Five Favorite Seattle Restrooms: Intriguing Public Toilets in the Pacific Northwest

Five Favorite Seattle Restrooms: Intriguing Public Toilets in the Pacific Northwest

People notice restrooms, especially those that are more than just porcelain parlors, the ones with the elegant designs, the peculiar décor, the entertaining ambience. These are the restrooms that stand out. And Seattle’s got plenty of them – places worth visiting if for no other reason than to peek inside. Here are five that rank among the favorites.

Coastal Kitchen

The Coastal Kitchen restrooms are notorious not so much for their colors, décor, or even the plumbing, but because of their soundtracks – continuous loops of quirky English phrases translated into the language that matches the current menu. With French food come French
phrases. With Spanish specials comes Spanish speech.

When diners excuse themselves from the table, they’re embarking on more than a trip to the local loo. They’re heading toward a place of knowledge, a place where they might learn how to report Elvis sightings in Portuguese or ask where to spit olive pits in Greek. Restrooms with such exotic flair make any meal an international sensation.

Hi Spot Café

Hi Spot Café’s upstairs restroom stands out above most others, not only because it’s on the second floor, but also because it’s got a bathtub. A full-size claw-footed soaker. And the best part is, it hasn’t been turned into a planter or ice holder or even an extra sink – it’s just a bathtub.

Grandma would have loved this restroom. Just like her upstairs bathroom at home. Not surprising since Hi Spot is a big ol’ house turned restaurant. The dining area is divided into smaller spaces that mark the original rooms, including the front hallway. And of course, at the top of the open staircase is Grandma’s bathroom.

In the Bowl

Two doors down from Apocalypse Tattoo and right next to Holy Smoke tobacco shop, In the Bowl Vegetarian Bistro boasts a restroom that’s a journey into a plastic jungle, complete with the sounds of a bubbling brook and tweeting birds. And amid the stems and leaves are the objets d’art that carry through on the faux foliage theme as they hang hopelessly over the limp landscape.

The best parts are the back-lit pictures of flowing water. The artwork’s watery inside layer loops behind a semi-transparent outside layer painted in pastoral splendor. It’s magic – just like those old Hamm’s beer signs that claim a direct ascendency to the land of sky blue water. This must have been how van Gogh saw the world after too many shots of absinthe.

Tamarind Tree

If a toilet flushes in a Tamarind Tree restroom and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

Indeed, the facilities here are the Zen of all restrooms, each one like a pebble garden, a bubbling brook, a walking meditation. The elegant minimalism is reflected in the clean lines of the sinks – not awkward bowls of rust-stained porcelain, but angled planes that drop softly into the muted counters, where faucets run like silver fountains and soft lighting fills the room like the warm golden glow of the evening sun. There’s a baptismal quality about the place, as though a visit here is an essential rite of passage.

Columbia Tower Club

Ask Seattleites which public restrooms are worth checking out, and they’ll inevitably mention the one in the Columbia Tower Club – an interesting choice given that the club is private and not open to the public and that the restroom everyone refers to – both men and women alike – is the women’s facility.

How so many people have become acquainted with a women’s restroom in a private club is the stuff of urban legend, but it must have something to do with the view from the 75th floor of the Columbia Tower. As women erupt out of their stalls, they’re greeted by glistening white counters and golden faucets that peer out into the abyss – Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains, to be more precise – all just a rinse away.