This Weekend’s Cocktail List at Hop Sing Laundromat

We’re entering the third weekend of Hop Sing Laundromat being open to anyone who comes up to the unmarked storefront at 1029 Race Street (Well anyone who follows these rules and is dressed appropriately at least).

It is also the first weekend that the Chinatown bar will have a printed cocktail menu. The list has twelve drinks broken down by primary spirit. The descriptions are interesting to say the least, most with a tie to American history, and one referring to a certain restaurant critic. For cocktails we’ve tried and remember, our notes are in italic.

Hop Sing Laundromat Drink List


Henry “Box” Brown

In 1849, liberty was mailed to the city of Brotherly Love. Born into slavery in 1815, Henry Brown executed a stunning escape to freedom by arranging to ship himself from Richmond, Virginia in a dry goods box to a downtown abolitionist. Needless to say, we are pleased to name our very first libation after the greatest arrival in the history of Philadelphia.


The Stonewall Riot

“We are the Stonewall girls, we wear our hair in curls, we wear no underwear, we show our pubic hair, we wear our dungarees, above our nelly knees!” With this cry, in the early morning hours of June 28th, 1969, members of one of the most marginalized communities in New York City decided to stand up and fight back for their rights. This libation pays respect to their courage and beliefs.


Preacher Bourbon

Once imprisoned before the Revolutionary War for preaching without a license, Rev. Elijah Craig is credited with the invention of bourbon whiskey. It goes to show the Lord works in a mysterious way and we do wish it would happen more often when it comes to whiskey.

The Boston Healer

Before women had the right to vote, this female worked first for eight years as a nurse before becoming the first African-American woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. “I early conceived a liking for, and sought every opportunity to relieve the sufferings of others,” said Rebecca Lee Crumpler, who treated former slaves when she moved to Richmond, Virginia after the Civil War. Her notes were later published as “A Book of Medical Discourses,” one of the nation’s first medical publications by an African-America. (Iced coffee, peppermint, bourbon, honey liqueur, vanilla liqueur – red bull and vodka for the sophisticated)


Operation Overlord

On Tuesday June 6, 1944 members of the Allied Forces commenced “Operation Overlord” by storming of the beaches at Normandy. It has been said one of the most noble things a man can do is fight for someone who cannot fend for themselves. With this libation, we honor the men who prevented German from becoming the official language of Paris, France and earned the name “The Greatest Generation.”

Montana Payback

At Last Stand Hill, in the summer of 1876, when underdog Indian warriors engaged the Federal Army at The Battle of Greasy Grass their tenacious charge confused General Custer’s command structure, and in a short time decimated the 7th Calvary. With this libation we acknowledge one of the biggest upsets in American history.


4:31 PM

“What America needs now is a drink.” And with these words, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ended the thirteen-year, ten-month, seventeen-hour and thirty-two-and-a-half minute noble experiment of Prohibition at 4:31pm on December 5, 1933. Well, Mr. President, you could not have chosen a better time of the day to sign this historic document. With this libation, we raise our glass to the father of all happy hours! (Two gins, two Spanish vermouths and Chartreuse. Looks like ice water)

A Failed Entertainment

Inspired by the working title for the novel “Infinite Jest” by the late David Foster Wallace, this libation pays tribute to one of the finest writers of his generation, to whom we owe thanks for statements like “almost nothing important that ever happens to you happens because you engineer it.” (Gin, mint and grapefruit)


While the phrase “Nevermore,” might have caused haunting chills and meant something different to Edgar Allen Poe, who once lived along the 700 block of Spring Garden Street, with this drink we hope you have found your perfect nightcap and nothing more. (coffee flavor, cream, no sugar, gin)


Clubber Lang’s Lemonade

This favorite son of South Philly made us all proud when he pummeled the villainous Balboa at the Spectrum in 1982. To this day, he remains the most beloved brawler in the neighborhood of 9th Street & Passyunk Avenue. We can only hope this lemonade brings back the proud memory of that surreal victory.

Esta Tierra es Tuya

We strongly encourage you to order this libation by its given name. (Illegal mescal, flower, egg whites – smoky)

Bells of Brotherly Love

Here is one to an individual who has ruled Philadelphia with an iron pen/keyboard for over 14 years. Not much is known about this handsome gentleman except he is known to bring tears to grown men & women in the dining world or Ben Franklin Bridge for that matter. This libation celebrates & welcomes another 14 years of great writing or in worst case scenario, rush-hour traffic report from Camden, NJ starting next week. (Pictured and described on Michael Klein’s blog.)

All drinks are $12. Hop Sing Laundromat is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday in June. Six days a week starting in July when the drink list will expand to 25 or so.

Hop Sing Laundromat
1029 Race Street

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  • enough

    This is possibly the most ridiculous thing I have read on this site..and that is saying a lot.

    The definition of contrived brought to you by Hop Sing.

  • food dork

    A recent Penn English major is hired to write an Appleby’s drink menu AND HILARITY ENSUES….

    This is almost as comical as LaBan’s Cheeseburger video.

  • no

    Great – Now, howzabout telling us something about the drinks?

  • no


  • cleevus

    was there on tuesday, and, as an avid imbiber, was truly impressed. and i’m not impressed by much. service, decor, vibe, and, most importantly, drinks, all are as good if not better than the country’s best cocktail bars. congrats. even if you did annoy the shit out of everyone for over a year.

  • rory

    when the drink list expands, can they stop getting so much unnecessary press (this told us *nothing* except for burying the lede that they raised prices $2)?

  • 13th st

    Odes to the Stonewall Riot and a local restaurant critic. Taking blatant pandering to a whole new level…

  • Peetah

    I popped in last night – and prices were still $10 a drink (cash-only).

    Overall, I have to admit I was skeptical but left satisfied/impressed. Its a solid cocktail bar for $10 a drink, a nice low-key place to go and chat with a small group. Service is great and Lee is as everyone claims, quirky but passionate. (it seems a lot of the staff was recruited on Craigslist?)

    The space is generally as hyped there are some weird things I’m surprised no one has called out (like the obviously-from-target-poster hanging to the left of the bar, and the ikea sink/faucet in the bathroom…both functional but somewhat pedestrian compared to the rest of the space)

  • DeadHorse

    Talk about beating a dead horse…

  • Rocky

    If Lee is going to open a bar in Philadelphia he really should hire people from Philadelphia and not New York. Go watch the Rocky movies again. Clubber Lang is the villain and not the hero in the movies. Rocky was from Philadelphia not Clubber. Good job paying attention to details.

  • Steve

    Repeat after me. IT IS JUST A BAR!

  • rory

    @ rocky: some (many? all?) philly bartenders realized early that they didn’t want to be involved in this ridiculousness.

  • Rocky

    @ Rory: I’ve been to Hop Sing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a well designed place. That’s about all. They have house rules. Really? I want to go to a bar to relax and unwind not stand at attention while it takes 10 minutes for the bartender to make my drink. This place is a novelty. I wish them the best, but good luck after being open for a year.

  • Buckethead

    OK, so I’m not a cocktail guy at heart, I do like some of Katie Loeb’s and other bartenders’ more inventive concoctions on occasion, drinks that focus less on the booze and more on other flavors. But 95% of the time, I’ll take a glass of wine or a beer over a mixed drink. I’ve never been to the Ranstead Room or Franklin Mortgage.

    Anyway, I tried Hop Sing recently and I really liked it in some ways (most importantly, the drinks) and really didn’t like it in a few others:

    REALLY disliked ringing the doorbell and having someone answer the door acting like I’m disturbing them and pretending they have no idea why I’m there ringing the doorbell. Give me a break. I did think I caught a glimmer in their eye that said “Sorry I’m saying this, I have to” but that may have been my imagination. I guess some people may like this rigamarole of acting like they’re in on some secret but this place is anything but a secret at this point. The whole thing made me feel unwelcome, that feeling didn’t wear off for a good 20 minutes and it’s not the way I want to start off a night out. Being sat down like a schoolchild so I could listen to the 3 rules of the bar (no phones, no cameras, cash only) didn’t help that feeling either. Really, just tell me the rules as you’re walking me in the door, it only took 10 seconds to list them anyway.

    The space is pretty great. The tables are nicely spaced, very private. The bar is impressive and comfortable. The lighting is dark but not too dark. There are actual candles burning in the chandelier. It didn’t feel over-designed, which I thought it would after seeing its progress here. After being there for 30 minutes I felt like I’d have been comfortable staying another couple hours. Of course, since there’s no food on offer yet that’s kind of impossible, there are only so many cocktails you can try before you need to eat something to soak them up. But the space is very relaxing and pretty.

    Really liked the drinks. We tried a few and they were all very good and interesting. Two standouts were the “Failed Entertainment” (gin) and the “Esta Tierra es Tuya” (tequila). Like I said I’m not a huge cocktail drinker but I liked both of those a lot. I’d only get the Failed Entertainment again though, I’m not a tequila fan and the other drink didn’t change my mind about tequila. It was very interesting though.

    REALLY disliked the drink “menu”. It is totally useless. Actually the menu here on Foobooz is better, it at least tells you the ingredients of a few of the drinks. Those details are totally absent on the printed “menu”. Literally the only thing it tells you about each drink is the main booze ingredient. Our server was like “we know all about the drinks, feel free to ask” but of course I’m not going to ask them to list every ingredient in every drink, that’s what a menu is for! I got over the whole experience of entering the establishment but I couldn’t quite get past this nonsense with the “menu”. It’s ridiculous.

    The service was excellent (*after* we made it in the door), everyone was very friendly and well-informed, asking about our preferences to try to recommend an appropriate cocktail. Of course, if the menu was functional instead of ornamental, it would have been a lot easier.

  • Buckethead

    I should add that I really (I mean REALLY) wanted to hate the place, mainly thanks to Jason Sheehan’s incessant, asinine posts about it over the last several months. But despite the chilly introduction, I did end up liking it and may go back with some cocktail-curious friends in the near future.

  • Really?

    It’s really sad that foobooz has become such a blatant booster of this place. This and other ‘stories’ about Hop Sing read more like advertisement than journalism.

    I haven’t been there yet, because I wear a hat, carry a phone and usually pay by credit card , but from the pics the place looks beautiful.

    I wish Lee the best of luck, so here are some unsolicited tips:

    1) When people go out for fun they do not want to be told ‘the rules’ and treated like children. If you treat everyone like an ahole yer only customers are going to be aholes.

    2) When you are going to have check averages of +60$, most people are going to want to pay with a CC.

    3) It’s 2012 people ‘need’ or even really need their phones. Why wouldn’t you want people to take pics and post them on fbook and twitter? Its called free advertising.

    4) People often go to bars to meet people of the opposite sex. Are you going to provide introductions?

    5) A menu should answer questions and communicate information. Are your bartenders really going to have time to answer questions about the components of a drink on a busy night?

    6) Badmouthing Rocky in Philly is unwise (esp if you are from New York)

    7) The Sioux nation (not Indians) defeated Custer and they were not underdogs.

    8) It’s not a good idea to insult, scold or belittle your customers (even in NYC)

    I predict a steep learning curve.

  • rory

    so a man who couldn’t open his bar for well over a year because of his “attention to detail” has screwed up Custer’s Last Stand and Rocky (seriously?).

    To add: Elijah Craig is only erroneously credited with inventing bourbon: it’s almost assuredly not true (distillation had happened for years before Craig started, the charring of the oak is only discussed in writing 30 years later). I also bet there’s no Elijah Craig bourbon in the drink, just to make it extra amusing.

    Also, Edgar Allen Poe’s street address is actually 523 N. 7th, not the 700 block of spring garden.

  • Rocky

    This thread is great! Wonder if Lee has anything to say?

  • Buckethead

    I went back to Hop Sing and everything I complained about the first time was much better this time. And the drinks were even better (I didn’t have any of the same drinks that I had the first time).

    We were greeted at the door with a friendly “hello” and the gate was opened for us without us having to say “the eagle has landed”. As we were walking in I let the guy know that we had been there before and already knew the rules, so he just invited us to sit down while he located a table for us.

    The drinks menu is much bigger (a handful of “signature” cocktails on the front, a much larger “classics” list on the back) and also more detailed, the ingredients for all the drinks are listed so you have a decent idea of what you’re getting into. Everything we tried was good but I especially loved the Montana Payback and the Ward 8. I plan to return soon.

  • Lets give Lee some credit for not being a follower or a copy cat. We have enough said Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia. I like that all the ingrediant are not listed, to me its a conversation you have with your friends and try to use all your senses to figure out what your drinking. Just enjoy the deliciousness of the cocktail and the bar your drinking it in.

  • Great article. Thank you for sharing this informative piece. I appreciate the time and effort you put into this.