In true late 19th-century spirit, Raines Law Room, located in Chelsea, has become the newest edition to New York's speakeasy scene. In the 1890s, Raines Law (where the bar got its name) banned the selling of alcohol on Sundays. A loophole, however, allowed it to be sold in hotels. To take advantage of this, bars began adding bedrooms, calling themselves "Raines law hotels." Though patrons aren't invited to sleep at Raines Law Room, it maintains a residential air as visitors must ring a doorbell to be let in by the host. The carpeted front room with an antique fireplace mantel and tufted armchairs add to the retro theme. However, a panel of wallpaper featuring silhouettes of Gatsbian-esque characters in various poses of merriment looks like it belongs at a mall food court or movie theater lobby. Large booths toward the back of the room have black curtains that guests can pull down for privacy -- this is in addition to the pull chain that alerts your waitress when you're ready for another drink. The booths are fun, but the beautiful tiled kitchen, as it in most homes, is where the real action is. There, fresh juice cocktails, designed by Milk & Honey's Michael McIlroy, are prepared on a marble-topped island. All drinks are $13 -- but be warned, the menu is written in tiny print and almost indecipherable in the dimly lit space. Selections range from staples, such as negronis, to summery concoctions, like rumbles (white rum, lemon, sugar, and blackberries) and gordon's cups (gin, cucumbers, lime, and salt and pepper), which will be perfect during those backyard cocktail parties the bar has planned for when things warm up.
Raines Law Room
48 W. 17th St.