48 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011
phone n/a

Let me preface this post with two statements. First, I love speakeasy-style cocktail lounges and get downright giddy at the prospect of being able to go to one. Second, I don't plan to return to Raines Law Room. Hard to believe, I know, but this bar really managed to piss me and Bro off. Interestingly, I was warned away from going by a fellow blogger. But did I listen to her? No. Why? Because I'm stubborn.

Raines Law Room should be the perfect speakeasy. Below street level on West 17th Street, behind a door with no signage, lies a velvet lined living room of sorts, where patrons sit not at regular tables but on sofas and chairs, candles aglow, waitresses only coming when you press a buzzer to request them. Beyond the living room is the kitchen, the space provided for the bartenders to shake and stir and concoct.

When I arrived, I was told by the host that there was an hour long wait, but that he'd take my phone number and call me. This was to be expected. It happens at just about every place like this. So, I gave him my number and he told me to pick up when a blocked phone rings me. I met Bro, we grabbed some terrible pizza at Vapiano, and waited. And waited. And waited. When two hours passed with no word from the bar, we walked over and buzzed the door. With a guilty look on his face, the host sheepishly let us in, told us that when the next seats in the living room opened he'd give them to us, and pointed us towards the kitchen, where he said we could wait. And wait some more we did. Two more hours passed and Bro and I slugged our way through a handful of drinks, on our feet the entire time, watching people who arrived after we did get seated while we leaned on the wall. Maybe we looked too young? Raines Law Room clearly caters to a decidedly older clientele. Gray hair, sweater vests, and botox treatments were everywhere.

This had not shaped up to be a fun night.

What made it worse was that the drinks weren't even that remarkable. They started off fine, me ordering a Southside Gin Rickey (gin, lime, sugar, mint and club soda) and Bro ordering a Sleepyhead (Applejack, lemon and lime juice, ginger and club soda), but went downhill from there on. These were sweet, had some depth of flavor, and dare I say it, tasted good. The Peat and Rose, made from Scotch, Applejack and Grenadine was only just okay, while the American Trilogy (brandy, rye and bitters) was like drinking gasoline. Finally, I tried the Philadelphia Story (Scotch, St. Germaine and grapefruit bitters) and was also none too thrilled. It's entirely possible that it wasn't the drinks' fault (certainly the bartenders were extremely nice) and that we were just POed at having been forgotten about (or maybe ignored?) by the host twice and having to stand the whole time. But still, what happened happened and if it happened to me, there's no reason to think it doesn't happen to others, too.

It's a real shame because I really really wanted to like Raines Law Room.

The drinks that we tried were all $15 each including tip. But they have more than a few that cost far more.

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