There is much mystery surrounding Hop Sing Laundromat, an intimate take on the secret speakeasy. No sign marks the entrance, on Race Street in Philly's Chinatown, only a locked gate and a doorbell. This craft cocktail lounge is brimming with dark atmosphere, wonderful music, and a menu of mind-bendingly creative libations. My drink of choice is the Hotel Nacional, a tropical tribute to the legendary hotel in Havana. Mixed with 15-year special reserve rum, apricot liqueur, fresh pineapple juice, and more, its sublime deliciousness quickly erases the list of ingredients from memory. Drinks range from $12 to $14, and some of the other creative concoctions include the Hemingway Daiquiri, Philly Colada, General Tso’s Chocolate Shake, Memphis Mystery Train, and Captain Kirk. This is not just a bar, it’s an experience, and worthwhile to sit at the bar and watch the talented bartenders in action.
Key details to know in advance: bring ID and cash (no credit cards), and dress presentably (the dress code prohibits flip flops, sandals, sneakers, shorts, hats). Don’t arrive hungry, since no food or snacks are served. And be warned: the house rules do not allow chatting on cell phones or taking pictures. Those who violate the dress code will be turned away at the door and those who don’t follow the rules will be asked to leave. Good to know the rules in advance, because this is an experience that shouldn't be missed. Open 5 pm to 2 am.