Bars and Nightclubs
Inner West, Sydney

Tokonoma Lounge

490 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW
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Entering Tokonoma, one feels they could be in New York, London, or even downtown Tokyo. After settling into the plush leather banquettes, one can enjoy a cleansing pre-dinner shochu tonic, served straight over freshly cleaved ice, or a late light cocktail and cool beats from the in-house DJ. Tokonoma is the ideal venue for a dinner with friends, be it a birthday party, a celebration, or an impromptu catch up, as well corporate functions, product launches and large media events.

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Review of Tokonoma Lounge

Review by Nancy Merlo

A striking sense of sexy sophistication hits you from the moment you walk in the door at Tokonoma Lounge and are greeted by a host who looks like she’s just stepped off a plane from Soho, New York. She sets the vibe for the whole place – located in the heart of Surry Hills, the venue fits right in with its uber cool surroundings and serves some of the most amazing food you’ll find coming out of a bar-style venue.

Looking around you’ll notice the crowd is mostly made up of sleek ladies and gents in their late twenties and thirties with cocktails in hand. There are a few couples around, groups celebrating birthdays and smaller groups of friends just catching up.

While there are tables and booths down the back, which make Tokonoma more of a Japanese restaurant-slash-bar, there’s lounge seating overlooking Crown Street up the front and a long timber bar runs almost the length of the venue.

I opted to take a seat in the lounge area and took my time browsing the extensive list of sake, wine and cocktails. Cocktails start at around $12 and go up to $27, most of the more expensive options are made with quality ingredients though and worth the pennies if you have them to spare.

The service is fantastic; wait staff know plenty about the menus and, if you’re lucky, the waitress might even let you taste test a sake before your settle on your order. The ‘dassai migaki sanwari kyubu yamaguchi’ is highly recommended for its light-honeyed flavour with plenty of bite. However if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth go for the ‘hana no mai junmai ginjo ume shu’ sake, which is a smooth, rich plum sake that’s more like a dessert wine.

Whatever your beverage of choice, accompany it with a dish or five from the mouth-watering food menu. You can’t go wrong with the crispy tempura soft-shell crab, nigiri or the sushi rolls, which are fresh and yummy. However, the chicken wings and beef skewers are finger-licking good as well. Actually, pretty much everything is superbly presented, smells delicious and tastes even better.

Open Wednesday through Saturday from 5.30pm till midnight – you can make a booking or simply walk in to Tokonoma and enjoy a night out that will tantalise all your senses as you’re served food, plus wine, sake and cocktails (why not have a glass of each, right?), as you soak up the classy surroundings of this well-designed bar with some funky tunes playing in the background. It’s definitely not a bad way to spend an evening, especially if you’re struggling to find a spot to enjoy a drink and some eats mid-week.

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