Is there a Philly barman more eccentric yet talented than the singularly-named Lêe, the cufflinked, outspoken owner of Chinatown's Hop Sing Laundromat?
True, the pre-opening hype, paired with the doorman's "holding room" lecture on the, ahem, laundry list of rules (no tennis shoes, no photos), leaves some cocktailians cool.
But once inside the low-lit room, with its nickel-plated bar and well-spaced tables, Hop Sing's virtues are undeniable. The top-shelf liquor collection is awesome (100 bourbons; 65 gins) and the quality of well spirits (Bulleit rye; El Dorado 21 rum; Glenlivet 15) defies the $10 per cocktail price. But it's the wizardry of the drinks that caught my eye. Coffee and gin? Turns out they're the cornerstones of one of Lêe's masterworks, the "Nevermore," a beguiling brew of Vietnamese coffee, Smooth Ambler gin, Patron Citrónge, and a frothy float of rich cream.