So remember a couple days ago when we reported on the new plans for Hop Sing Laundromat’s “Washy Washy Hour” and menu changes?
Yeah, well as with so much having to do with Hop Sing, those facts were temporary critters–subject to sudden and drastic alteration according to the fleeting whims of Lee, Hop Sing’s chief raconteur.
But wait… Before the haters out there start getting all up in arms, let me say that this is good news. What we have now is a large expansion of the Happy Hour menu, a change in its schedule, a ridiculously low price adjustment and the promise of more goodness (and weirdness) to come.
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Okay, so here’s the deal. We know that some of you out there go into fits every time we write something about Hop Sing Laundromat, but frankly we don’t care. Haters gonna hate and, in the meantime, Lee and his Hop Sing crew just keep doing stuff to make the act of drinking all the more pleasurable. Like for example…
- Deciding that now is the time for Hop Sing to start keeping regular hours. Meaning 7-day-a-week hours, with the (somewhat hidden) door opening at 5pm every evening and staying open ’til last call. And this will start on Monday. At 6:30 or so. Because Lee just likes to fuck with you like that.
- Launching a 3-day-a-week Happy Hour program called “Washy Washy Hour”–which, according to Lee, is German for Happy Hour. Obviously. During said hours (which will run from 5pm-9pm, Sunday through Tuesday), he’s cutting the price on his drinks but serving only the best of his formidable booze collection. Other stuff he might possibly be doing: Making it an all-shots happy hour (which would be awesome, considering the caliber of hooch he pours), making one night a week an all-tiki happy hour (scorpion bowls for everyone!), offering free whiskey to journalists (okay, I made that last one up).
- Debuting a new menu, starting Monday, which will offer both classic cocktails, Lee’s versions of classic cocktails, drinks he totally just invented all on his own and at least one concoction that he conceived, designed, polished and perfected all while Art and I were sitting at the bar yesterday afternoon, drunkenly heckling his efforts. As it turns out, it is a fantastic drink. So good that we named it ourselves.
But first, here are some of the other new drinks he’s going to be pouring.
Just a sample of Hop Sing’s new cocktail menu
It has become a vital question among Philly’s serious cocktail connoisseurs: Where to eat after a night spent drinking at Chinatown’s Hop Sing Laundromat? Depending on how many cocktails you’ve put away, the distance between Hop Sing’s secret door and the nearest late-night noodle spot is a serious concern, so we’ve broken the options down for you by how far you’ll have to walk. Or stagger.
The Hop Sing Laundromat Drunk Walk »
Hop Sing Laundromat makes Details Magazine’s Best New Bars in America feature. Hop Sing is listed under High End Cocktails along with bars from New York, Chicago and Seattle.
The 1,000-bottle inventory and the enigmatic, always cuff-linked owner-host known only as Lêe are just two of the draws at this red-hot Chinatown spot.
The Vibe: A feel of aristocratic exclusivity, thanks to Victorian accents and Lêe’s strict house rules (no sneakers, no photos).
The Drinks: A mix of pre-Prohibition-era picks (like the orange-and-lemon-juice-laced Ward 8) and modern interpretations.
Best New Bars in America [Details]
Adam Erace had held out longer than most. Turned off by Hop Sing Laundromat’s hype and its proprietor’s self-deprecation, Erace at avoided Lee’s Chinatown cocktail bar. But for a first review of 2013, the bar beckoned. And although identified, City Paper’s reviewer tells his tale.
The off-menu tequila Old Fashioned was mostly booze but, paradoxically, not boozy. When the fire vanished from its tableside-flamed orange peel, it revealed a smooth tango of mezcal and reposado, smoke and oak set to plainspoken Angostura, agave and a spray of essential citrus oils. I sought that balance in the Triple A special, but there wasn’t enough fresh-pressed green apple juice to combat the lethal doses of applejack and absinthe.
“I know you didn’t like the Triple A,” Lee whispered when he set down the check, “so I took it off the bill.” I’d given no indication I hadn’t liked it. I’d even drunk most of it. Is Lee psychic or just a very keen observer?
The Truth About Czar Lee [City Paper]
Hop Sing Laundromat [Official Site]
Photo by Neal Santos
Craig LaBan sings the praises of Hop Sing Laundromat’s Nevermore cocktail. LaBan calls it a “deliciously one-of-a-kind cocktail.”
A one-of-a-kind drink from Hop Sing Laundromat [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Photo by David Warren | Philly.com
So, three guys walk into a bar…
Wait, let me start over.
A homicidal maniac, an Al-Qaeda torture specialist, and a Foobooz commenter walk into Hop Sing Laundromat. After surrendering their photo IDs for inspection at the door, they are seated in an anteroom—on a church pew opposite an unmanned shoeshine stand.
The insane murderer gazes around at an antiquarian’s fantasia of leather-bound books—shelf upon shelf going right up to what must be a 15-foot ceiling—and feels a novel sensation. By the dumb luck of having tucked his collared shirt into the Dolce and Gabbana pants of his latest victim, he has passed the bar’s not-exactly-restrictive dress code. For the first time in his life he feels validated. The light is low. A faint scent of citrus oil wafts through the air. The proprietor was only play-acting when checking IDs, so the smears of dried blood on his had gone unremarked. And by the time he’s given an Old Fashioned chilled by a doorknob-sized hunk of ice (without even being asked for a credit card to start a tab), he has made an iron pact with God never to kill again.
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One of the most searched for terms on Foobooz over the last month has been “Hop Sing dress code.” And it seems like more people should be searching for it as Lêe from Hop Sing Laundromat says he turns away 30+ people a night because they don’t meet the Chinatown bar’s dress code. Here is an illustrated look at what will get you in and what will have you wondering if there are any other spots worth drinking at in Chinatown.
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At Hop Sing Laundromat nothing is ever…simple. Not the space, not the rules or dress code, not the run-up to the opening, not the cocktails and certainly not the schedule. After months of will-he/won’t-he dithering about the opening date, one-name-wonder Lêe finally opened the cocktail bar to breathless fanfare (and plenty of grumbling) on May 25, but even then it was a kind of preview opening–with cheap drinks, sure (every cocktail in the house, $10 flat), but only an extended-weekend schedule on Thursday, Friday and Saturday services.
Well now that’s all going to change.
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Hop Sing Laundromat (as it looks today) retains an air of secrecy
Danya Henninger knows a thing or two about bars. And about drinking at bars. And about where to go when drinking at a bar is exactly what you need. As editor of The Drink Nation and Philly editor for Zagat.com, she gets to write a lot about her favorite subject (booze), and a couple days ago she put together a very nice list of Philly’s “secret” bars.
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