America’s 12 Best Restaurant Bathrooms
In Castello di Amorosa's restroom, the stalls are festooned with hand-painted frescoes.
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Restaurant bathrooms are a bit of a touchy subject. We’ve all visited them, and we all have our preferences. Some prefer single-person restrooms, even though they usually require a wait. Some prefer stalls with doors that close completely, so it’s like you’re in a little room. Some prefer automatic sinks and hand dryers, so they don’t have to touch anything; others demand paper towels and consider using automatic dryers to be a waste of time. Still, others are content with even the most utilitarian of restrooms; we’re not supposed to be hanging out in them, after all. Others forego them completely and just wait until they get home. But a small percentage of restaurants are going above and beyond in their restroom approach, and they deserve to be applauded. For that reason, we’ve rounded up the 12 best restaurant restrooms in America.
From a Zen-themed, spa-like women’s room in Seattle to a Chicago bathroom that you enter by walking into a cylinder and turning the walls, there are some truly mind-blowing restaurant bathrooms out there, ones where upon returning to your table you have no option but to turn to your dining companions and say one of the oddest phrases you can utter at a table: "You have to check out that bathroom!"
Once upon a time, a fancy restaurant bathroom was sure to include a bathroom attendant, a steward who perched next to the sink at high-end restaurants. Ready to turn the faucet for you, hand you a paper towel, supply you with a spritz of cologne, and leave you awkwardly fumbling for a buck, today they're a dying breed, overtaken by the concept that, as adults, we’re perfectly capable of fending for ourselves in the restroom.
But the loss of the bathroom attendant isn’t a sign of a lowering of restroom standards. At its core, a restaurant restroom should be an extension of the restaurant experience; nobody wants to leave their table in a finely appointed dining room only to encounter a dirty, dingy commode. While the restroom is an afterthought at the vast majority of restaurants, there are some whose restrooms very well might merit a visit to the restaurant just to have the opportunity to use it.
In order to rank these restrooms, we took a look at overall design, the "coolness" factor, uniqueness, the use of funky gizmos and gadgets (you’ll see), and ease of use (a restroom can be stunning, but it's not so great if it takes five minutes to figure out how to flush the toilet). We sorted through plenty of online lists and boards, added some of our personal favorites, and after whittling them down we’re confident that we’ve found the best. If you feel we’ve missed any, though, let us know in the comments!
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