Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bathtub Gin & Co.
2205 2nd Ave
(enter on West side)

Yelp / Stranger

The "fake speakeasy" craze in Seattle hasn't stopped yet. I'd never been to any, mostly because they're trendy and I hate crowds. A lot. But a good friend wanted to meet up for her birthday at Bathtub Gin, so I found myself there a couple of Fridays ago.

I definitely recommend checking it out, just not on a Friday or Saturday. We were there ten minutes after it opened that day, and it was already full. It's a cool space, though, with exposed brick walls and a decorative tin ceiling. Three rooms are split between two levels, and the bathroom is tucked away downstairs in a corner. They did an excellent job in there.

I really, really love wallpaper like this.


This is probably just a storage closet, but I like to pretend it leads to a casino or brothel.


I didn't get a picture, but there's a miniature bathtub in the bar, making it the only bar I know of in Seattle that brings the bathroom out of the bathroom.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Icon Grill
1933 5th Ave

Web / Yelp

One of the first friends I made when I moved to Seattle worked at Icon Grill and gave me a gift certificate so my partner and I could come by and see her during dinner. From just about the moment I walked in, it became my new favorite restaurant in my new hometown. The entire place is like an Easter basket full of eye candy, decorated in a clever mish-mash of glass art, tour posters, and old lamps. There's an Almond Roca wrapper color scheme at work as well, which had to be challenging to pull off.

Over the years, I developed a fierce taste for Vietnamese, so Icon was bumped from my number 1 spot, but has earned its place in my harem and is always a good choice for happy hour. In fact, if you've never been, you should start with happy hour and check out the menu over a couple of drinks.

One could argue that Icon was at the forefront of the "fancy bathroom" movement with their magical, musical men's room. If you're having any trouble getting started, they've provided help in the form of videos of babbling brooks, crashing waves, and other water features, which you can see in the mirrors above the urinals. I hope someone comments telling me the name of the music that plays along with the videos. It's something we've all heard in a hundred commercials but I just don't know what it's called.


I love framed art in bathrooms, especially artifacts like tour posters.


One thing has changed over the years. They used to keep the bathroom stocked with hand towels and have made the switch to paper. I'm sure whoever had to wash them is relieved.


The upstairs area where the bathrooms are located is funny. There's one table, all by itself, a private dining room, and a waiting area with a nice chair. I'm always saying that more bathrooms need these waiting areas, even though they aren't terribly useful if the bathrooms aren't single occupancy.


The waiting area looks like a good place to make a quick phone call, but I forgot to check to see if there's still a "no cell phones" sign in front. All the pictures here were taken with one, so the entire post might be a huge faux pas.

There have been rumors over the years that Icon would be closing, and looking at the rest of the block, one can see that they are running on borrowed time. If the housing market hadn't tanked right when it did, there may already be new condos in its place. I'm not going to worry until I hear something official, and in the meantime I'll enjoy it as part of my vanishing history in Seattle.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Now you can have bathroom beer.

Of course I had to order one

I wouldn't call the bathroom at the Elysian great or even good, but they're currently serving The Men's Room Original Red, which is quite tasty and is for a good cause.

If you do end up in their men's room, be sure to look in the grout above the urinals for teeny tiny puns. About Grout. Not even kidding.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I hope this picture of the bathroom at Bus Stop was taken on Halloween.

Big thanks to Cap to the Hill for the link!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bathrooms Immortalized

When the 500 block of East Pine was shut down and torn down (only to be replaced with nothing) we lost some very cool bathrooms. Projects like this blog can only do so much to show what infamous bathrooms like the ones at the original Pony or Bus Stop became. I hoped at the time that the walls at Bus Stop would turn up in chunks in a rubble pile we could pick from, but I doubt anyone even thought at the time to snap a comprehensive set of photos.

That's why a project like this recreation of the bathroom at CBGB fascinates me so much. How often do you get a chance to visit an old favorite place that no longer exists? Sure, we can take a tour of Kennedy's Air Force One, but what about the neighborhood dive with the strangely compelling collection of bumperstickers and toys?

For now your best bet is to get pictures while you can.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hotel Murano
1320 Broadway Plaza (Tacoma)

A few months ago, I won a free night at Hotel Murano by answering a pretty difficult trivia question on Twitter. I was thrilled, because I've missed out on so many free hotel nights at Hotel Max that were given to the first person to answer an easy question. Having to actually do some research weeded out the competition and I swooped in for the kill. Winning a free night in Tacoma was great, because I like to go down there once in a while, but coming home on the bus after a few drinks can be difficult to say the least.

I'm not sure how many bathrooms there are onsite, but I saw three and they were similar enough that I only took photos in one. In fact, I can't remember if this is the lower level near the conference rooms, the lobby level near the bar somewhere, or the fourth floor near their fantastic restaurant, Bite.


I've been on the fence about these bowl sinks for several years now, but I just decided that I really like them, mostly because they're practical. You can set things down on the counter and not worry about them falling in the sink.

The bathroom in my room upstairs also had one.


I love the blue glass counter, but feel sorry for the poor maid who has to clean it.

Hotel Murano is a great destination, even if you aren't actually staying there. I had a great time at the lobby bar, starting with a drink as pretty as the bathroom upstairs.

This is called a "Hypnotic Night"

Our first course at dinner was lobster corndogs, which I've wanted to try for months.

Lobster corndogs

Do be sure to at least pop in for breakfast sometime. I had the best eggs benedict of my life there. And just like her sister Hotel Max, Murano is a beautiful place to linger and soak up the decor. I should also add, if you are thinking of taking a little "gaycation" down South, Murano is an easy few blocks from The Mix and Club Silverstone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Seattle Magazine's review of The Living Room wraps up the article with a quick blurb about the bathroom. It's good to know that people are interested in these things, but that nobody else wants to be the weirdo with the camera in the loo.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Still Liquor
1524 Minor

Capitol Hill has been cursed in recent years. Developers trying to cash in have kicked everyone out of apartment buildings intending to rebuild or remodel into condos, only to abandon the projects halfway through leaving empty lots or deserted buildings. Those of us who live here are left to wonder what they were even trying to accomplish. Why try to sell a neighborhood if you're closing its signature businesses and bringing in tenants who won't like living there anyway?

The last year or so has brought about a nice change, though. Businesses who were shooed away have found new, better homes. Empty storefronts are becoming cool new businesses.

The biggest cultural shift is the auto business exodus. Capitol Hill was at one time a major car dealer and auto shop destination, but several have left and others are on their way out. These are large spaces and properties which are ideal for dining and nightlife conversions. One such conversion which is coming along nicely is the Melrose Project. Still Liquor is mentioned in the link, but is already open.

I got the feeling last night at Still that it's not quite done yet, but that they were excited to open and to become a part of the neighborhood. The only real decor aside from some of the furniture is a lovely hammered copper bar.

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The rest? An open, airy room tucked below sidewalk level with some windows to peer up. A better view than Laverne and Shirley had, but one where you still feel hidden away. As of this posting, the bar's sign has not yet arrived, so visitors really are hidden, if they manage to find the place.

The bathrooms are clean and lovely, but again, I'm not sure if they plan to decorate them more. If they do, and I'm back with my camera, I'll have a small challenge: photograph a bathroom with a glass door while hoping nobody outside sees the flashes. How embarrassing.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

317 NW Gilman (Issaquah)

My boss invited several of us for dinner at a favorite spot of hers, Nicolino in Issaquah. Before Friday, I hadn't been out that far East since 2001 or so. It was definitely worth the trip. In fact, it was bittersweet, because it's the kind of restaurant I'd love to visit often, but it's just far enough to make it unlikely to happen.

I shared the sweet pea ravioli from the appetizer specials, and had the calamari all to myself, while sampling bites of a few other plates. It's the kind of place where everybody shares because it's all so unbelievably fabulous and you want to confirm that you're not hallucinating. My calamari was actually a little spicier than I would have ordered, but this wasn't a bad thing. It woke my mouth up and made my wine taste even better.

Once again, I was out of town without my camera, but I managed to get a few snaps with my phone in the men's room.

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I've always liked when a bathroom houses a nice collection of art prints and maps. It's an easy way to dress up a room which is often overlooked.

While I was there, I also got to add to my "helpful octopus" collection of photos. I think this one is my best yet.

Helpful octopus

I regret working on this post because it's just making me want to go back for more sweet pea ravioli. And it was on the specials menu so it will surely be gone by the time I ever make it back there. I guess that's my way of saying you should go, and soon.