The 14 Weirdest And Coolest Restrooms In Chicago
By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 13, 2015 7:00PM
We know you don't pick a bar or restaurant for its bathrooms, and we don't review them that way, either. But when nature calls, it can be nice to know that you're going to be doing your business in style—whether that style happens to be designed like a CTA rail car, involves lots of chalkboard wall-paint (where we hope people are washing their hands before chalking) or is just vintage and gorgeous. We've asked our staff to round up their favorite semi-public restrooms around Chicago, and note the ones that have a little something weird going on, in a good way. Worth a trip? You decide.
There’s nothing charming about people using public transportation as their public restroom when we catch a whiff on the “L,” but the theme is entertaining in the relative safety of Boiler Room. Enter the CTA themed bathrooms through the graffiti clad train doors and perk up your ears for a recording announcing your arrival in Logan Square. We hope your visit runs express. —Jessica Mlinaric
Boiler Room is located at 2210 N. California Ave.
If you didn't already feel like a rock star dining at Ruxbin, a visit to the powder room will seal the deal. Find the darkroom door upstairs, stand in the cylinder, and rotate the walls. After entering through the airlock door, you'll find yourself in a pod covered with rock posters. Is this what it feels like to use Mick Jagger's private plane commode? —Jessica Mlinaric
Ruxbin is located at 851 N. Ashland Ave.
The restrooms here not only have a vintage feel, but the smoky antique mirrors and beveled glass also gives it a sense of a delightful ghostliness. These always-clean and stocked restrooms carry on the subdued, parlor-like vibe of the bar so it is apparent every detail was thought through and that just makes this powder room all the more special. —Carrie McGath
Revel Room is located at 1566 N. Milwaukee Ave.
While The Mutiny doesn’t have a great, or even good, bathroom, at least the men’s room is very memorable. Why? It’s got a urinal large enough to be a closet. Seriously, you can stand in it. And according to their website it’s “one of the oldest, giant-est urinals in the world.” Yikes. —Jim Kopeny/Tankboy
The Mutiny is located at 2428 N. Western Ave.
While the Punch House bathrooms don't have some of the bells and whistles of others on this list (no one-way mirrors, revolving doors or strange devices), they do have one unique quality that sets them apart—chalkboards. Or more specifically, a complete set of chalkboard-painted walls, with chalk provided by the restaurant. Graffiti ranges from creative to obscene, and you might find yourself hanging out in the bathroom far longer than is seemly as bits and pieces catch your eye. —Anthony Todd
Punch House is located at 1227 W. 18th St.
Adamus Bar in the Silversmith Hotel
This bathroom is just downright luxurious, much like the hotel's bar, Adamus. With woody, private stalls consistently cleaned and restocked to the thick and sumptuous hand towels, it is a perfect addition to the high modern vibe the bar perfectly possesses. There are also several sinks with mirrors to freshen up your lipstick without getting in the way of others doing the same. —Carrie McGath
Adamus Bar is located at 10 S. Wabash Ave.
If you’re going to play the Game of Thrones on the Magnificent Mile, you might want to check out Streeter's Tavern, which features a one-way mirror above the urinal trough. The mirror (also present in the women’s bathroom, sans trough) affords male patrons with an unobstructed view of the bar while they make their bladder gladder. Another reason to head to the loo at Streeter’s? The River North bar has one of the city’s new Happy Hour specials. —Tony Peregrin
Streeter's Tavern is located at 50 E. Chicago Ave.
Blackbird's bathroom is on my list, because my thoughts upon stepping into the single women's restroom were "hmm, what's behind that red-orange curtain?" A treat, a treat is behind that red-orange curtain, so make sure to look. —Margaret Paulson
Blackbird is located at 619 W. Randolph St.
Bangers and Lace
Bangers and Lace has two unisex, single-occupancy bathrooms, which means sometimes there's a wait, but the lighting is brilliant. One is woodland-themed and the other has a fully mirrored wall, which is somehow more awesome than horrifying. An unexpected treat for such a chill place. —Margaret Paulson
Bangers and Lace is located at 1670 W. Division St.
The European sensibilities of Quartino extend from their quintessential rattan chairs lining the State St sidewalk and up the marble staircase. Long farmhouse sinks line the double mirrored bathrooms, where powder soap awaits thee dirty hands for an exfoliating wash, no splash. —Kristine Sherred
Quartino is located at 626 N. State St.
If you're into the divey-est of dives, Bridgeport's Bernice's Tavern is the place for you. It's not so much that the bathroom is great, but that it fits really well with the tchotchke-laden, true old school Chicago vibe of the place. You'll be so distracted by the purple walls and quotes - "I'd rather be someone's shot of whiskey than everyone's cup of tea" - and drunk on PBR that you just won't care what it looks like inside. —Margaret Paulson
Bernice's Tavern is located at 3238 S. Halsted St.
The exterior of Maria's. Photo by reallyboring.
Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar
In the middle of the bar sits the lone bathroom, quaint but all you really need. What I really love are the old school beer cans encased in glass on the back wall - from Hamm's to PBR to beers only your grandfather knew by name. —Kristine Sherred
Maria's is located at 960 W. 31st St.
The Broken Shaker at the Freehand
The Freehand Chicago's bathroom leaves no debate for men v. women. Your bathroom is my bathroom. Single stalls with full doors keep it private, but walk through the open doorway and be free. —Kristine Sherred
Freehand Chicago is located at 19 E. Ohio St.
The Garfield Park Conservatory
I kinda agree with Nelly. During his episode of MTV Cribs, he nonchalantly skipped over most of his bathroom, calmly proclaiming that if "You've seen one toilet, you've seen them all. I use Charmin." Garfield Park Conservatory's bathroom is nice, though, as far as public restrooms go. Located near the entrance, it is a simple and clean place to do whatever you need to do. They have a hand dryer to reduce paper waste as well as a decently sized mirror to make sure you're that looking and feeling good before checking out the conservatory's beautiful garden and architecture. Hey, it's a bathroom. —Justin Freeman
The Garfield Park Conservatory is located at 300 N. Central Park Ave.