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The Raines law was passed on March 23, 1896, by the New York State Legislature. It was nominally a liquor tax, but its intention was to curb the consumption of alcohol by imposing regulations.

Among other provisions, it prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday except in hotels. Most men worked a six-day week, and Sunday was the only full day for drinking at saloons. Under the law, however, hotels were allowed to serve liquor on Sunday, to guests only, if it was served during a meal or in the bedrooms of the hotel.[1] State statutes allowed that any business was considered a hotel if it had 10 rooms for lodging and served sandwiches with its liquor. Saloons quickly found a loophole by adding small furnished bedrooms and applying for a hotel license. Dozens of "Raines law hotels," often located directly above saloons,[2] opened.

As a contemporary source put it, "This offered a premium on the transformation of saloons into hotels with bedrooms and led to unlooked-for evils"[3] (an increase in prostitution), as the rooms in many "Raines law hotels" were used mostly by prostitutes and unmarried couples. (In some cases these rooms may not even have been available at all; in a 1917 novel, the protagonist sees "a Raines Law hotel with awnings, indicating that it was not merely a blind to give a saloon a hotel license but was actually open for business."[4])

Jacob Riis wrote in 1902 of saloon keepers who mocked the law by setting out "brick sandwiches," two pieces of bread with a brick in between, thus fulfilling the legal requirement of serving food. He also writes of altercation in a saloon where a customer attempted to eat a sandwich that the bartender had served just for show; "the police restored the sandwich to the bartender and made no arrests."[5]

Such a shabby bar serves as the 1912 setting of the classic play The Iceman Cometh, by Eugene O'Neill.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Reprising Our Niederstein’s Story, Now That It Is A Thing Of The Past". The Times Newsweekly (Ridgewood, NY). 2005-02-10. Archived from the original on 2006-06-25. Retrieved 2006-11-20. 
  2. ^ Richardson, Dorothy (1905). The Long Day: The Story of a New York Working Girl. The Century Company. , p. 33, "I made my first inventory of that block of Fourteenth Street where I lived. On each corner stood a gaudy saloon, surmounted by a Raines law hotel."
  3. ^ Smith, Ray Burdick (1922). Political and Governmental History of the State of New York. Syracuse Press. p. 25
  4. ^ Phillip, David Graham (1917). Susan Lenox: Her Fall And Rise. New York: D. Appleton And Co. , Project Gutenberg eText #450
  5. ^ Riis, Jacob A. (1902). The Battle with the Slum. Macmillan. , p. 224

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raines_law — Please support Wikipedia.
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169 news items


Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:05:53 -0700

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 ...
Eater NY
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:07:30 -0700

There will also be a silent auction. MIDTOWN — The Peacock has brought back brunch in the form of Endless Punch Brunch with drinks from Raines Law Room. Enjoy the $45 per person prix fixe menu every Saturday and Sunday starting tomorrow, April 18.
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:26:15 -0700

Midtown restaurant The Peacock, located inside a townhouse building on East 39th Street, partners with their building neighbor Raines Law Room for an Endless Punch Brunch beginning this weekend. The $45 prix fixe menu includes one entree—think ...

Village Voice (blog)

Village Voice (blog)
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 05:09:05 -0700

Meaghan Dorman of the Raines Law Room is providing the recipe, and three of her punches are available for the $45 offer. Reservations can be made by contacting the restaurant. Taste of Nebraska, Hudson Station, 440 Ninth Avenue, Saturday, 1 p.m..
Village Voice (blog)
Fri, 03 Oct 2014 09:07:30 -0700

Before the 18th Amendment was ratified, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States, other measures limited where alcohol could be consumed, including the Raines Law, which stipulated that boozing be confined to hotels. Nearly ...

The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 06:09:08 -0700

Join “#WHIN & DINE” in celebrating Washington Heights and Inwood's dining week–Upper Manhattan's very own take on Restaurant Week. More than two dozen restaurants will be offering three course prix fixe dinners for $26.95. Participating restaurants ...
Broadway World
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 00:48:58 -0700

Travis has also worked under Meaghan Doorman at Raines Law Room in Chelsea and at Tales of the Cocktail in the Apprentice Program in 2014. Currently, Travis continues to bartend at Clover Club and is the Brand Consultant for Yaguara Cachaça.

The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:49:59 -0700

Raines Law Room has opened a second location at The William in Midtown East. The new outpost from Yves Jadot and Alberto Benenati will reflect the elegant design of the original location in Chelsea, inspired by the opulent European homes of the 19th ...

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