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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]

References[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]


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401 news items

 
Gothamist
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 ...
 
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 ...

Eater NY

Eater NY
Fri, 03 Oct 2014 12:27:39 -0700

The team behind the plush Chelsea speakeasy Raines Law Room has just announced plans to open a new outpost in The William hotel in Midtown. Head bartender Meaghan Dorman will serve a cocktail menu very similar to the one she offers at the original, ...

The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:41:15 -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 ...

New York Daily News

New York Daily News
Sat, 04 Oct 2014 23:01:58 -0700

A second location of Raines Law Room — Meaghan Dorman's popular Flatiron speakeasy — is opening at The William hotel at 24 E. 39th St. later this month. It will serve craft cocktails similar to those at the original location, with more of an emphasis ...
 
The Epoch Times
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 07:03:45 -0700

A rescue worker uses a chain saw as the search for survivors continues in the rubble of a collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday Sept. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba) ...
 
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Mon, 22 Sep 2014 07:15:00 -0700

What I truly yearn for when it comes to seafood, though, is Japanese food. Considering that fish really makes up the foundation of this cuisine, the potential for even a canned alternative is nearly limitless. Sushi would have been the obvious (albeit ...
 
The Epoch Times
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:17:11 -0700

Dancing With The Stars season 19 is set for week 2 this Monday and Tuesday, and the teams have been working hard on their dances. Only one team has been eliminated so far–Lolo Jones and Keo Motsepe–with the rest inspired to do even better this week ...
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