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Staff Picks: Chicago's Best Restaurant Bathrooms

By Anthony Todd in Food on Aug 2, 2011 4:00PM

The bathroom area at SUSHISAMBA rio.
Everyone loves lists, right? And with the departure of the revered Steve Dolinsky from WBEZ, someone has to fill the void. Chicagoist's food department is stepping up to the plate. But we don't care about best burgers or best fries - let's focus on more useful information. Today, we bring you Chicago's best (or strangest) restaurant bathrooms.

1) Ruxbin Ruxbin’s rotating menus and modern interior are the main draws, but don’t miss a trip to their Star Trek-esque, podlike bathroom that’ll have you saying “beam me up, Scotty!” On any night it’s almost a guarantee you’ll see a confused diner standing in front of the bathroom door completely perplexed until a server comes along and explains you need to walk into the cylinder and turn the walls—yes, you need to turn the walls—before the bathroom reveals itself. 851 N. Ashland. By Minna An.

2) The Publican The bathroom suite was no afterthought at the Publican. The fact that we can legitimately call it a "suite" tells you as much. The handful of spacious, private w.c.'s are adorned with sumptuous wallpaper, gold-plated fixtures and recessed niches to showcase pubby paraphernalia. The fount-like communal sink has fragrant C.O. Bigelow soaps and lotions, and the Dyson Airblade hand dryers are just good, wholesome fun. You return to your table fresher than you've been all day. 837 West Fulton Market. By Roger Kamholz

3) Sushi Pink On the other side of the spectrum, ladies can experience the ultimate creepy factor at the bathroom of Sushi Pink with a bathroom of red walls and one single dim hanging light fixture. Perturbation takes over when you’re on the toilet and immediate to your left you see… diners. Sushi Pink’s bathroom is an awkward experience where a large one-way (we hope) mirror spans the wall next to the toilet, meaning you can watch your friends and use the facilities at the same time—not that you’ve ever wanted to. 909 W. Washington By Minna An.

4) Wave Outside of a particularly trashy club, we've never thought to combine flirting with facilities usage before. But the Euro-fabulous design geniuses at the W Lakeshore are clearly more forward thinking than we are. In the vibrantly lit bathrooms, next to the sinks, are transparent panels which peer into the bathroom of the opposite gender. If you want, you can pause while washing your hands to wave to the hottie across the way and meet outside for a drink. Or, if you aren't the weirdo who would actually do that, you can glance down in shame and move on. 644 N Lake Shore Drive. By Anthony Todd

5) SUSHISAMBA rio We've never been able to decide whether the bathrooms at SUSHISAMBA rio are completely fabulous or a little bit freaky. The entire bathroom space is co-ed and open to the dining room, with individual stalls closed off for privacy. While it definitely keeps you connected to the bustle of the space (and the decor is over-the-top pretty) it's a bit odd to be fixing your hair and washing your hands in full view of the assembled patrons. But, I guess the point is to see and be seen. 504 North Wells Street. By Anthony Todd

Have any other favorites? Put them in the comments!