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Restaurant Restrooms


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#1 Varmint

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:40 AM

It happened again the other night: I'm sitting at the dinner table when someone came back to the table commenting on the restaurant's WC. In this case, the person mentioned how close the three urinals were (and they were very close together!).

Before someone throws me a potshot line about how eGullet has gone down the toilet, I want to tell you why I brought up this thread in the first place. My nomination for most frustrating restroom is the one at WD-50 in New York. You walk down a set of stairs and start looking. There's no signs. You look into a short hall, and there are some very nice sinks and a lovely, light-colored wood wall. You continue your quest. You open doors, to find a storage area. I get frustrated, and my bladder is starting to scream. I then look closely at that wood wall. Yes, there are tiny cracks. You push on the wall, and voila!, the wall moves. Yes, there are actually 3 doors -- without knobs or noticeable hinges -- that open to the facilities. I still shake my head today about those lavoratories.

So, where are your memorable restaurant restrooms, good or bad?
Dean McCord
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#2 tryska

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:42 AM

i believe every Indian restaurant should have a full row of sinks for handwashing, even if there is only one toilet stall.

#3 davidthomas8779

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:43 AM

Because Southerners don't get enough grief, our standardbearer has to complain about how confusing this new-fangled indoor plumbing is.

;)

Edited by davidthomas8779, 30 August 2004 - 11:43 AM.


#4 FaustianBargain

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:49 AM

i believe every Indian restaurant should have a full row of sinks for handwashing, even if there is only one toilet stall.

i think you have to obtain a special permit to have the handwash area outside the restrooms...at least in california...i'd love to hear the owner explaining the concept to the building inspector.. :biggrin:

#5 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:55 AM

Because Southerners don't get enough grief, our standardbearer has to complain about how confusing this new-fangled indoor plumbing is.

;)

:shock: :raz: :laugh:
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#6 Varmint

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 12:05 PM

Hey, I just did a Google search on this, and a review in the New Yorker also bitched and moaned about their bathrooms:
http://www.newyorker...ota_GOAT_tables

The reviewer stated that finding the bathroom was

a Mensa-test experience so disconcerting that one diner wound up down the hall in a storeroom

.
Dean McCord
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#7 tryska

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 12:17 PM

was that you varmint?

#8 carp

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:23 PM

Although I definitely appreciate a nice lavatory, I wish restaurants would, at the very least, concentrate on providing diners with the bare minimum at all times: running water, paper towels, and soap. As someone who likes to wash their hands before eating, this is usually all I am looking for in a restaurant bathroom... everything else is gravy.

#9 mjr_inthegardens

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:31 PM

It is a little annoying when dining at a $50 a head establishment in NYC to have to use Chinatown equivalent bathrooms.

Duane Park Cafe is a good example of this. Going to the loo distinctly feels like leaving the first world for the third.

-Mjr
�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

#10 winesonoma

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:16 PM

Although I definitely appreciate a nice lavatory, I wish restaurants would, at the very least, concentrate on providing diners with the bare minimum at all times: running water, paper towels, and soap. As someone who likes to wash their hands before eating, this is usually all I am looking for in a restaurant bathroom... everything else is gravy.

Restroom design should be taught to all that own them. When I wash my hands I want a way to dry them and then open the door with said paper towel so I don't get your door handle on my clean hands. Cover your wastebasket and it's towel on the floor. Put it far away from the door; well I never could play basketball. :biggrin:
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#11 therese

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:28 PM

One of my favorites is in Atlanta, at Joel's. Very stylish place, very stylish loos.

Turning on the water at the tap requires either being a certain distance away or waving your hand under the faucet or perhaps an act of God (most people try some combination of these, so nobody really knows what works---a controlled study is necessary, and I may just do one the next time I'm there).

Water then spills from a sort of waterfall apparatus onto a shallow platform sort of thing that frankly looks like it would be just perfect in an abattoir. Water hits the surface with such force that it splashes out onto your dress.

You can tell who has and who hasn't dined at Joel's previously by how near they dare stand to the sink.
Can you pee in the ocean?

#12 marlena spieler

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:33 PM

my two favourite restaurant loos:

public restaurant in nyc, nice and be sure to take a few of their wrapped soaps for later, they also function as business cards.

the tiny loo in a parisian bistro, le baracane. the toilet comes alive, wrapping itself in a flash of fasticidiousness after you flush. similar to the toilets in the chicago airport, i think american airlines terminal but not sure.

as for ones to avoid, well the holes in the floor are always a turn off though thankfully there are so many fewer these days.

also, creaky, steep, stairs that lead down to a smelly dungeon. don't like that.

and toilet paper. running water. i second the affirmations on this being very important. oh, and toilet seats, man, i hate when a place doesn't have a toilet seat.


oh yeah another pleasant toilet is at san franciscos jaunty's at jacks, because of the lively french music piped into the bathrooms. you come out feeling so perky with the music running through your ears......nice.

marlena .
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#13 ghostrider

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 03:20 PM

There's a restaurant - wish I could remember which one - somewhere in the West Village in NYC, where the man/woman iconic figures, which are the only identifying signs on the doors, are so similar, I had to look at them 4 times each before I was confident enough that I'd found the men's.

Come to think of it, this scheme is pretty appropriate for the West Village.
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#14 Maison Rustique

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 04:48 PM

If I go into a restaurant and visit the restroom first only to find it dirty with no hot water, soap, etc. I promptly let the manager know that I am no longer interested in eating there. Where do the employees wash their hands? :blink:
Deb
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#15 maggiethecat

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:12 PM

The loveliest restaurant bathroom I've visited in the last few years is the one at the splendid Le Baccara in Hull, Quebec. As gorgeous as a spa, marble, orchids and stalls roughly the size of my living room -- or that's how it seems in retrospect. A paper towel wouldn't have dare show its leathery face in there.

Worst? Too big a field to choose from. My hope is that it won't be any worse than the ones I've left at home.

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#16 Gifted Gourmet

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:28 PM

extremely humorous article on restaurant restrooms :laugh:

A brief San Francisco restaurant excerpt:

You'd never guess it from such a modest restaurant, but the bathroom at Home is super impressive. As you enter the spacious unisex bathroom, you feel instantly at peace. Is it the handsome lighting, or the pleasant odor? Is it the charming candles, or the gorgeous wall-length mirror. Or maybe it's the endless stream of free-range toilet paper?


free-range toilet paper?! :laugh:
Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"


#17 Al_Dente

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:31 PM

A restaurant here in DC that has since been renovated used to have urinals that were about 4 ft off the ground. Approximately anyway. I think you'd have to be 8 feet tall to use one properly, or extremely... gifted, shall we say. Basically, you'd have to stand back, aim upwards, and hope for the best.
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#18 skyflyer3

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:01 PM

There are a couple of restaurant bathrooms here in Seattle that just plain freak me out.

1) At Tini Bigs - the bathrooms are painted a deep, wet blood red, and dimly lit, so it seems like something could be crouching in the corner, covered in blood. Just what I want to see after I eat a hamburger.

2) At Dilettante's - the stalls inside the bathrooms have full-length mirrors, placed less than half a foot in front of you on the doors. I kid you not. Obviously, patrons complained enough to the staff about the lack of mirror space in the bathrooms that they now offer you the benefit of fixing your hair while you're on the loo. Gotta love it.

#19 Blondie

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:40 PM

The bathrooms at Bar 89 in Soho have a substantial amount of freak-out potential. I knew what to expect when I saw them for the first time (in fact that was the reason for my visit – I was researching the material). The doors are panels of LC (liquid crystal) glass. They appear clear but turn opaque when you shut the door.
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#20 hillvalley

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 09:47 PM

When I was about 7 or 8 a friend's much older sister took us out for dinner in Chinatown. After leaving us alone at the table to go to the bathroom (we felt very grown up) she walked back to the table picked up our coats and Told us we were leaving.

On our way out she gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. She said "Girls, If you don't want to pee in their bathroom then you definitely don't want to eat from their kitchen."
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#21 Pan

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 02:32 AM

There's a restaurant - wish I could remember which one - somewhere in the West Village in NYC, where the man/woman iconic figures, which are the only identifying signs on the doors, are so similar, I had to look at them 4 times each before I was confident enough that I'd found the men's.

I went to an upscale pearl tea house in Shanghai. At a certain point, I asked where the toilet was, and walked in the direction I was point in, all the way to the wall. It turned out that the icon for "men's" was a pipe. I had assumed that door led to a smoking lounge, not a place I'd want to go to. The icon for "women's" was a high-heeled shoe. No characters or other indications were on either door.

#22 alexhills

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 02:47 AM

buseba eathai in london has a unfinished gap in the wall under the sinks in the men's bathroom that leads goodness knows where, in what is otherwise a rather stylishly designed place. my parents were just in a restaurant in mexico where there were tvs advertizing, amongst onther things, lincoln town cars, above the urinals....

#23 gariotin

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 05:46 AM

I took some clients out to Mantra, a hot stylish fusian-Indian place in downtown Boston. One of the guys went down to the men's room and came back red-faced and laughing hysterically. He had been peeing into what he thought was the urinal in the very trendy, metallic bathroom. He commented to the guy next to him how wild the bathroom was and was surprised when the guy gave him a disgusted look. When he was finished, he went to the next area to wash his hands and only then realized he had been peeing in the sink! Of course we were all so amused by this story that we all had to check out the men's room at some point in the evening and all agreed he probably was not the first one that had made that mistake!

#24 GG Mora

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 07:01 AM

There's a humble little restaurant that opened in our town last spring – no great shakes, but the food is reliably fresh, good, and reasonably priced. They have two, single unisex restrooms (as in you use whichever is free) and in each is a stray light switch with a sort of cage over it and a small sign above that reads "If this restroom needs our attention, please flip this switch on." The switches activate a light in the kitchen, & if the light goes on, one of the staff is dispatched to do some tidying up or replace toilet paper or soap or whatever. I think it's a wonderfully ingenious solution...and it works.

#25 StudentChefEclipse

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 07:07 AM

If I go into a restaurant and visit the restroom first only to find it dirty with no hot water, soap, etc. I promptly let the manager know that I am no longer interested in eating there. Where do the employees wash their hands? :blink:

And there you have it... I feel that if management cannot maintain a clean restroom, they are probably unable to maintain a kitchen clean enough to earn my money.

Our academic achievement group arranged several tours of fine-dining establishments around the area, and I found this to be the case. In every place where I thought the kitchen was not up to standards, I also discovered a restroom that was, to put it mildly, disheveled.

Now... if you know people are coming to look you over, does it matter that they aren't the health inspector? Could Ya Clean Up A Little?!?


**this rant officially over**
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#26 Bond Girl

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 11:18 AM

The restroom at Peep in Soho wins the all time perverse factor award. It's in the middle of the dining room with one wall completely made of one way mirrors.
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#27 phenomprincess

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 12:27 PM

The bathrooms at Bar 89 in Soho have a substantial amount of freak-out potential. I knew what to expect when I saw them for the first time (in fact that was the reason for my visit – I was researching the material). The doors are panels of LC (liquid crystal) glass. They but turn opaque when you shut the door.

I am SO glad you mentioned Bar 89, Blondie. I almost had to go back down to the bar and ask what was going on, I was so confused. Imagine going up there after a few martinis....:)
"I can resist everything except temptation." Oscar Wilde

#28 Milt

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 05:34 PM

This brings to mind a Chinese restaurant in a city where I formerly lived. I discovered this restaurant a few months after the owner bought it. He had just moved from Hong Kong. His wife and older children waited tables, his daughter-in-law was the cashier, the younger children bussed the tables, and he acted as host - handing menus to those who entered and telling everyone, with a pleasant smile, to "Sit anywhere you like". On what I believe must have been my second visit, I needed to visit the restroom. I approached the owner and asked where the restroom was. He smiled and said "Sit anywhere you like". Over the years his English got much better.

#29 carp

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 05:39 PM

If I go into a restaurant and visit the restroom first only to find it dirty with no hot water, soap, etc. I promptly let the manager know that I am no longer interested in eating there. Where do the employees wash their hands? :blink:

And there you have it... I feel that if management cannot maintain a clean restroom, they are probably unable to maintain a kitchen clean enough to earn my money.

Our academic achievement group arranged several tours of fine-dining establishments around the area, and I found this to be the case. In every place where I thought the kitchen was not up to standards, I also discovered a restroom that was, to put it mildly, disheveled.

Now... if you know people are coming to look you over, does it matter that they aren't the health inspector? Could Ya Clean Up A Little?!?


**this rant officially over**

Anyone else read Excerpts from Gluttony at Table #1?
http://egullet.com/?...ICLE-gluttony11

The owner of The Beet used to meticulously clean the bathroom for this very reason.

Beware the clean restroom...

#30 Kapuliperson

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 12:25 AM

For some reason I always find myself in the men's bathroom :blink: - don't ask! - even if I meant to .. I swear, go into the ladies' bathroom. I always end up freaking out myself and all the men in there.. it's hilarious though, just to see the faces of the men who are in there.