When I began conducting "research" for this piece, I felt it best to speak with some of the most knowledgeable people out there: bartenders, bar hoppers and picky women. The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Everyone I spoke to and even those simply eavesdropping had an opinion on their favorite bar baños. Most of what I heard centered on the nastiest, most vile pee spots around town (I sense a part two in the near future), but I was able to coax out some positivity on the subject. Imbibing massive quantities of beverages correlates quite highly with bathroom necessity, so I hope that next time you're out and about and feeling that oh-so-familiar urge, you'll remember this list gratefully. By popular consensus, here are the top 5 bar bathrooms in town.
*One caveat - the list below pertains only to women's restrooms, as these were the only ones I had for firsthand knowledge of. Sorry, fellas!
5. Lola's Depot (2327 Grant St): Now I know what you're thinking - is she out of her freaking mind? But honestly, besides the fact that they always have toilet paper, soap and even air freshener, Lola's BR wins for sheer entertainment value. If you want to know who is crushing on whom, who is wishing whom dead, or who's a big fat skank, look no further than the graffiti-filled walls. Plus you get to read some seriously ridiculous poetry, editorial comments on others' poor grammar skills, and even get tattoo parlor recommendations. It's a veritable treasure trove of local information.
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4. Red Room (2736 Virginia St): When you need to go, Red Room has you covered. It's all about choices at this swanky see-and-be-seen venue. Sure, there's a men's and a women's, but then there's a mysterious unmarked third option. Who belongs here? If it were a Montrose club, I'd give them kudos for catering to the ambiguously gendered, but I kind of doubt that's what's going on here. Instead, I like to think of it as the perfect place for those seriously enmeshed couples to not have to part even for a moment.
3. Community Bar (2703 Smith St): Have you seen the size of these stalls? You can bring in your whole group of friends, continue socializing, and not even be weirded out or crowded out. The toilet is far enough away from the sink, which is still far enough away from the door, to allow everyone to just kind of do their own thing. I've never run out of TP here, which is important. And to top it all off, they even provide you a basket of reading material, including none other than the Houston Press. Gotta love the thoughtfulness.
2. Nouveau Antique Art Bar (2913 Main St): This is the bathroom that has thought of it all. An ample amount of stalls, including an extra-large one for easy wheelchair access, is just the beginning. Once you enter the stall, you immediately see the effort that has been put forth. There is an elegant small shelf to place your drink upon, so that you don't have to feel like that creepy person trying to hold your drink while peeing. Plus there are baskets of potpourri to keep things fresh and even wet wipes, again to keep things fresh. It's like visiting your grandmother's guest bathroom, but in a good way.
1. Red Lion Pub (2316 S. Shepherd): The Red Lion Pub oozes Brit charm. Luckily for us, this extends to the bathroom, as well. For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to check it out, not only is it immaculately clean and well stocked with yummy soaps and lotions, but the walls are plastered with the British equivalent of playboy cartoons. Though it may take us Yanks a minute to fully appreciate the wry wit, we do enjoy looking at some luscious cartoon T & A before heading back to finish our pint of Guinness, thus starting the whole cycle again.