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This not a Hop Sing Laundromat review …

To say that Hop Sing Laundromat is under the radar is an vast understatement. No one I’ve talked to at work or in gatherings knows about the place. That being said, for those who know … do know! This can’t be a Hop Sing Laundromat review because I have no definitive way of reviewing this place.

For instance, the owner (some mysterious guy named Le) doesn’t have a website … it’s a landing page in the oldest of school ways. It screams, I don’t need to advertise, I don’t need your business … if you do come to have a drink, you’re going to do it by my rules. Hop Sing Laundromat review

hopsing

How does a bar with no advertising or signage or anything become one of the best bars in the world? Hop Sing Laundromat review

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I’ll tell you how … by not giving a fuck about anything or anyone! Here’s how I ended up at best bar in Philadelphia!!! Hop Sing Laundromat review

  • Finishing drinking an awful 1st Manhattan at the Pyramid Club on the 52nd floor of the UBs Building . The views are spectacular, the service is inconsistent with the nature of the establishment. The waiter was a very nice guy but had no training on any of the drinks or alcohols. The Whiskey/Scotch selection was marginal but had reasonable prices for what they had. The 2nd Manhattan was much better but still not great.
  • The manager came over to ask if we liked our drinks and I gave him constructive feedback. He definitely appreciated it and comped both drinks! An excellent customer service move and will definitely ensure my return … if just for the view.
  • Based on the conversation, the manager could tell I knew what I was talking about and suggested Hop Sing Laundromat. He challenged me to complain over there about anything and come back and tell him the story.

… this leads into the quest to have a drink at Hop Sing’s Laundromat

It’s not hard to find Hop Sing’s … getting through the door is/can be a different story. Here’s a couple things that you should know upfront …

  1. There’s no sign outside – just a doorbell on an iron gate that summons a doorman who ushers you upstairs into a vestibule whose floor is coated in pennies.
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  2. You sit in a church pew, across from a shoeshine stand, and submit your identification for inspection. And you wait.
  3. I waited and they took my passport. The big bouncer demanded my passport … I never comply with this request but such was my curiousity on the schtick, that I complied.
  4. My understanding is that the owner is this mystery guy known as Lê, and it’s not clear if that is his first name, his last name, or simply his nom de guerre. I never saw the guy … BUT
  5. Lê also suffers no fools. He takes pleasure in denying entry to people based on his rules … in a very Soup Nazi way
    1. You’re wearing sneakers. NO DRINK FOR YOU!!!! Hop Sing Laundromat review
    2. You’re taking a selfie? NO DRINK FOR YOU!!!!
    3. You want to take pictures of his place without permission? NO DRINK FOR YOU!!!!

This being said … it is an exquisite space. These pictures are all from writers who got permission to take photos of the place. I’ll repeat … none of these pictures are mine … this will probably be the only place I’ll never get to photograph because I don’t want Lê to ban me!

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Hop Sing’s is such a cult favorite, that there is a drunk walk infographic for those who have too much fucking time on their hands, but are also awesome enough to give me a great Philly bucket list item. Hop Sing Laundromat reviewhop-sing-laundromat-drunk-walk

Another awesome detail from this Eater.com profile

Writer: Details like thousands of pennies superglued to the floor, nickels on the bar, and all of them are facing the same direction. Some would say you have OCD. What would you say? Hop Sing Laundromat review

: The pennies thing has been done, but not correctly in my opinion, as they’re usually all mixed up and facing different directions. If someone came along and did it after us, we would be asking ourselves why we didn’t think of it first. I don’t want to ask myself that question late. You aren’t the first person to mention I might be OCD.

nickels

Want to see Hop Sing's Happy Hour menu? - CLICK HERE!!!

Want to see Hop Sing's Happy Hour menu? - CLICK HERE!!!

Hop Sing Laundromat’s Happy Hour Menu :
Happy hour at Hop Sing Laundromat is Tuesday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Espolon Añejo Tequila

$3.50


Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve Canadian Whisky

$5.55


Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum

Don Q Gran Añejo Rum

Cabo Wabo Añejo Tequila

$6.66


Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey

Booker’s Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey

Glen Grant 16 years old Single Malt Whisky

Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt Whisky

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon Whiskey

$7.77


Russell’s Reserve Limited Release 6 years old Rye Whiskey

$8.88


Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky

Bowmore 15 Year Darkest Sherry Cask Single Malt Whisky

Laphroaig 18 years old Single Malt Whisky

Laphroaig 10 years old Original Cask Strength Whisky

$9.99


Bowmore 18 years old Single Malt Whisky

$12.12


Auchentoshan 21 years old Single Malt Whisky

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep 17 years old Bourbon Whiskey

$19.99


Bowmore 25 years old Single Malt Whisky

$39.99

More quotes from that amazing Eater.com profile piece by Colin Flatt

Writer : You’ve got 1,200 different bottles of liquor on the wall. Do you think you’ll really need all of them?

: What I’ve learned on my research trip, driving 33,000 miles in 70 days through 48 states, is that every cocktail bar thinks their version of a classic cocktail is the best version ever made. They all stock their establishments with a limited selection of spirits to make their own versions of these cocktails. That’s a mistake.

We just can’t assume people will be satisfied with our choice of gins, so why not carry as many brands as possible? Our guest’s version of any cocktail is and always will be the best version of them all. The perfect drink.

What should you drink at Hop Sing's? - CLICK HERE!!!

What should you drink at Hop Sing's? - CLICK HERE!!!

This excellent list is taken word for word from the Belly of the Pig blog
Preacher Bourbon [$12]
Elijah Craig 12 year, Lazzaroni Amaretto, Fernet Branca, Absinthe  
A popular libation, the preacher bourbon satisfied my need for American whiskey. One of my favorite 12 years, the Elijah Craig paired beautifully with the amaretto and absinthe to create an almost chocolatey note. The bitters added complexity while the anise flavors helped to bring about a clean finish. Delicious.
 
Boston Healer [$12]
Elijah Craig 12 year, Licor 43, Honey Liquer, Cream, Coffee, Mint
My next tipple was another favorite – the creamy coffee came on the initial attack with the bourbon on the finish. The Licor 43 wasn’t as pronounced, but the honey and mint offered refreshing flavors to balance out the coffee and cream. A great pick me up.
Beecher’s Bibles [$14]
Elijah Craig 12 year, Licor 43, Grape Fruit Juice, Lime Juice, Egg White
 
If you haven’t noticed, Lêe’s drinks are an ode to America. Keeping with the bourbon vibe, my third drink of the night was a new addition to the menu and a nod to the Sharps rifles used by anti-slavery immigrants in Kansas. Certainly appropriate since it was a few days before MLK Day. But back to the drink itself! The egg white provided the froth, with the grape fruit and lime juice bringing forth some tartness to balance out the vanilla from the Licor 43.The citrus really comes through on the finish. Not my favorite, but certainly not bad.
Blood and Sand [$14]
Glenlivet 16, Carpano Antica, Cherry Heering, Orange Juice
Some of the other drinks to be had by the group included this aged-Scotch based Blood and Sand, another new addition to the menu. You can’t go wrong with 16 year Glenlivet, which brings forth warm spice notes typical with this Scotch. That’s tempered by the high-end sweet vermouth, and Cherry Heering – perhaps a nod to the classic Manhattan? The addition of OJ makes the tipple clean and light.
And with that, we’re done with the whiskey experience. Let’s move on to some of the vodka-based cocktails!
Sicilian Screwdriver [$14]
Double Cross Vodka, Blood Orange
The GF went with this new addition – one of our favorites of the night. Not overly saccharine and slightly tart, this was easy and enjoyable drinking, to be sure. Lêe, who stopped by multiple times to check on us, made sure to inform us that all the juices are fresh-squeezed and it’s apparent in this drink. Apparently, blood oranges are especially red this season and this particular drink had a gorgeous dark red tinge. 
Stonewall Riot [$12]
Double Cross Vodka, Green Grape Juice, Orange Juice  

Lêe also made sure to note that you won’t find the “cheaper” Grey Goose here. This Double Cross-based drink had fresh green grape and orange juice offering an even lighter and sweeter twist compared to the screwdriver, thanks to the green grape. If you’re looking for incredibly easy drinking, look no further.
East Passyunk Yacht Club [$12]
Plymouth Gin, Honey Liquer, Lime, Mint
 
We also tried a gin-based cocktail. This one was sweet from the Honey liquer and tart from the fresh lime juice, with the mint providing a nice herbaceousness to break it all up.
Philly Colada [$14]
Don Q Gran Anejo Rum, El Dorado 151 Rum, Kalani Coconut Liquer, Cream, Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice, Mint
The GF tried this new addition to menu – an obvious ode to an oft enjoyed Caribbean drink. Creamy with coconut on the initial attack, the pineapple and lime really develop on the palate. The 151? As expected, that really hits you later!
Hotel National [$12]
El Dorado 15 Year Rum, Rothman and Winter Apricot Liquer, Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice 
This particular rum-based drink was slightly tart from the lime and pineapple, with the apricot liquer bringing forth even more saccharine notes..

And from there, the ladies wanted to end with tequila, so that’s what we did.

Duke of Funk [$14]
Casamigos Reposado Tequila, St. Germain Elderflower Liquer, Vida Mezcal, Red Grape Juice, Lime Juice 
The ultra-premium tequila melded beautifully with the bright and fragrant St. Germain. The lime was tart and balanced nicely by the sweet red grape juice and the Vida, which had a nose of fruit aromatics, hints of honey, and vanilla. On the palate, there was some banana as well. Complex, but not harsh in the least.
El Diablo [$12]
Tres Agaves Tequila Reposado, Creme de Cassis, Lemon, Fever Tree Ginger Beer
And for the final libation, this particular reposado is a blend of tequila that is housed in Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniels, and Heaven Hills barrels – a nice whiskey nod to bookend the night. Oak and agave came through, with the creme de cassis offering sweetness on the forefront and the tartness from the lemon and the spice from the ginger beer offering a great counterbalance. From the name alone, we expected some spice, but regardless, another great drink!

Henry “Box” Brown (c/o Winemag)

Recipe courtesy Lêe, owner of Hop Sing Laundromat, Philadelphia

This drink—named after a Virginia slave who escaped in 19th century by mailing himself in a wooden crate to Philadelphia abolitionists—features three deliciously simple ingredients.

2½ ounces El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Reserve
3¼ ounces fresh-squeezed red-grape juice
2 red grapes, for garnish

Combine the first 2 ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add five large ice cubes and shake vigorously for 8–10 seconds. Strain the mixture into a double Old-Fashioned glass filled with ice (or a single large ice cube). Garnish with grapes.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a PeopleSoft HRMS Project Manager and Oracle Solution Architect. Over the past 10+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 2 major consulting firms. He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at [email protected]

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