinks. At Bancho, you can ask yourself: why not both? Food is served alongside drinks. Inspired by its co-owned Japanese restaurants, food options are flavourful. There is gyoza, karaage chicken and soft shell crab bao for the hungry. There are lotus root chips and edamame for those of us who prefer nibbles. 

Being one of Sydney’s charming small bars, Bancho has a truly extensive selection of cocktail, beer and whiskey options. For even the most knowledgeable of drinkers, there will probably be something new to learn. The bartenders are also connoisseurs and are happy to talk about their craft.

Our recommendation for something to try? Bancho offers handy highball combinations where you can combine a unique soft drink flavour with a particular whiskey. Lychee is always a delicious choice 😉