Located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, this intimate jazz-age inspired speakeasy is worth the wait! Reservations for this New York City Secret Bar can be made Sunday through Tuesday nights only. Our first trip to Raines was on a cold Saturday night in December around 9pm. We checked in, were told they were full and that the wait could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. We gave them our number and decided we had to wait to see what was inside. We waited outside in the cold (inconspicuously of course) for over an hour before they text us to come back having made room for our party of four. You only have 15 minutes to claim your seats when they text you so we didn’t dare go far.
The entrance is elegant, discreet, and only distinguishable from a residence door by the black wind breaker enclosure you must first enter. A few steps down, you are led to a black and blank door, but on the wall a bronze sign reads “Raines Law Room, Please ring the bell, someone will attend you.” This is not an open establishment that you can just wander in, even with a reservation, everyone must ring the bell.
Once rang, an assistant will step out of the doorway and ask your name and number in your party. Note that parties larger than 6 must reserve a private room in advance. This is a small place, and its limited availability is part of the charm.
Once you return with your confirmation text in hand will you finally be led into the coat room—the entrance to the bar! We were lucky on our last trip, we visited on a Sunday night (with no reservation) and were led right in, but were glad we had to wait the first year to up the ante for the big reveal.
When you finally make it into the establishment and they are still waiting for a seat to open up, they will lead you all the way through to the back kitchen to order drinks. This is what happened on our first trip when it was a packed house. And “kitchen” is used lightly as they do not serve any food, this is a common theme among secret bars. On your walk through you see that this is a very comfortable place.
Every seat is a couch or extra cushioned chair, and some couches are even hidden within curtain drapes for more privacy. Once a spot opens up the attendant will grab you from the kitchen and get you settled in for the coziest of speakeasy nights.
This is certainly one of the most intimate, very romantic, dimly lit hideaways we’ve ever been to. And it is quite the contrast from the bustling NYC outside. Though you may have had to wait a while to gain entrance, once inside Raines there is no rush. Sip your $17 cocktail slowly and revel in the ambiance of the elegant gem you’ve found. Enjoy the company you keep on a lavish couch while appreciating the decadent service of this secret law room.
The most unique aspect to Raines is how to order from your cozy little niche. Located on the wall with every sitting area is a pull chain, pull it once and a light comes on in the kitchen illuminating which couch needs attendance. It truly feels like royalty, and it adds an air of high society in such a laid back atmosphere.
The cocktails are well crafted, offering a full menu of drinks and even a list of seasonal specialties. On our most recent trip we ordered a drink off the “Eve of Autumn” seasonal menu, it was called “After all Royale” and it was superb! The cocktail was comprised of apple brandy, lemon, peach liqueur, and champagne. The bartenders are true craftsmen who balance their drinks according to taste, style, and personal preference.
Raines is a part of the Yves Jodot Restaurant Group, who also manage a few other secret establishments we will review soon here on Hidden Libations. But keep in mind, YJR has a second bar to Raines, called Raines Law Room at the William, and we have not been to that location.
Overall, Raines Law Room remains one of our favorite speakeasies due to intimacy, elegance, and difficulty to get in. So whether you are new to the Speakeasy scene, or an avid hunter of secret places like ourselves, you will never be disappoint in Raines.
Your Loyal PLIs (visited Dec. 2017 & Oct. 2018)