Monday, February 4, 2013

Laurelhurst Park

4554 NE 41st

I didn't think I'd ever post about a park bathroom, because for the most part, they're pretty terrible. I see a lot of them, because my preferred form of exercise is long walks. In a good week, I get in about 40 miles. I have to stop by park bathrooms a lot. The first one I noticed that was actually nice is at Seward Park, and I've been meaning to take some pictures there, but the one at Laurelhurst Park is the nicest one I've seen so far and the first one that made me think, I gotta post this.


I was really surprised to find two single-occupancy bathrooms in the bottom of a building there. Unheard of!

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Sure, it's a little grim inside, but consider the category. Being able to lock the door--hell, even having a door!--is quite luxurious.


When you exit, you're treated to a sweeping view, and just off to the right is a nice fire pit.

There is one problem, though. It's a problem with all park bathrooms, actually. There just doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to their schedule. I took these pictures on a Friday, but when I came back on the following Sunday, they were locked. Isn't Sunday a day that more people would probably visit? I just kept walking and found the weird, giant portapotty at Magnusson Park. At least at Green Lake, there are several, and about half seem to always be open, but it sucks when the only one is locked.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hula Hula

106 1st Ave N
web / Yelp

I've avoided Hula Hula for a while because I really liked Watertown, the club that used to be in that space. The layout was cool, they had fun music nights, and the decor was great. I especially liked the iridescent purple booths. They were also the only club that I knew about that was non-smoking before there was a smoking ban. I was sad to see it go, and didn't feel like there was really a reason to check out its replacement.

But we had just come out of the King Tut exhibit and were having a couple of drinks at Bandits and needed to find some dinner. I noticed Hula Hula on Google Maps and liked what I saw on the menu. As it turns out, it was happy hour, and that entire menu was half off! I love a good happy hour like that. We shared almond stuffed dates, mac and cheese, a beet salad, and the buffalo chicken flatbread, and it was all great.

The happy hour isn't available during Key Arena events. I don't blame them.

I didn't have a woman with me to send into the ladies' room, but the men's is cool.

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I really like urinals that go all the way down to the floor. My pet peeve is a row of what's become the standard size, where one has to be low in case someone's not tall enough to reach the others. It's ugly and dumb. Plus, if you get stuck using the short one, you have to aim carefully or risk peeing on the top of it. And the floors around the higher ones get filthy.

As I've mentioned before, I like when bathrooms in dark venues are also dark. It's terrible to be blinded going in and out of them when they're too bright.

Hula Hula's easy to get to from a lot of areas. From Capitol Hill, take the 8, or get home to Ballard or West Seattle on the Rapid Ride. That's a measure of a good happy hour, if you can get home on one bus. And even if you can't make it in time for happy hour, the menu's still pretty reasonable. But you should consider skipping early out of work to get there. That'll make you happy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Spur Gastropub

113 Blanchard
web / Yelp

An old friend and coworker I recently reconnected with via Facebook checks in from Spur constantly, and I hadn't given it much thought until I started searching for molecular gastronomy in Seattle. Spur comes up in many articles about modern techniques, so I decided it was time to go after finally seeing The Hobbit at Cinerama yesterday.

The food is amazing. That's really all there is to say. Don't go if you're starving or really drunk, as it's likely the small, composed plates will just annoy you. Go when you want to experience daring, great flavors, and be sure to take a friend or two who will trade bites. I managed to taste three appetizers, three entrees, and three desserts, and all nine were great. And I'm not normally a dessert person, but I'll be ordering one any time I return.

I didn't want to take too many pictures in the restaurant, but had to grab one at the bar.


There are two unisex bathrooms, though only the first one has a urinal. And a really cool faucet.



The second one's got the same basin style, but not the cool old-timey faucet.



So, grab the first bathroom if it's available. Both have washcloths instead of paper towels, which is really nice. Especially if you've splashed around a bit and want to clean up after yourself. I've started doing that as often as possible ever since I flew Iceland Air and saw the sign in the airplane bathroom asking passengers to do that as a courtesy for everyone else. It's nice to leave things as you find them when you can.

Check out Spur next time you want to have a wonderful, impressive dinner. Especially if you want to take me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

8oz Burger Bar

1401 Broadway
Web / Yelp

You can tell a burger joint is good when you arrive at 6pm without a reservation and they won't be able to seat you for at least 20 minutes. That happened to me and my friend Brad. We had just come from happy hour at Lobby, so I definitely wasn't able to wait. Luckily, we were able to try again a few weeks later for lunch and were the first ones to arrive.

The food is delicious, and I like that they have so many sides available to order a la carte. I recommend going with friends and sharing them, and even trading halves of your burgers. Dining with people who are willing to exchange halves or at least bites is the best way to deal with menus full of awesome choices.

I think I found my new favorite urinal in Seattle. It's a keg, and the water shoots down from the top when you flush it. Awesome.


And I love the juxtaposition of the elegant bowl sink sitting on top of and old wooden barrel. You'd expect the sink to be a big cast iron skillet or something. But this is cute.


I've probably mentioned before, I hate chalk and chalkboards everywhere else but in bathrooms. Chalk is just dusty and gross, and the sound on the board is terrible. But I'm fine with it in a setting like this because I can immediately wash my hands. And being able to erase everything once in a while is good; when the graffiti builds up a little too much in a bathroom where it's allowed, you can't really read it any more.


I need to go back. They keep advertising a turducken burger on Facebook. I could go my whole life without eating an actual turducken, but I definitely want to try the turducken burger. Plus, they do a bloody mary bar on the weekends.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Columbia Tower Club

The Tallest Building in Seattle
The Tippy Top

Web / Yelp

I've been wanting to see the Columbia Tower Club for years, even though I've heard that the men's restrooms are not nearly as interesting as the women's. And I've tried to get a tour of the women's restroom the official way (rather than being snuck in by a member, as so many people have suggested) and they didn't even answer my inquiry. How rude!

Luckily, I have people.

I met Jen back when she was the Captain of Making It Happen at Hotel Max. She is now the Seattle Community Manager for Uber, letting us all know each week what's awesome to do in town and providing us with the slickest way to get there and back. I've been a big fan of their towncars since they arrived in Seattle a year ago.

What did I get in my Facebook messages today? Two excellent photos.

Columbia Tower Club

How could you sit on such a throne and not feel like the queen of the world? The master of all you survey? You couldn't.

Columbia Tower Club

I'm always saying restrooms need a little lounge outside, and it seems like with one this fabulous, there may not even need to be a main room to the club. Maybe someday I'll get a chance to see for myself. Thanks, Jen!

And if you haven't joined Uber yet, use the SeaWC referral for a $10 credit when you take your first ride!

Monday, September 17, 2012


Downstairs at Unicorn, 1118 E Pike
Web / Yelp


I'm a big fan of cool, dark basement bars, mostly because I am not a fan of heat and bright sunlight. That's why I left the desert for Seattle in the first place. Almost immediately after Unicorn opened, there was talk about a dance club eventually opening downstairs. Instead, we have Narwhal, which is an excellent lounge space with a large bar, video games, pinball, and a skill claw game with lots of naughty surprises inside.


I'm glad it's a lounge instead of a dance floor. It's sad that we've seen such a decline in the dance scene, but it's just as much my fault as anyone else's. I get up at 4am now instead of staying out until then, so happy hour is my favorite time to go out. Especially somewhere dark and interesting.

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I could swear I sent a friend into the ladies' room with my camera on my birthday, but now as I review the photos, I don't see any pictures from in there. Sad. But I'm there all the time, so I should be able to get more soon. And that's not an exaggeration. I was at Unicorn three days in a row a few weeks ago, and I was also there last night and four nights ago.

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My only critique of the bathrooms downstairs is that they're quite bright. That's not normally an issue, but if you're hanging out in a dark room, going into a bright bathroom and back out into the dark is pretty disorienting. But, of course, dark bathrooms are a little sketchy if they're for more than one occupant. The men's room looks great, though. Love the stripes and the color choices. Makes me want taffy.

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One thing you should know before you choose where to sit is that they currently don't take food orders downstairs or bring food downstairs for you. It's not a huge deal to me to have to go up and get it, but if that's a dealbreaker for you, sit upstairs. Also, keep in mind that Unicorn opens at noon (11am on weekends), but Narwhal doesn't open until 4pm. Follow them on Twitter, though, sometimes they open early.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

canon vs Canlis: Toilet Wars

I haven't been to either, but I'm having a hard time seeing how they won by watching the video. It looks fine, but it doesn't look like it's the best bathroom in all of Seattle.

Of course, lighting is everything, and this was obviously shot early in the day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fantastic and Tacky Bathrooms You Can Buy

I never really considered posting bathrooms from homes here, because nobody reading the blog is likely to ever get a chance to see them in person. And we're lucky if most people's bathrooms are clean; they usually don't end up decorated very well.

But I just saw this blog post about an amazingly awful-looking condo for sale, and couldn't resist posting the bathroom.


I kinda love it. I have an issue, though. Everything that's white should be gold. I don't even like gold, but it would be so appropriate here. I'd have a hard time showering in there because it seems wrong to enter without wearing silken robes and a large hat. And there should probably be a hookah next to the toilet. The gold toilet.

I don't normally look at real estate listings much, but this one has haunted me for a while. It's a dream condo for me, and when none of my Mega Millions tickets were winners a couple of weeks ago, I was crushed to learn that I wouldn't be moving in. I really wanted to cook in that kitchen and especially wanted to drink wine in this bathtub.


I'm not even a bath person, but I would be in that one. From what I can tell, you can look straight up and see reflections of the streets below. It'd be like flying, only warm and wet instead of cold and windy. Alright, flying is probably way better, but I still want to do it.

Oh well. At least there's a nice big box of wine waiting at home.

Anyway, go check out these bathrooms while you can if you've got a few mil laying around or are good at pretending you do.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Saint

1416 E Olive Way
Web / Yelp

It's one of those places I'd meant to go to for years. I could tell by looking through the windows that The Saint was making much better use of the space than Wing Dome did years earlier. About twice as much seating, I'd estimate. My hairdresser had even told me I should go in to see the bathroom for my blog.

We were actually supposed to meet some friends at a different location before seeing the Dina Martina Christmas Show this year, but got a text on our way down saying that there was a strange odor there. I had them meet us at The Saint instead, and it was the first visit for all four of us. Coincidentally, a good friend's girlfriend I've met a few times was working there. And! My hairdresser walked by and I managed to jump up and meet him outside for a minute, though he wasn't able to join us for a drink.

The Saint will always make me a little sad because my ex who passed away really loved tequila, and it's a tequila lover's dream. He would have really loved it. So when I go, I'll have some tequila in his honor. And of course I'll feel much better, because that's what tequila does.

We had some excellent drinks and snacks, and then I had to get to work because it turns out there are two bathrooms. Impressive for a venue that size.


My favorite bathrooms have tons of mirrors and shiny surfaces. They're also really hard to photograph. I shouldn't have even used the photo above, but it illustrates my point. Hard to focus, you can see me four times. I couldn't find anywhere to stand where I wasn't in the shot. But it's really pretty.


There I am again. Sorry. So, there are two bathrooms and one's pink and one's blue, but they're both unisex. I really do prefer single occupant unisex bathrooms in bars. It's easier to take pictures in them, among other reasons. The blue bathroom's got storage in it, and I always like that. It just feels so organized and smart. 

 I need to go back. A margarita (rocks and salt) sounds really good.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

22 (formerly 22 Doors)

405 15th Ave E
web / Yelp

I'm not sure when the name officially changed from 22 Doors to 22, but I'm having a hard time with it. I'm all for brevity, but "22" is just a little too succinct for my tastes. It's like when Prince changed his name to O(+>; it feels better to say "the artist formerly known as Prince" than it does to say "22". And just as recently as a couple of months ago, one of their chefs said "22 Doors" on Top Chef: Texas.


Which brings me to the food. It's really good! Happy hour is a great time to make a meal out of a few shared appetizers, and 22's got one of the better happy hour menus around. Tip: split the burger with fries with someone because it's big enough that you'll regret getting one of your own, and by splitting it you'll have enough room for some roasted cauliflower or a miniature skillet of hot olives. Or, of course, deviled eggs.

Rawr! I'm a giant!

I'd love to know how the bathroom was decorated, because the walls are a huge collection of cool black and white photos. If it's not, say, a wallpaper you can buy, then whoever assembled this collection did an amazing job if it was done specifically for one space. Most of the pictures I took were from the center of the bathroom while I turned, because I hoped to get the whole thing documented so I could look later. Nothing's worse than taking too long in a bathroom and find people waiting when you come out.


There's also chalkboard up above the photos, and those are always fun because they're interactive and people can get a little bit of that "I want to write on the walls" energy out without doing any damage. I like it even though chalk and chalkboards have always grossed me out a bit. I guess I'm ok with it as long as I get to wash my hands immediately after I touch it.


(A couple of years ago, I accidentally used the women's bathroom instead of the men's. It was also very nice and I'll have to send a woman in or just ask if I can go in sometime if I'm there early and nobody's around. If I do, I'll add another post.)

Not that it matters much this time of year, but 22 has a nice patio, which is pretty rare for this neighborhood. Enjoy it if you can manage to get a spot out there. If not, the barstools inside are some of the most comortable in town.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spring Garden

1032 S Jackson

I worried as I was taking the photos for this post that I was compromising my integrity a bit. But I realized that, as a bathroom blogger, I have no integrity in the first place. So I'll just be honest: the bathroom at Spring Garden needs a little help. But a little help goes a long way when you have an amazing metal urinal with an ashtray you're no longer allowed to use.


And look at this sink.


The sink is actually what brought me here. I used to eat lunch in the ID every day and came here once in a while back when it was Saigon Bistro. Mostly I've always thought of it as a place to come when Tamarind Tree is really busy, but with Spring Garden's interesting menu and the changes they've made inside, I'd happily come here without it being a backup plan.

I also can't think of any other Vietnamese restaurants with big, sweeping views. My photos in the slideshow below don't do the view justice, it's actually quite nice.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'll make an exception

First Hill Bar and Grill is one of my favorite weird places. The food is great, the staff is friendly, and the people watching (inside and out) is unbeatable. 

The bathroom isn't great by any means. But it has this:


You don't see these very often, so it feels special when you do. Like you're in a 1990 museum exhibit. I haven't tried it, so I'm not sure if it works. I used the Old Spice in the men's room at Newport Bay in Southcenter once, and put on way too much, so I'm afraid of stuff like this. Even though it's awesome.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

If you didn't already know, I hate to be the one to tell you that Chapel closed after the end of the business day on Saturday, September 3rd.


 We all mourn in our own ways. My ways:
  • Go two nights in a row, the second-to-last and last nights
  • Grab a bunch of matchbooks and a tattered menu
  • Take one last awkward waving photo in the unisex bathroom:
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Pour a bit of your martini out for Chapel tonight.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1000 E. Pike

I could tell, even before going, that Poquitos has a very good chance at a long, successful run, mainly because it's got something Capitol Hill really lacks: spacious outdoor seating. Sure, you can find two or three tables outside certain places, but they're usually on the sunny side of the street, and nothing separates you from the passersby other than a chain or the back of your friend's chair. Not very pleasant. But Poquitos built out a huge deck in what used to be just a few parking spaces.


It's covered and enclosed, too. Very nice. I finally had a chance to check it out the other day when Kat from Barbie Dream Hearse suggested meeting up to give me the t-shirt I ordered instead of mailing it. I jumped at the chance to finally have a female operative to send into the bathroom. But first, tacos and cocktails.

The food isn't cheap, but I wouldn't expect it to be. It's a big, gorgeous space in a very expensive neighborhood, so they've got bills to pay. People always say that they don't want to pay $9 for three tacos or $5 for a hot dog at Po Dog, and to them I say, stay home! When you go out to eat or drink, you're not only paying for the food, you're paying the rent, the salaries of the people who work there, and every other cost associated with running a business. If you don't think it's worth it, buy some Rosarita and take it home, and make room for people with social lives.

But I digress.

The men's room at Poquitos is obviously part of the buildout and is in very good shape. It suffers a little bit design-wise from having to mix modern fixtures which they have to have with the classic style that they want, but it looks nice enough in spite of that.


One thing they do have, which I've never seen, is a peephole at the entrance. Cute.


I sent Kat into the women's restroom with my camera. She said it wasn't very different from what I had said about the men's, so she decided to take pictures of herself. I'm curious about the chair. Men don't get a chair.


It looks like Koala Kare got wind of the fact that people were making their products into baby hanging stations and decided to change the logo. Too bad.


Poquitos is beautiful inside and out, and I suggest you hire Barbie Dream Hearse for a night and make it your dinner stop.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


927 Ninth Ave
Web / Yelp

One of my biggest regrets is not having spent more time at Vitos when I lived nearby on Boren. It was especially cool back then with its op-art wallpaper and cheesy mirrors. It was also inexpensive, divey, and mysterious. Sitting in one of their booths made you feel like you'd missed something naughty, either by years or hours.

I felt especially guilty when they closed. You know how it is. There's a cool place in the neighborhood, you don't go there as much as you should, you don't take people there, and then it's gone. You may not have been the problem, but you definitely weren't part of the solution. It happens.

Needless to say, I'm glad it's back. The new interior is stunning, too. It's gone from mobster shabby chic to an upscale cocktail lounge with fine dining, which was a smart move. The lounge menu (half price during happy hour!) is really great, too.


I really only have a few things to say about the men's room. It's small, but big enough. The tile is gleaming and perfect. And, they have my favorite kind of urinals.


Seriously, why can't all urinals be like this? I get that they use twice as much material and it's a bigger installation job, but anyone at any height can use them. And have you ever seen the floor below typical urinals in, say, a busy office building? So nasty. So, good for them for having this kind. Classic. Perfect. And there's a nice spot to put your drink.

Also, if you used to go to Vito's, and were wondering if the naked lady is still in there, it is. Can anyone tell me if there's a classy naked tile gentleman in the other bathroom?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

1001 East Pike

I was told years ago that I should go to Quinn's, and I wish I'd listened sooner. It's a very lovely space, the food is fantastic, and it's one of those places where all the employees are really nice and seem to be having a great time all night. I admit, I'm unlikely to go anywhere if I have to wait long for a table, so if I'm going to Quinn's, it's early. Usually around 5:15, after a couple of happy hour drinks somewhere nearby.

I didn't take pictures of the bathrooms on my first couple of visits for the same reason I waited at Still Liquor; there's a frosted glass window in the door and I thought it would be weird if camera flashes were seen from outside. Now that it doesn't get dark until after I actually fall asleep, I had my chance last time I went.

It's nice to find a bathroom labeled "WC" once in a while so the blog name makes more sense.

I've always loved tile like this and miss having it in my own bathroom.

Cruelty-free taxidermy.

Back at the table, a nice view of the room's wonderful windows.

Pop in for a drink, for sure, but check their menu before going for dinner. I think the food is amazing, but I know that some people just wouldn't want to try anything on it. For those who do order dinner, start with the frites. I've never had anything quite like them anywhere else.