Review: Bar Besuto

Bars, Drink, Sydney / 25 October 2023

Bar Besuto at Circular Quay is a Japanese whisky lover’s dream with over 150 rare selections.

Bar Besuto, a Tokyo-inspired underground gem in Sydney, is a haven for Japanese whisky enthusiasts. It boasts an impressive collection of over 150 rare Japanese whiskies, making it the city’s largest selection.

You’ll find Bar Besuto very close to their sister venue Besuto in Quay Quarters which is an intimate omakase restaurant. Renowned Chef and Restaurateur Joel Best, formerly of Bondi’s Best, was inspired to open Bar Besuto in Sydney Place to share his exceptional whisky collection that was previously underappreciated sitting on the restaurant’s shelf. Bar Besuto now houses the whisky connoisseur’s private whisky collection, which includes several limited-edition whiskies he collected on his travels to Japan.

This cosy 30-seat basement bar offers a unique experience focusing solely on Japanese whisky. There’s no need for a whisky menu, and it’s a walk-in-only establishment. Whether you’re a seasoned whisky enthusiast or a complete novice, the welcoming team at Bar Besuto is dedicated to guiding and educating you on this exquisite spirit.

Japanese whisky is the leading export from Japan, but its prices tend to increase by approximately 20% annually, making some of the pricier options less accessible. However, at Bar Besuto, you have the opportunity to explore a diverse range of choices, with nips ranging from $7 to $800 each. A standard pour consists of 30ml, but Bar Besuto also provides the option of a 15ml pour. Joel Best’s philosophy is to encourage guests to savour a variety of whiskies and discover the rich tapestry of flavours.

At Bar Besuto, you can experience tasting flights that include prestigious brands like Yamazaki and Hakushu, as well as a unique chance to savour a flight from the exclusive Chichibu Distillery, famous for Japan’s most coveted whiskies. The Chichibu Distillery produces only 500 bottles each year, underlining its extraordinary rarity. For the ultimate indulgence, Bar Besuto proudly presents a bottle of Hakushu 25, a remarkable 25-year-old blend valued at an impressive $15,000 to $25,000 per bottle.

Whether your preference is neat or on the rocks, peaty or single malt, Bar Besuto ensures a whisky selection to match your palate. Additionally, they provide a range of well-crafted cocktails and non-alcoholic mocktails. For those not inclined towards whisky, there’s a delightful array of Japanese beers and sake.

Bar Besuto offers an array of one-bite Japanese snacks to complement the whisky experience. We highly recommended the miniature ‘Steak Frites’ featuring steak tartare layered atop caviar and thinly sliced miso potato, as well as Glacier 51 Toothfish paired with pickled vegetables, panko olives, and nori-salted fries.

With attentive service and an unparalleled whisky collection, Bar Besuto’s dimly lit, intimate ambiance is the perfect setting for a pre-dinner drink, a nightcap, or an engaging guided whisky exploration.

On the 31st of October 2023, Bar Besuto will host the renowned Tokyo bartender, Hidetsugu Ueno of High Five, for a masterclass. Guests will enjoy a whisky highball upon arrival and watch Ueno craft exquisite cocktails like the “Full Bloom” and the “Ceremony.” The event also includes Roku Gin and tonics, paired Japanese snacks, and a sweet surprise. Choose from three sessions for $120 per person. Find out more here.

Bar Besuto is open Tuesday to Saturday from 4pm till late. Enjoy a Highball Happy Hour from 4pm – 6pm each day where you can choose from a menu of whisky highball cocktails or mocktails, mixed with premium house-made soda. A reminder this is a walk-in-only affair!