Skip to content

Raines Law Room

2009 August 20
by Iheartnycbars

lAnother speakeasy impersonation; this one is named after a 1896 law, which among other provisions, prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday—except in hotels. Most men worked a six-day week, and Sunday was the only full day for drinking at saloons. NY State statutes allowed any business to be considered a hotel, if it had 10 rooms for lodging and served sandwiches with its liquor. Saloons quickly found a loophole by adding small furnished bedrooms and applying for a hotel license. Dozens of “Raines law hotels,” often located directly above saloons, opened. This led to the transformation of saloons into hotels, which in turn led to an increase in prostitution.

As for this bar, they really go all the way, from the unmarked entrance and doorbell you have to ring to get in, to the very well done 1920’s looking interior complete with the obligatory tin ceiling. There are no beds, but some tables have velvet couches and black gauze curtains: each comes equipped with a wall buzzer to call your waitress, There is a small garden in back. The weekends can get busy, so this place is better visited during the week. The cocktail list comes from a former Milk & Honey bartender.

Cocktail: Archangel: gin, aperol, and cucumber

Hours: Mon-Thu, 5pm-2am; Fri, 5pm-4am; Sat, 8pm-4am; Sun, 8pm-2am

48 W. 17th St. , nr. Fifth Ave., NY 10011