Washington Restaurants with the Coolest Restrooms

Seven Washington restaurants that put a little extra thought into their bathrooms.

You never know who you might meet outside the restrooms at Lyon Hall. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

It’s not unusual for restaurants to spend a lot of time designing eye-catching open kitchens, but now many places are devoting resources to another space: the bathroom. Here are seven we think are special.

Current Sushi. The unisex stalls at this Dupont Circle lounge are see-through before you step inside, but close the door and the glass-paned walls become opaque with steam. Finally, the privacy you need to play Hanging With Friends and check your e-mail.

The Duplex Diner. Calling all Madonna fans. Montages of the Material Girl cover the walls around the cool commodes at this Adams Morgan restaurant/bar—from the “Vogue” era to the “Erotica” phase and beyond.

Lyon Hall. If you want to get flirty, you can’t be dirty. Well, not grubby anyway. That’s why this Clarendon brasserie built a low-walled line of sinks between the men’s and women’s bathrooms where, instead of looking in a mirror, singles can wash up facing each other.

Medium Rare. French pickup-line tutorials play over the speakers inside the unisex restroom of this Cleveland Park steak frites house, so you can get tips on scoring a Parisian hottie during your bathroom break. Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? Yes—er, oui!

Nellie’s Sports Bar. Wash your hands with history. The vintage sinks were gleaned from the long-gone Griffith Stadium—once the site of Washington Senators baseball games—just a few blocks away.

Proof. If photographer Herb Ritts decorated the men’s room at the Playboy Mansion, it would look like the one at this Penn Quarter wine bar, which features walls covered in black-and-white female nudes.

Socci. This is either the most acid-trip-friendly bathroom ever or the scene of a complete freak-out. The futuristic taps change color depending on water temperature, so no, you’re not doing that with your newfound telepathic powers.

This article appears in the February 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.

Parenting writer

Nevin Martell is a parenting, food, and travel writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Saveur, Men’s Journal, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, and many other publications. He is author of eight books, including It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids, Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery, and the small-press smash Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip. When he isn’t working, he loves spending time with his wife and their six-year-old son, who already runs faster than he does.