The bathroom at your local bar is an inevitability; if you’re out having just one drink, chances are you’re going to wait in line to use whatever grimy situation lurks behind the bathroom’s doors. The doors you open to use this bathroom are a portal into a world of piss-stained uncertainty. While you know there’s likely a toilet and sink, whatever else you encounter while in the depths of drunkenness is the product of mere chance–it all depends on whatever inebriated schlub used the place before you.
But since the faint of heart might appreciate knowing what the bathroom scene is like at their various neighborhood bars, we ranked the bathrooms at several establishments in Bushwick, and you can find them listed here from worst to best. We figured you might like to know what to expect the next time you’re heading to the toilet in one of these spots. Consider this a guide. And a public service.
13) Gotham City Lounge: This place is a bonafide dive, and one should just assume that the bathroom is a tangy, grunge-dungeon of a place before you go. Abandon all hope when you go to the bathroom here, the illustrations of Superman and the Hulk taped to the wall will not save you. It smells like piss and there’s nothing you can do about it. But hey, Gotham is dope, because beers are two dollars and everyone’s friendly. Plus there’s a pool table. But when it comes to the bathroom, you’d probably be better suited finding an alley or something to relieve yourself. Just kidding, because that’s illegal.
12) Alphaville: Alphaville’s downstairs bathroom might as well be the setting of a grizzly slaying or drug overdose in a William S. Boroughs novel; in fact, Naked Lunch probably happened in this very bathroom, from beginning to end. I don’t quite understand why anyone would paint these walls so damn hot-pinkish-red. What’s the point of that? To scare people away so they don’t fraternize and do naughty things? Anyway, I felt like my eyes were bleeding the second I opened the door to this place.
11) Heavy Woods: For a joint tricked out with massive projector screens on either end, Heavy Woods’ bathroom doesn’t fit the character of a classy mega-pub. This bathroom could be Buffalo Bill’s happy place in Silence of the Lambs. We have more punk rock accoutrements here, except this time embellished with some stickers and markings courtesy of ultraviolet paint pens (seriously though, who brings these things to literally every bathroom in Bushwick?). I wouldn’t consider this a good place to catch a few quality minutes of me-time. The stink of urine prevails.
10) Cobra Club: The name of this bar should make one feel like a rock & roll badass, and I suppose the grubby walls of this bathroom are indicative of that motorcycle shredding attitude. This bathroom would be an excellent place to fall asleep on the toilet. Your buddy could take some epic photos of you in a blissed-out state of inebriated unconsciousness–picture your long hair falling before your numb, drifting face. Much like Alphaville, this is another place to mainline hard drugs, expect don’t do that, if only for yourself and for the bar staff who’ll have to dispose of your body.
9) The Johnsons: This bar is fashioned like a golf resort in Boca Raton Florida, which I guess is kind of cool? They’ve got astro-turf and some potted plants that make the feeling of greenery nice and this aesthetic is pretty unique, which is admirable. The bathroom is less about form and more about function, however, so much of the Johnson’s charm is present in the actual bar (duh). As the regional potty critic I was thoroughly unimpressed by the decor here. The bathroom will probably serve you best as a changing room where you can put on your Hawaiian shirt, so as not to feel left out by the actual bar’s cool island vibes.
8) The Narrows: The Narrows is a lovely bar, but if you stand taller than 5’6, these bathrooms feel like the caboose of a freight train train bound for Siberia. It’s dark in these coffin-box dwellings, and the mostly jet-black walls make the barely functioning lights an understandable pretext for pissing on the floor (which you should never do, mind you). I tried to go wee here but thought I might soil my shoe, so I just washed my hands and took about sixteen selfies with my phone’s flash fully activated. The bathroom is clean though, so if you want to use it as a private selfie box, you might be better off.
7) Boobie Trap: The dude using the bathroom before me genuinely destroyed the place before I entered, but I’m still not deterred from heading back here again. Boobie Trap is a place tethered to its own kitsch, a freak-show of a bar. It’s proud of its hokey marionettes and the plastic boob theme that no other establishment can replicate. Much is the same regarding its bathroom too, which is just as weirdly decorated as the rest of the bar. There’s the artful (yet, kinda silly) rolls of toilet paper holstered to the wall in a pyramid- like formation, plus other goofy fixtures like the ominous hand traced onto the paper-towel dispenser. Well done, Boobie Trap, you Tim Burton-worshipping devils, you. French tourists probably really enjoy this bathroom.
6) Left Hand Path: There seems to be a conscious effort on behalf of bars in north Brooklyn to make their bathrooms appear like punk rock manholes while still maintaining a strong semblance of tidiness. Left Hand Path’s bathroom seems to suggest, “Hey! Tag our walls! Be creative! Express yourself!,” while at the same time having this well-kempt fragrance hovering above the spit-shiny floors. This makes for a nice atmosphere to go potty, but is it a contradiction? Can I really trust this place? Are they catering to my need for coolness while making sure I still have respect for myself and the others who use this bathroom after me? One thing is clear: I need to step up my graffiti game. Learning to tag is a must for bathroom-scene dominance. On the whole however, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to this bathroom, despite my requisite confusion and paranoia.
5) Miles: Yes, Miles is what you would call a “cocktail lounge” or a “speakeasy.” Bartenders will ask you if you’d like that drink “up,” or “on the rocks,” as you eat things like “prosciutto,” “speck,” and “gorgonzola.” It’s a different world for some, and the bathroom (ah, yes, that sweet, divine toilet), might be a nice break from the neglected hell-hole you share with roommates off the Morgan stop. Miles has clever little pictures of Jack Russell Terriers and Bulldogs dressed up like private investigators and sailors strung on the walls (cute!), and these pictures make their way into the clean, clean bathroom so you can wink and blow kisses at them, if that’s your thing.
4) The Three Diamond Door: This bathroom is covered in pretty indecipherable graffiti scrawlings, but not in an abrasive, “Help, I’m trapped in a dungeon,” sort of way. The Three Diamond Door is a pretty self-aware venue. It knows it’s a nice looking joint, but it still draws the kind of folks who dig butt-rock anthems and cheap cans of Busch. To that end, the bathroom here kind of encapsulates a grim, dimly lighted vibe, but it’s still clean enough for you to breathe normally as you let one go in the shiny porcelain toilet. Bravo to the staff for keeping these toilets cool enough for Bushwick’s bearded-tattoo set, but classy enough for people who don’t want to go pee-pee in a rundown squat of a closet-bathroom. I’d pee here often.
3) Pine Box Rock Shop: Hey! Pretty nice bathroom guys! This one is all about smut though, so if you’re offended by pin-up girl imagery and the scantily clad milieu, you might want to burn this mother down. Decorations aside, this pisser is really bright and colorful, and could probably be used as some sort of sunlight therapy center if you’re feeling down in the dumps. You could incubate here and maybe even practice some yoga–after all, the space is certainly big enough for some downward facing dog. Just kidding. You should never do yoga in a bathroom bar.
2) The Sampler: I hate to say it, but if there was an official yuppie-takeover of Bushwick, this place would be its prime headquarters. But I also have to admit, that after tinkling at this establishment’s bathroom, I was thoroughly impressed–it felt like using the john in a rustic cabin made especially for a design snob. Let’s start with the faded, paneled woodwork. It looks aged and rugged, like this place has stood the test if time. The planks are fitted together so seamlessly as to give you a feeling of warmth, like you’re being enveloped in a big lumberjack’s arms. Then there’s even a coat rack, so you don’t piss on your jacket! I might not come back here for the chin-strokey beer tastings, but I would return to have a grand-ole’ think on the toilet. T’would be a great place to devise schemes for building a heavenly cabin-bathroom of my own.
1) Old Stanley’s: This bathroom takes the cake. I feel like I could leave my apartment and stroll here on a mild spring morning and relieve myself without inhibition or worry. It reminds me of the comfort of Grandma’s house–a place both reassuring and kind, clean and welcoming, and full of room for you to make mistakes and be yourself. The floors are nice and the color scheme is relaxed. Maybe it was just a coincidence I was so impressed by this bathroom, but then again, it might not have been. You’ll probably have to stop by Old Stanley’s and see for yourself one day.
Follow Sam Blum on Twitter @Blumnessmonster