Monday, August 24, 2009

NYC: Raines Law Room...Secretive Steampunk Libations

Does anyone miss the speakeasies of yore? In NYC, there certainly has been no shortage of the pseudo-prohibition bars. Raine's Law Room on the other hand, doesn't claim to be a secret pub, but aims to be a civilized cocktail party. Raine's Law, is a reference to the 1896 New York legislation that imposed prohibitively high taxes on the sale of liquor, but provided loopholes for hotels. As a result, many saloons now became 'hotels' with very short stays.

It has a discreet door-buzzer at the lower entrance of an apartment building. Once a smartly dressed gentleman (think vests and sleeve garters! opens the door and leads you into the parlor or back room bar, you can settle comfortably into a brown velvet couch of an organza draped booth or peruse the antique books in the lab-like bar.

The libations are inspired. Try the "Smoke and Mirrors". This one is a combination of 15 year old Scotch, Apricot brandy, Amaro, bitters and a twist of grapefruit. The "Spyglass" is a heady mix of rum, Fee's Orgeat, Cherry Bitters, Champagne and brandied cherry. When you have made your decision, one can summon the server by pulling the chain from the wall.

Etched glass bowls hold seasoned popcorn, the cocktails are created from herbs and fruits from their garden. If you look closely at the Victorian wallpapers of the commode and parlors, you will notice the flowery images are really cavorting naked bodies.

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