Hop Sing Laundromat, the candlelit speakeasy-style cocktail bar in Chinatown with a mysterious air and strict rules for entry, is run by Lê, who stokes curiosity by refusing to have his photo taken and posting on social media about the aspiring patrons he turns away. Lately Lê has been branching out, designing the cocktail menus for other venues, like the newly revamped Rouge on Rittenhouse Square. And now he’s heading to another Center City spot: Lê is taking over the bar at Vesper Sporting Club, the nightclub on alley street Sydenham, between 15th and 16th streets, between Walnut and Locust.
Vesper has seen a few incarnations over the years. According to the club, the original version opened more than a century ago and was a hub for the city’s movers and shakers. New owners took it over in 2017 and moved it to its current location. They also run Vesper Day Club, an adults-only, members-only, see-and-be-seen pool club in Northern Liberties.
There are big-screen TVs for watching games at Vesper in Center City, but it’s known as a late-night spot for drinking and dancing that doesn’t get going until after 10 p.m.
Lê says Vesper does all its business on Friday and Saturday nights, from around 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. The bar he’s overseeing at the venue — which will be a regular bar, not a speakeasy — will focus on the other nights. He says the drink prices will be some of the cheapest in the neighborhood, jokingly adding that since taxes are high in the area, people need to save money on cocktails.
Lê announced the new venture Wednesday night at a party at Hop Sing celebrating the bar’s seventh anniversary. He’s also still working on an upcoming banh mi shop.