Yelping Raines Law Room


Photo courtesy of Jane K., Yelp

When we heard about the opening of the speakeasy-ish bar Raines Law Room (48 West 17th Street), we had to wonder if the city really needed another drinking establishment with poor signage and $15 cocktails. We were not alone.

Yelp reviews of the new joint don’t so much critique the place itself, its drinks and service, but rather question the larger speakeasy trend. Deep, philosophical nightlife questions aside, the place scores well, earning an average of 4 stars across 14 reviews. A few hi-lights after the jump.

Five Stars
“If you’re like me — and god knows you are — you savour namedropping the latest celebs you just saw across the room, you quote Chaucer and Wilde verbatim, and nothing gets your flesh throbbing like sitting in “secretive” dark locales, paying double digs for pizzazzy drinks whipped up by white kids un-self-consciously dressed in garb straight out of the gilded age.

If you’re like me, you’re probably already “so over” Raines Law Room.”

Four Stars
“Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Another speakeasy / unmarked door / cocktail list with $10+ drinks /  gorgeous interior complete with candlelight, privacy and near-perfection in every intimate every corner?  You’re right.  You don’t want to experience this.  You’d rather leave it to me and my friends.  Well, if you insist!  ;-)”

Three Stars
“when the host told us at the door that the only available space was in the kitchen, we didn’t think he meant ‘between the dishwasher and the sink’ – we were thinking more along the lines of ‘in the back, maybe on a stool by a prep area’ – but nope, we were standing in the kitchen with the staff while they did their thing.  They were friendly but it was awkward, luckily a table opened up before we ditched”

Two Stars
“If the NYC nightlife scene were featured in an episode of E.R., the speakeasy trend would have been declared dead on the operating table at least six months ago.  So why do these places keep opening?  

Well, the best I can figure is that at this point, the true cocktail nerds have purchased their Milk & Honey memberships for the nights they want to “go out”, found a great local cocktail bar for low-key nights*, and have put together a decent home bar (because, let’s face it, it just isn’t too hard to make a tasty Manhattan).  That leaves B&T, scenesters, and urban daddy-reading young professionals to fight for line space outside places like this and Little Branch.  And looking around, a lot of the people I saw looked like they’d be much more comfortable in the MPD or the UWS.”

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