Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Restaurant Restrooms


Varmint
 Share

Recommended Posts

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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/?pg=ARTICLE-gluttony11

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

Beware the clean restroom...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a time, somewhere until the late 1980's when many restaurant critics felt obliged to comment not only about the quality of the food and service at the restaurants they were reviewing but also about the various attributes (positive and negative) of the restrooms in those restaurants. Happily, those days have past, and most critics (including myself) will visit the rest rooms only if the need arises to actually use those facilities.

Two anecdotes worthy of possible note:

About a decade ago I visited and wrote in superlatives about the food at a restaurant in Haifa, "Ma'ayan ha Biera" ("The Well of Beer"). This long established place is not so much a restaurant as it is an institution within Israel, a hyper-simple joint with no physical charm whatever but with food that often has godlike qualities. Several days after my own critic was printed, that of a well-respected colleague Gil Hovav appeared in another newspaper. Gil also raved about the quality of the dishes he received but the best of all lines was: "I had to use the toilet so wandered into the back of the restaurant. I entered the toilet and thought to myself - 'my god, I have never seen a toilet so filthy in my life. And then I paused in shock, almost swooning because I realized I had not gotten to the toilet but had entered the kitchen". That has got to be one of the best lines I have ever read in any restaurant review.

Second anecdote - in 1968 two Yale divinity students took a year off from their doctoral studies to visit Paris. The results of their trip was an eighty page pamphlet "The Pissoirs of Paris" in which they reviewed in detail the public toilets of Paris as well as the rest room facilities of 124 different restaurants in the city.

The book may not have sold as many copies as the Michelin Guide but it did make for absolutely charming reading.

One final note - visit the most "in" bars of Paris, London and Tel Aviv these days and you will find that many of them are designed so that clients who ...mmm...shall we say, "meet their match" while at the bar, no longer have the need to ask "your place or mine", needing nothing more than adjourning to the restrooms of the bars in which they find themselves to continue whatever entertainments they feel most appropriate. Should any e-Gullet readers require a partial list of such places, simply let me know.

Best,

Rogov

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ones I hate the most, aside from ones that are less than clean, are those with the door that is too close to the commode. If the door hits your knees, it's too close. Don't the people who work ther use these things? Can't they get them fixed? There's no room to zip up or otherwise adjust your clothes. I just hate that.

These seem to be most often found in mom-and-pop type places where somebody's brother-in-law helped with the contruction - my guess.

Stop Family Violence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Always remember that if you change the bathroom you become subject to the ADA laws and a simple job could become $75,000 minimum. I know of a space here in town that remained empty until deep pockets came in. Landlord got a free $100,000 improvement and should have no problem renting it when the current tenant moves down the street. It should always be clean though.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once worked on a project for a new 'cafe' with an inexperienced owner. She was designing the FOH 'look' herself and had decided that the bathrooms needed a poetic touch.

She chose the lines of inspirational verse that seemed right (I can not remember what they were now, but do remember that if I was trying to read them while in the bathroom it would either make me laugh or cry...) then directed the painter to artistically scribe them on the walls.

Instead of writing the words in a usual sort of pattern in one simple space on the wall, the painter chose to demonstrate artistic merit by painting the words in huge letters, all around the room in a circle.

I thought this would be particularly dangerous in the mens room after a glass of wine or two...was imagining the fascination with which the guys would follow the wonderful words round the walls, following each word along with a stream of pee...

Ah, well. It was, painted over, the lot of it, before opening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

has anyone seen the men's restroom at the hermitage hotel in nashville..........the weidest looking bathroom ever......we did a 17 million dollar renovation and they left the bathroom the same as it was in the 30's.....green and black stripes, with green toilets and green urinals, shoe shine stands,etc, maybe there is a picture on the web???/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a place in Cloquet, MN. They cater to those of us driving through on our way up north. In fact, they are only open Memorial through Labor Days. Anyway, since they push this place, in part, as a good place to stop for a quick burger, I'm a bit puzzled by the one stall bathroom. The lines are often unbelievable. And, since the lines are long, the bathroom doesn't get cleaned often enough.

BTW, they do serve a decent burger.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

World's Best Bathrooms. Not all of these are restaurant bathrooms, but some are. Oddly, I've actually been in three of the bathrooms on this list. One is the mens room at the Madonna Inn. This is actually a restaurant bathroom (well, it's actually off the bar adjacent to the restaurant). Bathroom recommended. Restaurant and Inn unfortunately NOT recommended. Bar was so-so.

The other two I've been in aren't restaurant bathrooms. (They were two of the bathrooms at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, but maybe they do count since there's a cafe there. Anyway -- they're absolutely amazing!)

Cheers,

Squeat

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Chicago, the bathroom at the Bar Louie (on Chicago Ave.) is wholly bizarre. The walls are entirely mirrored, so while you are taking a leak you can look in front of you and see your own ass. "Wow, my ass sure looks fat when it's all smushed down on a toilet seat, doesn't it?"

A nice one in Chicago is at the Standard Club. It has all the extras, like cologne, and hairspray, and lotion, and best of all, bobby pins.

There is a horrible one at a little gyros/hot dog place. I can't remember the name of the joint, but I believe it's on the corner of Division and Milwaukee, right next to that big Fifth Third Bank. Generally, I'm not one who thinks that the condition of the bathroom is an indication of the condition of the kitchen (many times these 2 rooms are cleaned by entirely different people), but this one was so foul that I would make an exception to my rule.

There was no TP, no PT, no running water (so the lack of soap didn't make a difference), no toilet lid, and the floor was damp. There were cigarette butts all over the tile and the lightbulb was burned out. Also, it was so small you couldn't sit on the loo with the door closed.

Noise is music. All else is food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was no TP, no PT, no running water (so the lack of soap didn't make a difference), no toilet lid, and the floor was damp.  There were cigarette butts all over the tile and the lightbulb was burned out.

Sounds like Wrigley Field to me.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The bathrooms at the Anoconda Bar located in the El Monte Segrado Resort in Toas are at once beautiful and frustrating. The place is billed as an "eco resort" (Green and all that). However the beautious bathrooms are lined with shards of (endangered) cork tree bark, lots of exotic stone tile from far away places and a sleek sink that spruts out water when you stand in front of it (even if you are just primping). On my first vist, it spurted water on my crotch area (It has since been adjusted thank goodness).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

how about this article? :rolleyes:

Bathroom attendants who turn on the water, pump the soap dispenser and offer a towel to patrons at some of Manhattan's fanciest restaurants are underpaid and often robbed of tips by their own employers, the state's attorney general said Thursday. Eliot Spitzer announced settlements with landmark eatery Tavern on the Green and a company that operates popular spots like Ruby Foo's and Blue Water Grill. The settlements, which provide back wages for some workers, allow bathroom attendants to work for restaurants directly, cutting out the middleman hiring service.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The most impressive rest room I have ever seen is in the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. They even have periodic tours of the men's facility for ladies who want to see it. It is simply amazing.

One of the most memorable, now long gone, was in the restaurant at Marineland of the Pacific. The ladies restroom was like walking into a nautilus shell, with translucent walls with glowing lights behind them. It was the very first rest room I visited that had automatic faucets and automatic flushing toilets. They also had a real live restroom attendant who handed you a folded soft paper towel to dry your hands.

One of the scariest I ever visited was the old Ton's on the Pier in Redondo Beach, It was destroyed many years ago when we had a rough rainy season - the same year that Cher's house at Malibu was half destroyed.

At Tony's you actually had to go outside, up a flight of rickety stairs and into a restroom that hung out over the water. The floor was bare wood with not much under it and every time a wave came in one got a blast of damp air coming up between the floorboards. Scary. I was told the men's was even worse. I nearly fell several times because I never wanted to put my bare hand on that hand rail on the way back into the restaurant.

I always thought that they must have paid off the building inspectors to get away with that.

My favorite Thai restaurant in Lancaster has a clean toilet, but one has to tromp through the kitchen to get to it. Everybody smiles and nods but I just make sure everything I eat is very hot to kill off any transient bacteria. No salads for me............

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The men's loo at Felix, a very upscale bar at the Hong Kong Peninsula is rather unique. The urinals are against the exterior wall and above those urinals are windows reaching all the way to the ceiling. So basically, when relieving yourself, it seems like you're peeing into Hong Kong.

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! Especially after a long day! :)

#1456/5000

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Press Club: the icons indicating "ladies'" or "gent's" are coloured, backlit glass sculptures of the sexes respective genitalia! Quite a surprise the first time you go there!

XX/XY (a gay bar) has the circle-arrow, circle-cross designation for the washrooms. A great idea......except they really *are* unisex, and I've seen a few straights freak out a little at that...wimps! (By the way, I am a female married to a male, so I'm not prejudiced against heteros! :raz: )

Forget the house, forget the children. I want custody of the red and access to the port once a month.

KEVIN CHILDS.

Doesn't play well with others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

once when i was eating in a neighborhood restaurant in rural china, i had to use the bathroom (as one does after a couple beers)...i went into the hutong bathroom...the one for the whole neighborhood (no stalls, no doors)... there was no electricity in it, just candles set out everywhere. there was a mom busy helping, like 8 tiny kids to squat over the little trough, and they had obviously never seen a mexican woman with red lipstick before. so as i am peeing, knees to my ears, i have a whole assortment of kids sitting down next to me...waving to me.

all i could do was smile...

i felt like such a cultural embassador.

....so if a bathroom has a door, or no audience...you're living in style...

t.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While on the road from Sedona, Arizona to Scottsdale my husband needed to stop. He pulled of the road and went into the public bathroom on the side of the highway. He came running out 3 seconds later and said when he read the sign that said "Poisonous snakes and insects inhabit this area, use at your own risk" he decided he could wait until we got back to our hotel.

A few months ago we were in Anaheim for a business convention and went to the movie theater in Disneyland. I have never seen such a great theater or a cleaner bathroom; fresh flower arrangemen and everything!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At a meat market bar called the Garage in Milwaukee's Brady Street district, my husband reports that there is a one way mirror above the urinals that looks out on the main area of the bar. It is terribly tempting to stare intently at it while sipping my drink... or to wave hello. Kind of bizzare.

Also, if you are lucky enough to be female (or at least pass well for one) and you find yourself in the Pfister Hotel downtown (which is quite nice) be sure you use the very last stall in the ladies room for the bar on the top floor. Beautiful view. The bar is nice too... goblets of whole cashews for their snack mix. Yum.

Edited by Cusina (log)

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed the bathroom at Felix in the Penninsula Hotel in HK, too but I experienced the ladies room. It was really very nice, in fact I'd say it may very well have been the most wonderful restaurant bathroom I've ever been in. It's all stone. One wall is made of glass - a panoramic view of the city of Hong Kong. The sinks are waterfalls. I don't remember if it was one big waterfall or individual ones, it's been a few years. The attendant comes and sets the waterfall in motion as you wash your hands. Designed by Phillipe Starck. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...