This Lower East Side Boutique Just Opened an Underground Mahjong Room

Chop Suey Club welcomes players of all levels to its new mahjong room.

Mahjong room at Chop Suey Club
Mahjong room at Chop Suey Club | Photo courtesy of Chop Suey Club
Mahjong room at Chop Suey Club | Photo courtesy of Chop Suey Club

This week, Chop Suey Club—a bespoke boutique on the Lower East Side that specializes in contemporary Chinese-designed art, apparel, and accessories—soft opened its own in-store mahjong room.

Beijing-born owner of Chop Suey Club, Ruoyi Jiang, was inspired to open the gameplay space after learning to play during the first post-pandemic summer. “I didn’t grow up playing mahjong, but one of my staff taught me and then we started playing outside the store,” says Jiang. “People passing on the street would stop and ask us, ‘How do I learn?” or ‘I used to play, how do I find people to play with now?’’

Chop Suey Club decided to get in on the mahjong resurgence that’s currently happening in NYC by first partnering with the Ace Hotel New York in NoMad for mahjong pop-ups. After an overwhelmingly positive response from participants, Jiang decided to continue with the pop-ups, but also expand the concept with an on-site iteration at her store.

Still in its soft opening phase, reservations can now be made for Chop Suey Club’s subterranean private space. Designed in what Jiang describes as a “retro futurist-style,” the room currently contains two mahjong tables (four players per table), a karaoke machine, and lounge seating. Players are welcome to BYOB and there is no additional corkage fee.

Reservations start at $50 per table and are based on experience. Newbies or those who consider themselves a bit rusty on their Chinese-style mahjong can opt for a teaching/refresher hour (led by Chop Suey Club employees) followed by an hour or two of gameplay. Skilled players can skip the tutorial and just choose a gameplay time slot. Larger parties can rent out the whole room.

In the near future, Chop Suey Club is looking forward to speeding up gameplay by adding an automatic table to the room, which shuffles and arranges the tiles for players. For Jiang, the most inspiring part of the new mahjong room is the community. “I’m curious to see who will become regulars and to create opportunities for people to meet each other,” says Jiang. “We’re looking to set up programming where people can invite others from different groups to play, host, and teach different rules—like, let’s say, Japanese mahjong.”

Chop Suey Club’s mahjong room is now in its soft opening phase at 81 Hester Street. Reservations are available online.

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Izzy Baskette is the New York City Staff Writer for Thrillist. Talk to her at izzy.baskette@voxmedia.com or find her on Instagram.