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NYC's Most Unusual Restaurant Restrooms

StandardRG.jpgWhether restaurateurs realize it or not, a restaurant’s restroom is an integral part of its appeal. It’s true. Women visit the restroom more frequently than men to “reapply their face,” take a little break from an unbearable first date, or well, go to the restroom.  But we all go. And depending on its level of cleanliness, comfort and charm, the restroom can make or break a dining experience.  Some are social experiences, while others are just plain entertaining.  Here’s a few of our favorites….

The Hurricane Club
Address: 360 Park Ave.
Phone: (212)951-7111

How often do you go to the bathroom and return with your shoes shines and a little bottle of rum?  I’m tempted to visit this new Gramercy tiki lounge just for the restroom experience, which happens to include a rum fountain with pretty decent rum.  But there’s talent in the kitchen, too, so you may want to stay for a mai tai and a pupu platter.  Chef Craig Koketsu and pastry chef Richard Leach from Park Avenue Autumn are overseeing the kitchen here at this lively, downtown spot as well.

Bar 89
Address: 89 Mercer  St.

Bar 89 is famous for its floor-to-ceiling restrooms that transform from see-through to opaque upon latching the door shut. It’s easy to overlook the “M” and “W” floor-etchings in front of the stalls, which adds a whole lot of confusion to an already chaotic situtation. The peep-show undertone of this SoHo restaurant’s restroom experience twists the banality of going to the bathroom into a somewhat erotic, PG-13 event. (Not that there’s anything wrong that.)

Address: 102 Eighth Ave.
Phone: (212) 400-2118

Despite the
closure of its east-side location, Vinyl has maintained its funky
diner-cum-disco ambience in Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea.  Everything
about Vinyl is unique from the vintage record jacketed-menus to the
bathrooms. The stalls,
dedicated to inspiring musical icons, are like shrines with tiled
glass-encased dolls and soundtracks personalized to the beat of his or
legacy. The Chelsea outpost has two equally peculiar, yet rather
entertaining restrooms: one devoted to
Mouseketeer-turned-A-list-celebrity Justin Timberlake and the other to
British singer-songwriter Boy George. You’ll want to make a restroom pit
stop just to travel back in time and remember “the good old days.”

Locanda Verde
Address: 377 Greenwich St.
Phone: (212)925-3797

The name of this ever-popular, Italian restaurant translates to “a green inn.” Like any good “inn”  where by definition, one can eat nutritiously and rest peacefully, the marbled bathroom’s outfitted with a pair of cozy armchairs and bigger than most people’s apartments.  Oh, and there’s two toilet paper dispensers in each stall. With delicious food, good company and clean, accommodating rest areas, there’s no reason not to spend the night.

The Standard Hotel
Address: 848 Washington St.
Phone: (212)645-4646
The Standard Hotel, along New York’s High Line at Washington Street and
West 12th, hosts three dining options – The Standard Grill, The Living
Room and the Biergarten – that all share a noteworthy downstairs
restroom. Passed the corner photo booth and double-tiered water fountain
are four sinks divided by a bendy, chain-link sheet. To the left of the
adjoining wash area are the women’s stalls and to the right, the men’s,
entirely separate from one another, which allows for an intimate moment
in between a cohabiting hand-washing adventure. It’s fun and slightly
social, not to mention environmentally friendly with extreme air hand
dryers mounted on either side of the sinks.

Pulino’s Bar & Pizzeria
Address: 282 Bowery
Phone: (212)226-1966

This is the latest venture from restaurateur Keith McNally, who brought Paris chic to Manhattan by way of Balthazar, Pastis and Schiller’s Liquor Bar.  They’re all warm brasserie settings with red leather cushions, weathered mirrors, and a signature, half-unisex WC.  Pulino’s unisex restroom is located downstairs with a separate he-she entryway and a communal sink, where we’ve seen a few introductions and flirtations take place.

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