I’ve long heard how great Raines Law Room is. I heard how cozy the booths were and how well the mixologists could make a drink. But I didn’t feel like going to the speakeasy only to be put on a long waiting list so I allowed the years to pass by. But when Rebekah and I got out of a movie at 6:15 on Saturday evening, we thought we may have timed it perfectly. Indeed, after ringing the doorbell and waiting for the hostess we found out it would only be about 30 minutes for a table. We walked to a bar across the street to wait it out and after only about 15 minutes, we received a text that our table was ready.
First of all, I love the idea of ringing a doorbell at an old townhouse in order to go to a bar. It makes me feel very cool. The door policy may have seemed silly, but once inside I loved the feeling of NOT being cramped. Each group gets their own u-shaped booth area. You can close the sheer curtains if you’d like a bit more privacy, but the whole place is dark and spread out so you’ll never feel like people are creeping up on you. Need something? Pull a chain and someone will soon be over to help you. Since there are only a few booths, you won’t have to wait long. It’s all very civilized. It’s also all very 1920s without feeling cheesy – and I LOVE the 20s.
I started with the Sweater Weather cocktail, because 1) it was made with whiskey and 2) it was, indeed, sweater weather. It was a very tasty cocktail. Nice and balanced. I also tried Rebekah’s Pair of Aces and Alex’s Ol’ Pepper. Again, great drinks. I actually really liked the pepper flavor of Alex’s cocktail – the strong spice is probably a bit polarizing, but I was digging it. After a cocktail, I switched to a glass of wine and sat back to enjoy the setting. So much room!
If you plan to be hungry, make sure you go with a dinner plan in mind. They only have one food item on the menu: a trio of salami, olives, and aged gouda. It was good but not enough to fill you up. There’s little cell phone service in the subterranean bar so choose your dinner spot in advance and then enjoy the fact that you’ll have to talk to each other instead of looking at your phones.
Finally, make sure you check out the bathroom. Note: this is always my Mom’s favorite thing to do at a bar or restaurant. She would have been titillated to see that upon closer inspection, the floral wallpaper actually features couples in various sexual positions. Oh my! It’s also just a cute bathroom with a vanity (great for draping your coat or bag) and a cute method of paper towel storage inside a framed nook filled with vintage photographs.
If you’re able to time it right like we did, Raines Law Room makes for a lovely, civilized cocktail outing. If you’re not sure you would be so lucky, try going on an off night (Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday) when they allow you to make reservations. It’s a great place to bring parents since everyone can be comfortable on those large velvet couches. Unlike other speakeasys in the city, this one doesn’t turn into a rowdy dance party.