Raines Law Room, NYC

Of late, there has been an unfortunate trend toward those eras of history that – as current members of society – we don’t necessarily want to repeat. The Great Depression – the dirty 30’s – is the obvious period of the past which is hauntingly circulating in our present. But the roaring 20’s are concurrently making their own comeback; that is, in the form of speakeasies, surreptitiously popping up in the back pockets of Manhattan.

For those of us unfamiliar with the term speakeasy; it is a drinking spot — particularly one in the prohibition era — that the in-the-knows could not be loose-lipped about because if they were to “speak easy,” they would likely be arrested. These fraudulently prohibited spots, like Milk and Honey which has recently made news for accidentally revealing its phone number, are ironically the hottest thing in the bar scene these days.

The latest legal bar -– that is posturing as an illegal bar –- to open up is Raines Law Room. The otherwise clandestine spot is demarcated only by the brass placard which sits quietly on the door. Despite the fact that the spot is meant to be a well kept, underground secret (it has no phone number), patrons are always met with a significant queue when they attempt to venture there. The small, velvety, drawing room atmosphere cannot accommodate any added bodies, so if one decides to wait for over-priced, fake verboten alcohol, s/he is banished by the host to wait at the above-board café next door.

This Victorian-inspired, spirits’ salon might be semi-public knowledge, but the plush drawing-room design of the space itself allows for utter privacy – the curtained booths are even equipped with chain buzzers, so staff will not interrupt unless otherwise beckoned by the metal string.

Apparently people are willing to pay a pretty penny for alcohol served in an ornate antechamber that seems illicit. What might help the pricey allure of the joint is the fact that the moonshine concoctions of Raines’s in-house mixologist — who apparently slid out of the secret watering hole, Milk and Honey, to start Raines — are purportedly liquid perfection. The menu’s modern twist (price and otherwise) on prohibitory potables includes such gems as the Archangel — a mixture of gin, aperol, and cucumber, or the muddled blackberry bourbon cocktail. Booze is definitely not budget here and most drinks will run over $10 a pop. Speaking of pop… Rumour has it that Raine’s secret recipe for popcorn involves some substances that might actually put them at odds with the law, maybe that’s really where they get their name.

Address: 48 W 17th Street, New York
Contact: No Phone
Area: Chelsea
Venue: Bar, Lounge
Price Range: $$$ (Within Reach)

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