Dimly lit cocktail den Raines Law Room expands their speakeasy-style offerings today, opening their second location inside The William hotel on East 39th Street. The Victorian living room motif continues at the new space, which boasts two rooms for sipping mixologist creations and glasses of wine, both adorned with cozy couches, gauzy curtains and bookshelves stacked with perfectly-weathered novellas. Sherlock Holmes would feel right at home (except for the absence of opium smoke, of course).
Opiates notwithstanding, there are plenty of ways to indulge in other formerly illicit substances; seasonal cocktails include the Pear Of Aces ($14) made with cachaca, spiced pear, cinnamon, lemon and Angostura bitters. More potent offerings include the Vesper ($14), made from gin, Cocci Americano and vodka, which are stirred and served up. Less alcoholic but with additional kick, there's the Garden Paloma ($14), made with blanco tequila, grapefruit, jalapeno agave, lime, club soda, celery bitters and chili salt. Be careful on your way out: there are staircases to manage.
Getting in and out of the new space will be somewhat complex, as visitors will have to navigate their way through subterranean pub The Shakespeare, ascend stairs at the back and emerge in the hotel lobby to access the bar...bypassing the perfectly good staircase that leads from the street directly to the hotel lobby/bar entrance. In addition to the labyrinthine entry method, the fun continues with a Choose Your Own Adventure: Old-Fashioned program, where imbibers are encouraged to select their own bitters, sweeteners and spirits for a DIY bender. Sounds fun, but at $15 a pop, we'll probably be leaving the potion-making to the professionals. When you're ready for round two, summon the staff with the touch of a button; feelings of superiority not included.
24 East 39th Street, enter through The Shakespeare Pub; website. Reservations accepted Mondays and Tuesdays, all other days walk-ins only. Closed Sundays.
RLR at the William Cocktail Menu