We’ve all at some point, against our better judgment, used bar bathrooms. Typically, they’re nothing to write home about. Occasionally they’re so bad they’re worth writing pages about—you can turn to many blogs and newspapers boasting that they’ve found the worst bathrooms around. But bad bathrooms aren’t much fun to spend time in.
Good bathrooms, on the other hand, are glorious places to spend your time. They offer safe haven from bad dates, a means of sneaking SOS texts to a friend, or just a cool spot to pee and read entertaining bathroom scrawl. We don’t want you to have to go through the bad bathrooms to find the good, so we’ve selected some of the coolest, nicest, or most interesting bar bathrooms in the borough. If you don’t see your favorite bathroom in here, feel free to point me towards it in the comments section; I’m always looking for other cool places to drink alcohol and pee, though not at the same time.
In the meantime, hey, here are the seven best bar bathrooms in Brooklyn.
BEST ALL-AROUND: House of Yes
2 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick
When I saw the bathrooms at House of Yes, I was forever changed. Never before have I been in bathrooms that made me want to spend more time in them than the venue itself. First, you enter the bathrooms through a hall of sparkling mirrored tiles. The men’s room is filled with mannequins sporting glowing LED eyes and mouths. The women’s room is almost overwhelming in its bright gold and silver opulence. Each stall is different, giving you the option of walls of rainbow beads, walls of over 14,000 pearls, or walls of black and green sequins and insects.
There are three additional single-room bathrooms by the stage. One, created by Justin Ahiyon with PJ Linden, is undersea-themed, made of driftwood and seashells and featuring a small fish tank. Another, by Adriano Moraes, is inspired by Jodorowsky and Mobius’s comic book series The Incal (pictured at the top of this post). The last is created by HoY co-owner Kae Burke (her and co-owner Anya Sapozhnikova also designed the men’s and women’s rooms mentioned earlier) and is Bollywood-themed, featuring a collection of Hindu deity posters and tapestries.
Okay, now that we’ve got that one out of the way, we can move on to the plebes.
BEST FOR EXISTENTIALISTS: Bizarre Bushwick
12 Jefferson Street, Bushwick
Though it’s not the cleanest or best-smelling bathroom around, the bathroom at Bizarre Bar in Bushwick certainly has character. And with the sort of shows that go on there (on an average night you’ll catch burlesque, drag kings, fire-breathing, and all breeds of outrageous performance art) their mirror-walled bathroom is the perfect funhouse to get lost in between acts. It sports reflective surfaces on all sides, so you’ll always know what you look like, whatever you’re doing in there. Also, look at all these selfies people are taking.
In case you get so distracted by all the hullabaloo onstage or swig a few too many of their signature absinthe cocktails and things start to look a little funny, you can retreat into this room to remind yourself that yes, you still have a face, and yes, it still looks great. Plus, there’s both a urinal and toilet in there. It’s good to have options in life, and also objectively fun to squat-aim into the urinal if you aren’t a dude.
MOST ENVIRONMENTAL: Habana Outpost
757 Fulton Street, Fort Greene
We all know — even if we try to ignore it — that flushing toilets uses a ton of water. And while we may not be having a water crisis like California is, it’s still important to be mindful when we can. The folks at Fort Greene’s Habana Outpost have gone about a bathroom design that’s both creative and kind to the climate. According to this popular Cuban spot’s Twitter, they use a green gutter system to collect rainwater which is sanitized and filtered, then used to water their plants and flush their toilets.
The bathroom has a nice bright color scheme, hanging plants, and a tropical feel. The rest of the restaurant is eco-conscious, too, using solar power and biodegradable cups. (If you want a smoothie, you’ll have to board a bicycle in order to power the blender used to make it.)
BEST FOR SELFIES: Black Flamingo
168 Borinquen Place, Williamsburg
So we’ve already told you about a bathroom where you can go to stare at yourself from all kinds of angles, but what if you especially love to gaze at your face n’ bod from the familiar safety of your smartphone’s front camera while shut away in a small stall? Well, keep reading. And if you love to pose for your phone while washed in sultry red light, you’re especially in luck. There’s one bathroom at East Williamsburg basement club Black Flamingo that fits the bill. Depending on your style, you can either utilize that good ol’ red light to make yourself look like the sexy clubgoer you are or like you’re submerged in blood-water and may or may not be the devil. All while under the guise of peeing! The world is yours.
Though I’ve never actually taken a selfie at Black Flamingo, my friend Sarah has taken so many you could probably make a nice coffee table book out of them, and if there’s one thing you should take away from this list, it’s that million-dollar idea. A coffee table book of selfies.
BEST FOR GEEKS: The Way Station
683 Washington Ave, Prospect Heights
Prospect Heights watering hole The Way Station is a cozy haven where one can sip beers, see local music acts, and even engage in a rousing night of nerd karaoke. But something particularly unique about their #brand is their Doctor Who-inspired bathroom. The exterior is made to look like the show’s classic blue police box TARDIS, and the interior sports a vibrant painted mural of Doctors and Daleks by artist Fritz.
If you’re not into the Doctor’s particular brand of nerd, never fear. You can do your business in their “rock n’ roll bathroom,” which is covered in old rock show posters and set lists, mostly from shows done at The Way Station. Honestly, this is probably where all the nerds and outcasts meet to plot their revenge on the basics.
HONORABLE POETIC LICENSE MENTION: Palisades
906 Broadway, Bushwick
By no means does DIY venue Palisades have a nice bathroom. It’s fairly average fare for a space of that sort, full of graffiti, a miscellaneous collection of Sharpie scribblings, and some toilet paper if you’re lucky. The toilet lid provides a consistent reminder that “We’re all going to die.” But it’s functional, and that’s what matters.
There’s also a massive amount of scrawl coating the walls, you can read the walls like a TV sitcom dad reads the newspaper while sitting on the can. Sometimes it’s nothing new or interesting, but other times you can come across some rare gems, like this one I spotted a while back. For those not used to deciphering bathroom scrawl, it reads, “Fuck me like fried potatoes / On the most beautiful hungry / Morning of my / God damn life.” Pure sophistication and pure passion.
HONORABLE RIDGEWOOD MENTION: Julia’s
818 Woodward Avenue, Ridgewood
While it’s technically not located in Brooklyn, Ridgewood gets lumped in with Bushwick frequently enough that we figured it deserved a spot on this list. Plus, Ridgewood has a lot of nice trees! And you’ll want to get into some semblance of nature this summer, since otherwise you’re probably just walking through hot air and/or vaporized garbage. Anyway, Julia’s is a quaint little wine bar, a favorite among locals. It offers hearty food, an affordable brunch, and nice homey vibes.
But the real blissed-out part of Julia’s is their bathrooms, which are a far cry from any of the dive-y bathrooms on this list. There are two stalls, both warmly lit and calmingly colored. Bushwick Daily agrees — they describe the Julia’s bathrooms as “the cleanest ever” and “like you’re visiting mom.”Artist Gilbert Williams, the father of one of the owners, painted a single ceiling panel in each bathroom: one sports a bright blue sky dotted with puffy clouds, and the other has a starry night sky. So really, you never have to leave Julia’s, you can just go from day to night by switching stalls and drinking wine forever as the “days” “change.”
Follow Cassidy everywhere but into a bar bathroom, on Twitter: @malegazegraves