A trip to a venue bathroom is usually a haphazard (and possibly hazardous) experience. "Just get it over with so you can make it back in time to order another drink before the band plays their next song," is usually all that is involved in the live music bathroom planning mentality. That, and how to minimize hand-to-surface contact. When it comes to a bar, club or large arena, we don't necessarily put all of our faith in the particular venue's custodial arts. However, one might be surprised to learn, there are some water closets throughout the Dallas music venue scene that are not only passably sanitary, but are also actually a vaguely pleasurable experience.
In search of the perfect bathroom, there are many factors to consider. Cleanliness, of course is always top priority. Distance between the paper towel dispenser and door handle to ensure proper sanitary exit. Smells. Whether or not the facilities are equipped for proper personal "emergencies." But then there are other various intricacies we often overlook, such as wall "art" and graffiti, fliers, and whether or not the mirrors allow for adequate attire and hair inspection.
Armed with copious amounts of coffee, electrolytic water and personal hand sanitizer, I scoured Dallas' music venue scene in search of the top 15 bathrooms that make the call of nature a less frightening experience. Keep in mind that, in some restroom facilities, the mere fact that they are functional can sometimes be their best feature.
15. The Prophet Bar
A rather long walk down a dark and creepy hallway, the bathrooms at the Prophet Bar are nice in that they are spacious and offer plenty of stalls or urinals to choose from, which is nice on particularly busy nights. The cleanliness is remarkably good, and aside from graffiti aplenty, the only other amenity is the absence of an actual door. Wash your hands and promptly exit.
14. The Curtain Club
Similarly, the adventure into the unknown here begins without the hassle of opening a door. But losing some privacy isn't so bad when you don't have to worry about sharing the germs of everyone of your gender in attendance that night.
13. Club Dada
The natural aromas of Dada's water closets can sometimes leave something to be desired. However, this spacious one-room bathroom invites guests to enjoy their privacy while attending to their business. What makes this bathroom special is the simple locking mechanism, in case of emergencies or if you just need to confine yourself away from the raucous crowd for a few minutes. You may have to wait in a line, but bathroom excellence is not always about speed.
12. The Double Wide
Given the circumstances of a venue wherein the bar is literally steps from the bathroom, the John here is remarkably clean. Also, the plumbing provides unusually hot water, so germs can be efficiently scrubbed away given the temperature reaches levels bordering mildly scalding. And plenty of paper towels give hand-to-surface contact a task even the most inebriated of patrons can enjoy.
11. The Boiler Room
What is nice about the Boiler Room facility? That it is just that, a facility. Doors to ensure privacy. Even though proper distance between urinals is sub-par, the colorful chalkboard that hangs above is fine enough of a distraction to take the attention off the fact that you could literally comfortably hold the hand of the person next to you.
10. The Amsterdam Bar
This little bar near Fair Park is special if only for one reason: a plunger. Not that anyone would ever take it upon themselves to plumb their own destruction. But for whoever that faceless hero is in the venue that night that takes it upon themselves to clear the path of unpleasantness, their weapon of choice lays conveniently near the throne.
9. The Balcony Club
This quaint and lively jazz club houses a simple bathroom facility, but what makes this experience nice is that is a distance away from club's lively atmosphere. Ever just need to get away and collect your thoughts, or check your phone messages? These bathrooms even have makeshift waiting rooms just outside the water closet. Not the most attractive of a setup, but it makes for an enjoyable experience when you have to step away and take care of business.
8. Three Links
This relatively new venue in the heart of Deep Ellum has a surprisingly clean facility. Sparkling white tile, elegant stone and maroon colored walls create a somber atmosphere. All in all, this is a WC you could walk away from without a scratch, or a hint of bacteria.
Club management at Trees claim that bathroom cleanliness was one of their priorities when the venue was reopened. And that claim is backed up. On visiting during a particularly busy night, when the proverbial "flood gates" were opened between each band's set, the bathrooms should have been a OCD diagnosed person's worst nightmare. They weren't. No doors, so entry and exit ensures promptness, and the wall art is decidedly modern.
6. Beauty Bar
There's not much to the Beauty Bar's bathrooms. They house a simple toilet, sink and mirror, and are relatively clean most night. But this made the list for two simple little touches one does not usually find: an actual soap tray, and the clever use of elegantly framed portraits of a man and woman denoting each bathrooms, to give your private time a touch of the '50s.
This restroom is a complete stainless steel sanctuary in all its splendor. It's almost too clean. But given its location and clientele, it isn't too surprising. Where it lacks in character, it more than makes up for in pure sanitation and general fanciness.
4. The Free Man Cajun Café and Lounge
The men's and women's bathrooms housed in this tiny restaurant/jazz lounge are a genuine breathe of fresh air from the usual water closets that would be ideal for horror film scenes. A cozy red and green colored one room facility, with modern décor is just an all around pleasant experience. I always appreciate the use of bowl-type sinks.
3. Adair's Saloon
Upon walking into this art installation they call a bathroom, one forgets that the appreciation for custodial upkeep is somewhat lacking. If these walls could talk, they would say everything and anything that is muttered at one a.m. at any divey bar throughout Deep Ellum. But the sheer magnitude of scribblings on the walls is bathroom graffiti taken to the highest level.
2. The Loft at Gilley's
Now this is a bathroom that even Frank Lloyd Wright could be proud of. Well, perhaps not, but the simple elegant design of the bathrooms in the Loft are well designed, particularly the stalls, which aren't exactly stalls, but rooms all to themselves. That kind of privacy is something I've sometimes longed for whenever someone impatiently rattles the shaky stall partition at a club venue.
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1. Granada Theater
Easily the winner of all bathroom-defining categories, The Granada Theater is simple, yet has character, all while maintaining simple sanitation. From the shiny black tile and marble surfaces, to the large mirrors framed by classy lighting fixtures, The Granada Theater seems to nail the perfect throne room in Dallas. And then there's those hand dryers. These monsters create ripples in the skin with the force of their hot air, and they have a rather sleek design as well. "In a steel cage match, our hand dryers beat the shit out of all other venues' hand dryers. Even that dude at House of Blues," says Granada Theater Creative Director Gavin Mulloy.