Shenzhen Bar Review: Bar Ink

By Winnie Jin, December 28, 2018

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The Place

Tucked in a corner building overlooking a small grassy field, Bar Ink is one of the latest F&B additions to Shenzhen’s hipster enclave, OCT Loft. The tattoo themed bar and restaurant was dreamed up by the owners of Lotus Ink, one of the city’s most acclaimed tattoo studios. The bar itself is small and cozy, with both indoor and outdoor seating surrounding a crescent-shaped bartop that serves as the center-piece of the space.

Image via Bar Ink

The Food (and Drinks)

Bar Ink’s menu boasts an array of Western dishes, which chef Eli Gregory tells us are a fusion between Spanish and French cuisines. We were eager to try the Scotch eggs (RMB38) and squid ink pasta (RMB88), which are both served with a creative twist. 

Image via Bar Ink

Instead of the standard chicken egg, Bar Ink’s Scotch eggs are made using quail eggs wrapped in handmade sausage with a light breading. When they arrive, the egg yolks are pleasantly soft and nicely balanced by the addition of honey mustard sauce. 

Smothered with squid ink sauce and topped with a runny egg yolk, the squid ink pasta is a treat. Combined with crispy onion and almond toppings, the egg yolk adds a nice texture, but the squid ink flavor is what really packs a punch. 

Image via Bar Ink

Ordering a drink proves to be a unique experience. Reflecting the arty theme, Bar Ink’s cocktail menu is arranged not by liquor but by color, with a selection of both classic and creative drinks. Our bartender asks us what flavors we usually like and suggests the New York sour (RMB98), a twist on a classic whiskey sour with the addition of red wine. Well-made and presented, it’s a solid recommendation.

The Vibe

According to owner Yoyo Zhong, Bar Ink’s raison d’etre is to celebrate her favorite subcultures, including not only tattooing but also surfing and freediving. Artwork created by Yoyo herself, including tattoo sketches, drawings and more, cover the walls. The eclectic décor and personal touches create a homey atmosphere. 

Image via Bar Ink

Since its grand opening in early November, the bar has been fairly quiet, but hopes to ramp up its offerings with upcoming brunch and live music events. Plus, tatted patrons (anyone with a tattoo, not just Yoyo’s clients) can show off their body art for 10 percent off their order – a gift from Bar Ink to its community that makes a trip even more worthwhile.

Price: RMB100-200
Who’s going: tattoo lovers, hipsters and fine food fans
Good for: elevated food and drinks in an artsy but homey space
Nearest metro: Qiaocheng North Station (Exit B), 10 minutes’ walk

Open daily, 11am-2am. See listing for Bar Ink.

[Cover image via Bar Ink]

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