Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
620 Stewart St
I started following @hotel_max on Twitter several months ago because Jen, their Captain of Makin' it Happen, knows how to make the best use of social media. Following her is a good way to find out about fun things to do in Seattle, because she's just as interested in promoting the city and other local businesses as she is in promoting the hotel itself.
I went to the second Hotel Max tweetup on June 15th, which was held in Red Fin's bar. The drinks were strong, the appetizers were tasty, and Jen was a fun hostess. It was also great to get a tour of the hotel, because it's one huge gallery; there are over 350 original works of art, and each room's door is a huge picture. Search "hotel max" on flickr and you'll find thousands of photos, because it's the kind of place where you almost can't get a bad picture. When I started this blog, I knew I'd have to come back for some bathroom photos.
Jen was nice enough to meet me again yesterday and stand guard at the women's bathroom door so I could sneak in and get some shots.
I had a bit of a revelation, though. Women's bathrooms are inherently less interesting than men's because so much is hidden away in stalls. Plus, urinals are just plain interesting, and they don't get any. The men's room has 'em, and is quite posh.
If you're worried about fish breath after sushi in the bar, they have mouthwash.
They have an outlet for your electric razor and flat iron.
It's also the only bathroom I recall seeing which has fixtures that actually protrude from the mirrors.
Hotel Max is an excellent downtown spot for food and drinks, an overnighter, or a home base for out-of-towners. Take advantage of their Twitter rate and see for yourself!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Pony was another well-known bar from the beloved 500 block of East Pine, but it was different from the others. When the owners of Cha-Cha Lounge and Bimbo's moved to their new location up the hill on Pike, they decided to remodel the space they still had a lease on and create something legendary. If you knew you only had five months to live, wouldn't you try to have as much fun as possible?
There were three unisex bathrooms onsite. The two in the old Cha-Cha side looked much like the rest of that part of the bar, covered in vintage beefcake shots and mail-order ads for sex toys. There was also something you're not likely to see anywhere else ever again.
That's right, a clown mouth glory hole. Don't worry, it was full of splinters and way too long and narrow to be used. Mostly it was fun to send a friend into one bathroom while you went into the other so you could talk to each other like you were kids with some cans on a string.
The third bathroom was a remodeled version of the old Bimbo's bathroom, which was great in its own time. Back in the day, it was painted up in bright colors and lit with black light, which was fun because urine glows under black light. The mirror was less fun because your teeth always looked terrible. The old Bimbo's space became Pony's game room, and I liked to think of it as an arcade midway with the bathroom serving as the big top. The reason? It was decorated with stripes and insane horse heads.
Pony's new location (with a new owner) should be open soon. Hopefully they're working hard to recreate the dirty, fun atmosphere.
Special thanks to my friend Alan who provided all the photos for this entry.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Long Provincial Vietnamese
1901 Second Ave
Sunday through Thursday, 11am-midnight
Friday and Saturday, 11am-2am
Happy Hours: 4-6pm daily
Friday and Saturday 11pm-2am
I'll just come out and say it, Long Provincial is my favorite restaurant. When Tamarind Tree announced they were opening a second restaurant downtown, it felt like they were doing it just for me. Tamarind Tree actually has cooler bathrooms, but everything else is either the same or better at Long Provincial.
This photo from one of the (two, unisex) bathrooms really sums it all up. The whole restaurant is elegant, dark, and gorgeous. Even a little mysterious.
The ceramics they use in the restaurant are available for sale; I wish they also sold bathroom fixtures.
The menu is huge enough that anyone will find something they'll like and something they've never heard of. I personally recommend bringing at least one friend so you can have multiple appetizers. The squid satay the Tamarind Tree rolls are my two current favorites.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
CHAC Lower Level
The lounge downstairs at Capitol Hill Arts Center was a strange, but fun venue. After entering via a ramp, one would pass through a maze of doors past the restrooms, which were practically outside. Looking for the bar, you could end up on the dance floor instead.
Whether the place was packed or dead, it was always fun. I especially liked the bathroom fixtures, which reminded me of overgrown Zax.
I wish I'd had the foresight to take a real camera and grab more pictures. I was only able to find two more on flickr, so I suspect everyone else was like me, too busy having fun to stop and grab a photo.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Regal Meridian 16
1501 7th Ave
The men's room at the Meridian actually isn't particularly great. It's inconveniently located on the mezzanine between the two theater floors and isn't particularly clean at times. And while there are four XLERATOR hand dryers, usually only two work at a time by my estimate. But if you were on a pilgrimage to see the face of Jesus or Michael Jackson in a tortilla or tree trunk, you wouldn't have very high expectations of anything but the miracle itself.
That's why I see fit to include the Meridian men's room here. Ceiling Cat and Jeff Goldblum's fellow watcher, Wall Cat, lives there.
To find him, enter the men's room, turn left, and stop at the first urinal. He'll be on your right-hand side, keeping an eye out for trouble while you pee.
I'd like to thank my friend Marvin for making this post possible. I'd seen Wall Cat before and forgotten him, and one of Marvin's blog posts made me realize I'd seen something very important without even realizing.
Monday, August 10, 2009
1522 E. Olive way
Originally located on everyone's favorite block, Bus Stop didn't take long to become a neighborhood favorite. The secret to its success was a simple formula: good music, friendly people, strong drinks, Jolly Ranchers, and graffiti. Just over a year after the original location closed, Bus Stop rose again on Olive Way, with better artwork, nicer tables, and a longer bar to pull up to and chat with the bartenders.
You know how you occasionally find a wall where some lucky kids from a nearby school were allowed to paint a big mural? The bathrooms at Bus Stop are the adult version. Bring a Sharpie and wear your drinking shoes, because you'll have a fabulous time trying to think of something funny enough to draw or write on the walls. I didn't notice until taking pictures today that penis drawings are the go-to gimmick when all else fails, so maybe try to think of something else.
Bus Stop has two bathrooms, and they're both unisex. This is ideal for me, because I was able to enter both and photograph them. I think customers are also happier with this arrangement because nobody waits in line for one bathroom because they aren't allowed in the other.
I was there the night my friend Tiffany christened the new location with its first graffiti, and you can find me there often, because Bus Stop is the ideal neighborhood bar.
What's this all about?
I moved to Seattle in the summer of 1999 and immediately fell in love with a great coffee shop called Coffee Messiah. I was especially taken by its amazing bathroom, and started noticing that a lot of places in Seattle had interesting bathrooms. A lot of business owners here realize that the bathroom is not only an important facility they have to maintain, but it's also another opportunity to decorate and inspire.
And a bad bathroom can easily ruin an otherwise-good impression.
I'm not limiting my reviews to bars and restaurants; any bathroom I can find is fair game. I'll review the business itself as well, because nobody's going to go just to see the bathroom.
Suggestions or questions? Email me.