So I was talking with Le the other day, and he told me that, like last summer, he was going to be releasing a new list of happy hour shots.
But this being Le (and his bar, Hop Sing Laundromat, being Hop Sing Laundromat), this wasn’t going to be any collection of lemon drops and Irish car bombs. No, he uses his happy hour lists like maps to discount adventure — incredible deals on simple pours from some of the best and most interesting bottles he keeps behind the bar. We’re talking a 12-year-old Redbreast for $7.77. A Dalmore single malt that’s been sleeping for 15 years for $12.12.
No, I don’t know exactly why he chose those prices. But I do know that they’re bargains. So if you’re a fan of brown spirits (this year’s list skews heavily in the scotch-rye-whiskey direction), you’re going to want to check this list out.
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A couple years ago, I spent a bunch of time hanging out with Lê from Hop Sing Laundromat with the idea of writing a profile on him for Philly mag. It went well — or anyway, as well as such a thing could possibly go — and I heard a lot of stories and I took a lot of notes and I wrote what I think is a pretty decent origin story for Lê and his bar. It was probably more true than it was false which, when dealing with Lê, is about the best you can ever hope for.
But as it turned out, during all that time he never told me what has become my favorite story about the early days of Hop Sing. The one that probably speaks more than any other to his mind and his way of doing business. I heard it for the first time last week, during the 5th anniversary party he threw, while he stood on the bar, roaring and laughing and thanking the crowd of press and friends and regulars.
It was about the shower he had built in the back room.
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Yin & Yang | Photo by Robert Neroni
Last week I visited Hop Sing Laundromat for happy hour where North Korea’s biggest fanboy, Lê poured me a cocktail he had been working on. He wasn’t certain if the drink was better up and garnished with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry or served over a big ice cube with a an orange peel.
So Lê poured me half-measures of the drink up and on the rock and asked for my opinion. The difference in flavor between the two was striking. The breadth of flavor was made all the more striking since this was a two ingredient cocktail of Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof Bourbon and Averna Amaro.
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