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High-Concept Restaurant Bathrooms


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I hate to bring it up, but another thread got into this topic so I decided to start this one. Any others besides Bar 89 and Tao as we've already discussed on the other thread?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Mash in Great Portland Street London has cameras in the mens lavs with a monitor in the womens! The mens urinal is also shaped like something out of the Hall of Mirrors so that users get a distorted view of "themselves". Either confidence building or knocking depending where you stand I believe.

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some of my favorites are the "old time" urinals.  

a classic right off that bat is McSorely's Bar in NYC.  at probably almost 100 years old (if not older), McSorely's has some ooooold restrooms.

also, in little old Hoboken, NJ, Kelly's Pub has urinals that, i swear, a grown man can almost step into they're so wide and tall.

majestic at the very least.

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Where is McSorleys, it looks very familiar.

Now, if we can get Tommys pic of the Squares loos, eGullet could be well on the way to becoming the webs foremost restaurant toilet photograph resource. Something to be truely proud of :wink:  

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Quote: from Andy Lynes on 11:36 am on Aug. 10, 2001

Where is McSorleys, it looks very familiar.

McSoreley's is down around Greenwich Village--near Astor Place and NYU.  The area used to be called The Bowery.  It is supposed to be the oldest continuously operated bar in the United States (even during Prohibition it was open--people snuck through the back door of a neighboring flower shop).  McSoreley's is also famous because of a Supreme Court case--it didn't allow women inside until relatively recently in its history (1973, I believe), and it wasn't until several years later that the bathrooms were subdivided into Mens and Womens (pre-dating the Ally McBeal Unisex by over 20 years :) ).

When you walk in a usually surly bartender attends you--although except on weekday afternoons you usually have to stand.  If you ask "what kind of beer do you have" you get glared at and the answer "light and dark".  McSoreley's makes its own ale, and its ALL that it serves.  The cheese plate with crackers and VERY hot mustard is the favorite snack, although the hamburgers are also quite good.  The ales come in 8 oz. glasses and you usually buy them in groups ("3 light, 3 dark" or some similar grouping).

(edited for speeling, er, spelling)

(Edited by jhlurie at 11:52 am on Aug. 10, 2001)

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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The coolest bathroom I ever saw was at Hunan Dumpling in San Francisco. The inside of it was all painted red, really nice black and white checkboard tiling, and the toilet was made of solid stainless steel. I gotta get me one of those.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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While talking about style and ambiance of "high End" Restaurant bathrooms does not interest nor bother me, the soaps provided often do. Did anyone ever wash their hands with soaps that, no matter how well one rinses, where the hands stay perfumy, even to the extreme where when touching food (bread), the food will pick it up and than transfer to mouth. ICKY!!!, Peter

Peter
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Quote: from jhlurie on 4:49 pm on Aug. 10,

McSoreley's is down around Greenwich Village--near Astor Place and NYU.  

It's not the one I was thinking of. I had a beer in a corner bar very near the Mercer Kitchen. I had been in to the hotel for a look round, spotted Calvin Klein in the lobby, had a look at the restaurant, then went to phone home (I was away on business at the time) from the booth in this bar. It wasn't particularly memorable or anything, but I did use the urinals there as we are on the subject.

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Mcsorley's has an amazing history -- it was operational as a bar during prohibition (a common irish cop hangout) and only permitted women to enter as of the late 70's. I think Joe Kennedy's sneakers are actually still hanging from the non-operational ceiling fan.

In addition to some of the freshest ale in the city, they make a really mean hamburger dirt cheap and their cheese plate with liedenkranz and onions combined with that mustard of theirs really hits the spot when you've had about 3 or 4 pints of their light and dark in succession.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Quote: from Jason Perlow on 1:10 pm on Aug. 10, 2001

and their cheese plate with liedenkranz and onions combined with that mustard of theirs really hits the spot when you've had about 3 or 4 pints of their light and dark in succession.

3 or 4??? amateur!

those beers seemed to taste ok when i was 21, but i have to admit that now, what with my sophisticated and evolved palate and all (actually, i'm reviewing this now, and instead of "all" i typed "old"...hmmmm), it's crap!

but McSoreley's certainly is a nice afternoon, if that's what you're into.

regarding the photos of the bog on fat-guy.com:  it's good to see that i'm not the only freak that takes photos of bathrooms!  wanna start a club? ;)

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Quote: from Rosie on 3:27 pm on Aug. 10, 2001

The bathroom at Gramercy Tavern is worth a picture but alas there are no urinals.

spend much time in the men's room do you? ;)

was there recently, and thoroughly enjoyed the bathroom.  i remember saying, probably out loud, "this is pretty nice!"  i like when they have towels to dry your hands.  doesn't take much to impress me i guess.

both of the Sushi Samba's in NYC have communal sinks.  you take care of business in separate quarters, and then use these communal sinks.  i'm not sure that it's such a hot idea.

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spend much time in the men's room do you? ;)

both of the Sushi Samba's in NYC have communal sinks.  you take care of business in separate quarters, and then use these communal sinks.  i'm not sure that it's such a hot idea.

Sounds like a good idea to me especially if you are single and looking to meet someone. And yes, I do spend time in men's rooms especially when the line is long for the ladies room. Never stood watch outside a men's room for Mrs. Tommy? :)

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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Quote: from tommy on 2:59 pm on Aug. 10, 2001

3 or 4??? amateur!

those beers seemed to taste ok when i was 21, but i have to admit that now, what with my sophisticated and evolved palate and all (actually, i'm reviewing this now, and instead of "all" i typed "old"...hmmmm), it's crap!

but McSoreley's certainly is a nice afternoon, if that's what you're into.

regarding the photos of the bog on fat-guy.com:  it's good to see that i'm not the only freak that takes photos of bathrooms!  wanna start a club? ;)

1.) I'm assuming Jason meant 3 or 4 EACH of light and dark... in other words, the end of just the first round!

2.) The beer AT McSoreley's is much better than the McSoreley's you can get bottled and on tap elsewhere in the city.  It's certainly no threat to any real sophisticated beer, and there are tons of better in-bar breweries in New York as far as beer quality, but the beer is far from crap.  

The fact is that going to McSoreley's (which I only manage once every year or two at most) is more about the experience than the beer--its about the history, the neighborhood, the cheese plates, the sawdust, the ugly old pictures on the wall, the grouchy barkeeps, the sense of sitting and drinking in a spot where ten thousand other butts have probably sat (I know that sounds gross...).  And the beer really does taste much better than what is available in MOST bars.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Quote: from jhlurie on 5:55 pm on Aug. 10, 2001

 And the beer really does taste much better than what is available in MOST bars.

obviously this is subjective.  but come on, it's kinda crappy.  and there are plenty of brews available at bars across manhattan that are much better (microbrews or whatever you want to call them).  but again, it's all subjective.  i happen to enjoy a cold bud longneck better than any Autum Pumpkim Wicked Crazy Brew or whatever the flav-o-da-month is.

as far as it being an experience above and beyond the beer, absolutely.  my initials are carved in one of those tables somewhere!

cheers!

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Quote: from jhlurie on 4:49 pm on Aug. 10,

McSoreley's is down around Greenwich Village--near Astor Place and NYU.  

Are you thinking of Fanelli's? It claims to be the oldest bar in NY. Corner of Prince and Mercer, I think. Or Greene. It's got diagonal corner etched glass doors and a "Ladies Sitting Room" in the back.

Another really old bar is the Ear Inn, on far west Spring Street. It was a Longshoreman's bar until it became a poet's hangout sometime in the late 1970s.

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Fanelli's is right across the street from the Mercer Kitchen and I'm sure it must be the one to which Andy refered. It is rumored to have operated continuously through Prohibition. Of course Mike Fanelli told it that way.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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One of the oddest resto bathroom's I've been in is one in Tokyo. The Japanese are cleanliness freaks in many ways - for example, to have a bathtub in the same room as a toilet is revolting. At the same time, they have adopted lots of western materials, decor, etc. This bathroom had a fur covered toilet seat. And I don't mean the lid.

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Are we talking short hair or long? I mean horsehide, rabbit, mink or monkey fur? I don't really want to know, except that it confirms the fact that the more I know about some  cultures the less I understand them. A fur covered seat is bad enough, but in a public loo.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Andy - So I stumbled into one of the oldest bars in New York, cool!

It's likely there are older bars. Fraunces Tavern in lower Manahattan served George Washington, but Fanelli's and MacSoreley's claim to have operated continuously (and illegally) thoughtout prohibition and of course without the proof of a license for that period.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Quote: from Bux on 5:59 pm on Aug. 11, 2001

Are we talking short hair or long? I mean horsehide, rabbit, mink or monkey fur? I don't really want to know, except that it confirms the fact that the more I know about some  cultures the less I understand them. A fur covered seat is bad enough, but in a public loo.

It was synthetic fur, colorful, maybe an inch long. Reminded me of stuffed animal fur. Yeccchhh! On the other hand, in Japanese home bathrooms, there are slippers that you switch to just for use in the bathroom, then you change back to the ususal house slippers when you return to the main rooms. It is a lot cleaner, when you think about it. Personally, I think that the old-fashioned Japanese porcelain trench toilets make a lot of sense for public toilets everywhere, at least for women. I don't know any woman who actually sitson a public toilet seat, and these are much easier to use.

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