Hop Sing Laundromat’s Mysterious Lêe Is No April Fool

Hop Sing Laundromat's entrance
Hop Sing Laundromat’s entrance Photo: Collin Keefe

It’s been more than a year since we first heard rumblings of Hop Sing Laundromat, the cryptic cocktail bar that’s forever been in the works behind an unassuming storefront in Chinatown. And in spite of the fact that every detail from the shoeshine-shop entryway and the bar top finished in five-cent pieces to the king’s ransom of Dom Perignon and top shelf liquor that it stocks, has been leaked, tweeted, blogged and broadcast everywhere, we know little more about it now than we did a year ago. And we certainly don’t have an opening date nailed down. Eater this week reported that it would open tonight. That’s since been changed to “mid April.” Tipsters have been coming out of the woodwork to tell us that April Fools Day will see its debut. But Lêe, the one-name-only man of mystery behind the boozy boondoggle, flat out denies both. “Oh come on, you don’t really believe that stuff, do you?” he told Grub when asked about it. “I have never announced an opening day; I always say ‘When I’m ready’”

“Am I a keeping busy?” he asked rhetorically. “Yes. Yes, I am,” he added, offering only “pretty close” for a possible date.

He opened Hop Sing for several nights recently, testing cocktails for select followers of his Twitter feed. From those trial runs, and the feedback he received from those who participated, he’s drawing up a final cocktail menu, and applying little tweaks to the bar here and there.

“We should be ready shortly,” he said of the drink selections. He added that he will do one final tasting preview, where he will unveil his full canon of house cocktails. But keeping in character, he wouldn’t say when.

Then, seemingly from nowhere he comes back to the April 1 rumors.

“April Fools Day’s actually not a bad idea,” he said. “Who knows? Maybe I’ll play a joke on everyone.”

Hop Sing Laundromat’s Mysterious Lêe Is No April Fool