Visiting the restroom at a restaurant is traditionally a rather boring affair (one hopes, at least), but some restaurants go above and beyond in making a traditional trip to the loo a decidedly memorable experience — in a good way. Here are five of our favorites.
The entrance to Ruxbin’s bathroom is an old revolving darkroom door, which means that when you walk through it you find yourself in a narrow cylinder, waiting to be beamed up. In order to enter the restroom proper, you turn the walls until the bathroom appears in front of you. Pretty nifty, but probably also frustrating for those who really have to go.
Ned Ludd, Portland, Ore.
Nestled inside this unmarked restaurant that’s gaining a reputation as one of Portland’s best is quite possibly the city's best bathroom: dim light illuminates an artfully arranged collection of branches, logs, flowers, old cooking utensils, a milk pail, a copper egg pot, an old scale, and framed antique photos of Portland. Remove the sink and toilet and you might as well be in a well-curated art gallery.
Ninja, New York City
This restaurant is one of New York’s hokiest, where waiters dressed as ninjas serve overpriced sushi to unsuspecting tourists in a dining room decked out like medieval Japanese village. But the restrooms are quite a sight to behold: they feature tons and tons of fake stone, bamboo paneling, and Japanese toilets with built-in bidets, seat warmers, and other funky elements that you’d be hard-pressed to find outside of Japan.
The Publican, Chicago
The "bathroom suite" at Paul Kahan's The Publican is so refreshing and luxurious that you’ll be telling everyone to check it out as soon as you get back to your table. The private stalls are decked out with lavish wallpaper, gold-plated fixtures, and niches displaying pub-inspired gear, while the communal fountain-like sinks are stocked with C.O. Bigelow soaps and lotions.
The women’s restroom at Seattle’s famed Canlis is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Entering this restroom is like stepping into a Zen spa retreat, complete with gray flagstone floors; beige wall tiles; fresh flowers; Japanese art; big, soft towels for hand drying; and, best of all, an enormous window looking out into a bamboo-filled sunken garden.