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Hop Sing Laundromat - recent reports?

bsims76 Jun 17, 2013 08:31 AM

Has anyone been recently? My wife and I were there about a month and a half ago for some pre-dinner cocktails 6-6:30ish, and while I like the concept and the drinks were good, I was somewhat surprised and disappointed that for the most part the place was empty - given all the hype seen on various foodie blogs, etc. One other couple was there during our first round, but left shortly thereafter and the place was all ours.

So... despite the atmosphere, the lack of people kind of killed the "vibe" a bit. And our goal for that outing was somewhat to forget we had a toddler at home and pretend we were still young and hip/cool ;). Have another opportunity for a "date night" coming up and would like to give it another try, but since such opportunities are few and far between, wondering if we should try somewhere else instead... Was our experience a fluke, or just because we were there too early?


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  1. c
    cwdonald RE: bsims76 Jun 17, 2013 09:04 AM

    In general you were there early. Like vampires, young hip and cool only come out after dark ;-)

    1. b
      Buckethead RE: bsims76 Jun 17, 2013 09:05 AM

      I usually go there for pre- or post-dinner drinks and very rarely have seen it as empty as you describe, usually because it's a holiday or something else is going on. Around 6:30 I usually see at least 4 other parties there, around 9 - 9:30 there's a bigger crowd but still seats available. One time I left there around 11 and it was full with a line outside, I don't want to wait in line so I never go after 11.

      So I'd say your experience was a bit of a fluke, but if you want to go when there's a bit of a crowd, go after dinner rather than before. I'd certainly choose it over the Franklin.

      1. willscarlett RE: bsims76 Jun 17, 2013 03:32 PM

        I was here last September at 12:30 am on a Sunday morning, or Saturday night, if you prefer. Anyways, much to my surprise, the place was maybe half full at best. The drinks, however, were quite excellent. I was on my way back home from a wedding in Chadds Ford and wanted to check this place out and being that I live in NJ, only had one drink. I asked for suggestions for something that was refreshing and also for a drink which wasn't overpowered by the alcohol. They suggested the "Henry 'Box' Browne" which was made of 15 year old aged rum and fresh squeezed grape juice. I'd never had fresh squeezed grape juice, but the drink was a real winner. It was really perfect and Lee came up to me after a few sips to ask how it was.

        I'm not sure if prices have gone up since September 2012, but at that time, drinks were only $10 - a real bargain. I don't mind places that aren't packed tho because I like to enjoy the atmosphere as well.

        I'm sure the rest of the drinks are good too, but one thing I did note about the menu was that while some drinks are unique, others are recycled speakeasy fare, such as the Hemingway Martini. Compared to the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company, Hop Sing has a more intimate feel, tho Franklin does have a better selection of drinks. Hop Sing and Frankling Mortgage are both definitely better than Ranstead Room.

        2 Replies
        1. re: willscarlett
          Buckethead RE: willscarlett Jun 17, 2013 04:11 PM

          Hop Sing has changed a lot since then, the drinks are now at least $12 each (most are $12) but some are $14 or $15. The drink menu is also a lot bigger now than it was then. The Henry "Box" Brown is still there, thankfully.

          1. re: Buckethead
            PhillyBestBYOB RE: Buckethead Jun 17, 2013 07:03 PM

            They do have happy hour prices now as well ("Washy Washy Hour in Lee-speak).

            I always go early to avoid the vampires.

        2. l
          lowereastrittenhouse RE: bsims76 Jun 18, 2013 02:19 PM

          Last Friday I went around 7:30 and it was very quiet - about 4 tables filled up. I don't think I would have minded the quiet atmosphere so much had I not had to endure the whole rigmarole to get in - it felt particularly like a desperate gimmick.

          Drinks are now $12, with specials $14.

          5 Replies
          1. re: lowereastrittenhouse
            willscarlett RE: lowereastrittenhouse Jun 18, 2013 02:43 PM

            Does Lee still answer the door and ask you what you're doing there, how you found out about the place, if you're aware that they're cash only? Then, did he still make you wait in that vestibule with a explain the rules and whatnot before escorting you inside?

            1. re: willscarlett
              lowereastrittenhouse RE: willscarlett Jun 19, 2013 04:27 AM

              There is a new employee/bouncer/host but yes the process is the same.

            2. re: lowereastrittenhouse
              DirtyJerzey RE: lowereastrittenhouse Jun 19, 2013 03:30 AM

              Thats my issue with the place- the gimmick. The drinks are good enough to speak for themselves, no need for the gimmick.

              1. re: lowereastrittenhouse
                barryg RE: lowereastrittenhouse Jun 19, 2013 04:51 AM

                The place would probably be more full if they let sneakers in.

                1. re: barryg
                  willscarlett RE: barryg Jun 20, 2013 01:55 PM

                  The first time I tried to get in there, it was last July on a Sunday and I was denied because of my sneakers, which I only wore because we'd been walking around Philly for most of the afternoon. Lee was nice enough about it tho and told me there was some Chinese shop around the corner where I could buy these Bruce Lee style shoes for $5, but I couldn't find the shop and I wasn't buying footwear just to go there.

                  My girlfriend then asked if her footwear was ok and Lee said that he would never tell a woman how to dress.

                  It was all good tho - we ended up going to the Ranstead Room and Franking Mortgage and had a fun evening.

              2. Edwardrae RE: bsims76 Jun 19, 2013 06:24 AM

                We always enjoy our visits to Hop Sing and I would suggest you give it another try. If after one drink if it is still not to your liking you will be fueled up to travel to another location; perhaps Franklin Mortgage or the Ranstead Room or one of the less formal Philadelphia purveyors of spirits. Some suggestions for busy, young might include Tria and Amada.

                1. Chemicalkinetics RE: bsims76 Jun 22, 2013 07:36 PM

                  Why did they name it after a Chinese triad organization? Because it is cool?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    PhillyBestBYOB RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 22, 2013 08:03 PM

                    I believe it is named after a character on the TV Western, "Bonanza", or perhaps the 1800's play mentioned below. Lee has a predilection for obscure references to Americana.


                    Love it or hate it. I love it.

                    1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
                      Chemicalkinetics RE: PhillyBestBYOB Jun 22, 2013 08:39 PM

                      I noticed that possible reference the TV character too. However, it could actually refer to the infamous SF Chinatown organization: Hop Sing Tong. The enforcement members: Hop Sing Boys.



                      Hop Sing is pretty famous among the Chinese-American community especially around Chinatowns. I don't think it requires any obscure reference.

                      Oh yes, where is Hop Sing Laundromat located?

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        PhillyBestBYOB RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 22, 2013 09:48 PM

                        Let me rephrase, IT IS named after the character Hop Sing. This was widely reported. Which is why it is called "Laundromat" (Lee claims he didn't call it Hop Sing Laundry out of respect for The French Laundry, although that sounds like a joke), and has nothing to do with any Chinese triad. The owner isn't Chinese anyway, he just likes obscure references to Americana, which you will readily see if you look at the names of their cocktails.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          PhillyBestBYOB RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 22, 2013 09:50 PM

                          It is named after the character.

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