Turn down a dark alley. Find the hidden entrance. Knock secret knock. A slit in the door opens. Suspicious eyes glare out at you. Mumble the password. The door unbolts and you slip inside.
It's easy to romanticize a speakeasy. They are so elicit, so dark and glamorous. But today's speakeasies are better than those of old, because the drinks they serve are made with top shelf liquor, hand squeezed juices, freshly prepared simple syrups and not one drop of barely drinkable bathtub gin. (And you can't get arrested for going to visit one!)
After hearing raves about PDT, but gripes about getting in the door, I hunted through the yelp reviews to find a similar bar. In the end, we settled on The Raines Law Room which was the perfect choice. Reservations by email on a weekday were simple enough to come by, but we were glad we had them when we saw the line up at the door and were able to waltz right through.
Inside, the bar was dimly lit, with Victorian furnishings and heavy wallpaper that proved quite whimsical on closer examination. The brocade depicted a wild bedroom romp in silhouettes, a perfect post modern touch to what could have seemed a little dour. Buttons on the wall could be pressed when service was needed- a nice way to keep service available but not intrusive.
The drinks themselves were excellent. Well mixed, with quality ingredients and a variety of options that were tantalizing but not overwhelming. I love a good champagne cocktail and tried the Spyglass, while my friend Jessica is into bitter drinks and sipped the Swiss Cartel with it's one massive ice cube. (Make your own giant glass sized cubes by freezing water inside muffin tins!) Her boyfriend Kevin tried the La Molinche which tasted smokey as a wood fired grill.
On our way out, we passed the mustachioed & bow tied doorman and stepped back onto the streets of Manhattan feeling refreshed from having enjoyed a little something secret.