Back in 1964, the owners of Chequers - Sydney's most famous nightclub, hosting the likes of Shirley Bassey, Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra back in its day - opened the very first Mandarin club. Forty-four years later and it's back with a brand new face, serving a whole new generation (mostly) of drinkers.
No longer on Pitt Street, the Mandarin Club is placed in the heart of Chinatown among dumpling shops, Canto-palaces and gothic Lolita stores - you can pretty much hear the sizzle of the markets just down the road. It's the best place within a one kilometre radius to get a drink.
Bar One is only the first of many segments of the Mandarin Club to open (and yes, it is a proper club - all the same rules apply, down to signing yourself in and wearing covered shoes). Yet to come is M Club, the nightclub and music venue set to open February, while their restaurant, Satsuma, just opened their doors to the public a blink of an eye ago.
There's a huge outdoor area replete with sun lounges to recline on; giant Asian-style pillars looming overhead; and best of all, table service, so you don't even have to line up for the bar to wet your whiskers.
Drinks-wise, there's a good range of cocktails put together by Grant Collins and Co (of bespoke cocktail designers Bar Solutions fame). For a hot day, our bet's the Lemongrass Mule (vodka, lime, ginger beer) or their version of a Bloody Mary with celery salt. If you want to keep it simple have a schooner of pale or pilsener.
There's also a fair selection of Aussie wines on offer with nothing over $52 and if you like bubbles, there are three different realisations of Möet (none by the glass though - boo). If you've pulled the designated driver straw there's plenty to keep you on the wagon - a huge range of mineral waters are available, including H2O to the stars, Voss, as well non-alcoholic cocktails. You might not settle down for an evening here, but it's a great spot for a drink before or after dinner in C-town.