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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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4 news items

Wall Street Journal

Village Voice (blog)
Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:07:30 -0700

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Florida Today
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:10:26 -0700

First, we ducked out of the rain into an unmarked doorway to visit Raines Law Room, where the atmosphere is plushly dim and the beverages are complex and potent. To get into Please Don't Tell, we ventured into a tiny East Village hot dog shop, covertly ...


Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:11:15 -0700

欧珑的创始人Sylvie Ganter不久前回到纽约,旧地重游来到她经常去的这家小有名气的鸡尾酒吧《The Raines Law Room》,那里的法国75号鸡尾酒给这个纽约外来客带来如此美妙的灵感。欧珑“醉心柠香”精醇古龙香水是专为柠 ...


Wed, 20 Aug 2014 00:52:30 -0700

纽约的The Raines Law Room 特卖一种法国75号鸡尾酒,这杯酒给了调香师Sylvie Ganter灵感,他由此调出了欧珑醉心柠香精醇古龙水,特别献给金酒爱好者。Lubin 也用Gin Fizz 命名了一款以金酒调制的鸡尾酒为灵感的香水 ...

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