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MR’s Guide to the Best Public Restrooms in NYC

“Public” is relative. The need to pee is not.

10.19.15
Man-Repeller_golden_toilet_map_best-of-nuyc

We’re trusting you with the most sacred gilded (porcelain) pit spots we’ve come to call our own, which I think practically makes us sisters, so be a sweetie, wipe the seatie, and tell only those who you are confident both squat and flush in this dangerous Game of Thrones.

Brooklyn

Salt and Charcoal, 171 Grand Street

Elizabeth once had to pee really badly and begged the owner to let her use the bathroom even though she wasn’t a patron. Turns out it was insanely clean and their soap smelled like heaven. She even went back to find out what soap it was (answer: it’s from Catbird across the street). Says Elizabeth: “A must-pee!”

Bia, 67 S 6th St.

Though their Vietnamese food is “bomb,” Elizabeth claims Bia over-saturates their customers and thus, bladders get full quicker than usual. Not to worry: The bathroom here has raw wood floors, is always clean, and even though it may not be environmentally friendly, they have a fully stocked arsenal of TP.

Dweebs, 1434 DeKalb Ave.

According to Krista, the recently-opened Dweebs in Bushwick is just starting their dorky bathroom collection so you’ll have to keep going back to watch it evolve, but judging from their Neil deGrasse Tyson signage, it’s only going to get better and better. (Krista told me to write that — makes no sense to me and my pee — but I do love this man.) Bonus points: their chia pudding is the best she’s ever had.

…And you know what they say about chia: if it doesn’t make you a tree, it makes you “regular.”

Lower East Side

Mission Cantina, 172 Orchard St.

According to Krista, this spot has the best bathroom selfie mirror in the game. “It’s a triangle lined with pink and green neon lights, letting you and the white tiled background shine through the social media maelstrom.” Hello: we are not always going to the bathroom to relieve ourselves, you know.

You know.

East Village

San Marzano, 117 Second Ave.

Says Elizabeth: “Cheap pasta bowls fill you up and thus…ANYWAY, there is one men’s and one women’s bathroom, but when you gotta go you gotta go and nobody abides by those rules. They have a stack of paper towel, a GREAT BIG mirror for retouching lipstick on a date, and the door locks securely. Clean and fre$h.”

Chipotle, 19 Saint Marks

The staff rules this restroom with an iron fist: you are not getting the code unless you order at least a bag of chips. Because of this, Amelia says, as far as emergency pit stops go, this one is strangely clean.

West Village

Jeffrey’s Grocery, 172 Waverly Place

Amelia loves Jeffrey’s for the oysters and the restaurant owner’s culinary monopoly within a five block radius (“It’s like the Mafia!”). More than anything, she loves it for the bathroom — no reservation needed though there is often a wait — which boasts an excellent sound system (often blasting 90s jams or Motown) and a Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day candle that is always burning. The candle smells so good, in fact, that Amelia copied Jeffrey’s and now burns the same candle in her own bathroom at home.

Amy’s Bread, 250 Bleecker St.

Conveniently located on Bleecker St., you can run in and run out without a single person noticing you; the line to order croissants and coffee keeps the store employees too busy to notice you’re not a paying customer, but Amelia has never once been able to exit Amy’s without noticing she wasn’t a paying customer, and therefore buying a little congratulatory (for not peeing her pants) snack.

South Village

Charlie Bird, 5 King St

Our newest team member, Yvonne Dunlevie, (and yes, that is a French-ass name) likes this bathroom for its cool door, exposed brick wall, marble sink, tiled floor and paraphernalia: Aesop soap, jars with those weird floss picks, mint AND Fruit Lifesavers.

Midtown East

The Polo Bar, 1 E 55th St

Go for the horse paintings and mood lighting. Stay because this is one of Yvonne’s suggestions and miraculously not Amelia’s. Yvonne is far more trustworthy.

Midtown West

Penn Station, 234 West 31st

Kate Barnett almost did not share this one. She says, “There is a wholly reasonable public bathroom in the waiting area for ticketed passengers at Penn Station. Yes, it is roped off, but you can probably walk through with a healthy sense of self-importance. It’s not gilded, but it’s better than any other option down there.”

Soho

Jack’s Wife Freda, 224 Lafayette

Leandra thinks the patrons of Jack’s Wife never have to pee. “I have never waited online to use the bathroom in the history of shakshuka consumption.” Also, she adds, “since the place is small and often crowded, it makes walking in like you own the place then beelining straight to the back to drop your kids off at the pool much more enjoyable. Also, the walls have wainscoting, which is such a nice touch.”

The Soho Grand Lobby, 310 W Broadway

No one’s going to tell you not to use the bathroom in a hotel, you know? Leandra likes this haunt for its elaborate space with multiple stalls that look like they’ve been chiseled in gold, only not at all. According to her, it smells good, the toilet paper is soft and the soap is practically edible.

The Bowery

Crosby St Hotel, 79 Crosby Street.

Despite basically having to run through a maze to get there (the bathroom is located down stairs, around the corner, out one door and through another) it’s modern, in a convenient location if you’re shopping in Soho and has a great product selection as vetted by ‘Vonne.

The Meatpacking District-ish

Dream Downtown Hotel, 355 W. 16th St.

Besides the fact that hotels are easier to sneak pees in than customer-required venues, the Dream boasts a bathroom that’s both futuristic and unisex, two things you never knew you needed when it comes to bladder relief — but you do, according to Cristina Couri. “It’s worth visiting the district that packs meat just for that very combination.”

Amen. Now add your own before I burst.

Illustrated by Joseph Amar.  Want more MR Guides?  We have plenty!

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Get more Humor ?
  • Mission Cantina indeed does have best bathroom selfie potential! Here’s my martian girl one to prove it! (Granted, went on a date here with Krista and Cristina, so my discovery of the place was no so fortuitous.)

    • Elizabeth Tamkin

      HAH we miss the h3ck out of you, Emma.

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  • Melanie

    I must remember this always! I hate having to duck into a McDonald’s every time I need to pee! Selfie potential?! Yes ma’am! Double points!

    Melanie | Toots &
    Dilll

    • ShaynaJ

      Mcdonalds?! My worst fear >.< Definitely pop into J.Crew if your in SoHo or Midtown, friendly sales associates and clean restrooms. your welcome!

  • Lovely tips!

    Xx, Daria
    http://rebeldescent,blogspot.ru

  • Natasha

    How did you miss New York Public Library? Maybe the prettiest building you can pee in.

  • Kristina

    Add most Starbucks to this finely curated list which is also rather helpful for anyone attempting psychedelic consumption in the city.

    • Elizabeth Tamkin

      But honestly, how did we forget Starbucks?!?

      • Kristina

        in a sense, I respect that having been left off because ew starbucks. that being said, i do think of it as a city “rest stop” of sorts these days.

  • Aviva Downing

    The Victorias Secret in midtown is my secret pee spot.

  • Toty Toty
  • navya

    I wrote all of this down in case of emergencies. You treat me well, Man Repeller.

    thewitchclique.com

  • Vi Huynh

    Bloomingdale’s in Soho, Ace Hotel in Midtown, Turkey’s Nest when I’m at McCarren and don’t want to wait on the public restroom line (it’s not much cleaner, but at least I get to leave with a marg-to-go the size of my head)

  • Abby @ midlifecrisisnut.com

    I did a similar piece about restrooms in Paris at midlifecrisisnut “Pee or not to pee – best places to go in Paris”

  • I did a similar humor piece about restrooms in Paris at midlifecrisisnut in case somebody ever needs to go in Paris:)

  • I was just at Jeffrey’s Grocery and yessss! The oysters, the 90s jams, but best of all, that candle!!!! I could’ve spent my entire brunch hour in that bathroom.

    • Also, their sister restaurant Montmartre in Chelsea has the best bathroom poster of all times…

  • Corinne

    I have a firm belief that there is an imminent need for an app that’s like yelp or tinder but for bathrooms.

  • Carmelo Johnson

    Cool list to come and party! thanks!

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