Friday, August 7, 2009

Review of The Raines Law Room - (A NYC Speakeasy)

Sometimes the best way to get to know your town is to let your out of town guests show you around.......Ok, this requires an explanation!

Our friend, we'll call him Mr. San Diego (aka Rob), was in town for work and wanted to grab some drinks and a bite. We suggested some of our favorite neighborhood haunts, but San Diego had a better idea.

San Diego, originally from New York, is definitely one of our "foodie" friends. We have known San Diego for 7-8 years and every time we see him (and his girlfriend) the main event is consuming copious amounts of good food and wine! What's not to love - as we said in our profile, we only want to be friends with people who get their eat and drink on!

San Diego suggested maybe we meet for a drink at a NY speakeasy called Raines Law Room (Flatiron). Naturally, we were intrigued by the idea - a speakeasy -- so a little taste of the old world Prohibition years, good booz, good company with a funky name, we signed right up!

For you history buffs: The menu explained the name: "The Raines law was passed on March 23, 1896, by the New York State Legislature. It was nominally a liquor tax, but its intention was to curb the consumption of alcohol by imposing regulations."

The Review!
Raines is located in the Flatiron area of NYC. It takes you back to the days of prohibition, residing at the bottom of the stairs under and unmarked black awning. To get in you have to ring a doorbell and are greeted by a young, uber hip 20 something, who coyly peers out at you and tells you it'll be a minute, then shuts the door. When she opens the door back up, we tell her we are "meeting someone inside," and with that, we were ushered into the dark, swanky speakeasy.

San Diego was sitting at the table waiting for us. The chairs were covered in velvet, the walls dark, lights dim, and a doorbell (seen above) is on the wall next to me - this is how you get the waitress attention to order a drink. The ceiling is covered with antique looking shiny silver tiles and there are dark throw rugs all over the floor. There is a cute and "homey" patio out back, but if you want to be transported in time, stay inside & enjoy the hipster, old world vibe.

My husband and San Diego get a couple of special "gold rush" drinks, served "down" (meaning, on the rocks), and I get some frisky champagne concoction in a fabulously vintage glass (all above).

The drinks were tasty, but pretty small for what you get. After quickly polishing off my Champagne number, I volunteered to "help" my husband finish his second gold rush (not sure he appreciated that!)

I had read stories about the sexually explicit wall paper in the bathrooms, and while they definitely had a kamasutra vibe, they weren't nearly as obscene as what I expected.

What I loved the most was the converted "kitchen." When you make your way through the lounge area toward the patio / or restrooms, you walk through what at first glance looks like it could be some person's swanky kitchen. But there are no stoves, or oven, instead just a boozers version of heaven with every possibly option organized ever so stylishly.

Overall, Raines gets an A, and we would definitely go back. The only down side is that the drinks are pretty pricey considering they are not ample with the pour. Probably the best idea is to stop in for a cocktail on your way some place, or after dinner could be the perfect finishing touch on a night out. If you are on a date and you want to impress - this is a must do.

Neighborhood: Flatiron
48 West 17th St
(between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
New York, NY 10011

Long live drinking a fabulous cocktail out of a vintage glass while sitting on velvet, we could get used to this.

The Wilsons
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  1. Sounds really swanky.. I love the way you describe the ambiance of the place. I really want to go there!

  2. This might be a dumb question, but are you guys NYers or are you visiting the city? I ask because there is a great possibility my boyfriend Pete and I will be moving to the city in 2010 sometime, so it's be great to already have foodie friends to connect with. Oh, and I can't wait to see your stuffed red peppers-hooray! :D

  3. Hi Pizza Cutta! Sorry it took me awhile to reply! We are California natives but have been living in NYC for the past 2 years! When are you moving here??? Would love to get together so please keep us posted so we can chow down!



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