There's a lot we consider when choosing a bar or restaurant to spend our evening: the menu, the prices, the chic bar area or the perfect dive bar patio. We may consider the chef's pedigree or the restaurant's stylish interior. But that's not all that makes a restaurant.
At some point during your evening, you're probably going to have to use the restroom — and in Dallas, some of those restrooms are more interesting than others. In cities bursting with sensational chefs and luxurious, whimsical venues, the loo is a place of untapped artistic potential. Here are a few of our favorite Dallas bar and restaurant bathrooms.
1722 Routh St. (Arts District)
Sure the noodles are to die for. To Tei-An's Tokyo native chef/owner Telichi Sakurtai, dining is fine art — he's the Cézanne of chimerical cuisine, the Seurat of soba, sashimi and sake showmanship — and that extends to the exquisite stone garden noodle counter, the rich woods, concrete, glass and steel elements of dining room design. But there's more. If your date lingers in the bathroom for an inordinately long time, it's not you; it's more likely the "oscillating, pulsating, front wash, back wash and tush-warming bidet that is amazing," Tei-An diner Angie Brister says, adding that she typically hates public restrooms. Not this one.
2714 Elm St. (Deep Ellum)
This is one seriously beloved Deep Ellum bar and restaurant, so prepare for the bathrooms to be all queued up as well. Armoury DE's powder room is papered in vintage, weird, mildly creepy sepia-toned photos — think Alena Beljakova's eerie bunny mask images or Foxy Brown peering down the nose of a sawed-off shotgun. It's entertaining, as is the venue's innovative musical atmosphere and front-of-house adornments and art. And, hey, if it gets your mind off the crushing need to, you know, go, we say this privy's palate has prevailed.
167 Turtle Creek Blvd. (Design District)
Bowlounge is so replete with retro-hip aesthetic that hipsters can't decide whether to hate it or love it. But for the most part, everyone loves it — except for painfully pathetic bowlers. In which case, belly up to the bar. Sip some local beers or choose from manifold bourbons and whisky brands. Then, of course, you'll need to hightail it to the little boy's room, where you'll likely stand at the urinal in wonderment, because you're now staring straight at that bar stool you just occupied. And those bartenders and taps are, like, right there. You just hit the head at a bathroom where, thanks to one-way mirrors, outsiders cannot see you, but you can see all of them, sipping beer and lamenting their poor bowling skills.
1303 Main St. (Downtown)
In the good old days, service industry staff made a beeline for this uber low sports bar. Then it closed. But it reopened, and Frankie's again is serving up wings and yellow Coors. But the new venue, located adjacent to the historic Davis building, is a wee bit sexier. The bathrooms here veritably embody New Frankie's meld of style, simplicity and subdued wantonness. The frosted glass restroom-door designs — sleek-lined, elemental genitalia — are everything. We don't need to expound here, do we?
1632 Market Center Blvd. (Design District)
According to Observer food critic Brian Reinhart, The Charles' food, "as enjoyable as it is, doesn’t top the sheer sensory overload of one of the strangest dining rooms in Dallas." Roman columns, chandeliers from every era of Americana, divine (albeit evocative of Kubrick's The Shining) wallpaper and a bar mirror framed by a creepy gold snake with heads at both ends — there's a lot going on. Then there are the bathrooms. Rather than keeping with the great wallpaper trend revival of 2019, the bathroom walls, above stark white fixtures and black and white tile, are plastered in a beguilingly randy magazine cutout collage. Interior designers Corbin and Ross See are the masterminds behind the magnificent juxtaposition of "the ruins of Pompeii and the bordellos of Nevada.” You'll definitely get that bordello vibe in the bathroom.
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One Nostalgia Tavern
6521 Abrams Road (East Dallas)
Sure, One Nostalgia is a dive bar. But the interior exhibits surprisingly dernier cri murals, a sprawling bar showcasing all sorts of patrons (Lake Highlands native Chris Harrison of The Bachelor at times among them) and a damn decent karaoke game. Still, one doesn't anticipate some winsome, sexy surprise upon entering the ladies room. But that's what we get. Small, clean and with no graffiti to speak of, the lavatory bears one substantial box, a sex toy-stocked vending machine. And we aren't talking those little truck-stop ribbed condom dispensers. This is full-on cola-machine sized and carries items such as Willy Stress Balls, the "squishy squeeze super fun willy penis stress reliever ball ..." according to Amazon, where they sell for $5. For the boys, there are breast-shaped squishies, too. Or just vend yourself a Jack Rabbit vibrator and enjoy your evening, even if you despise karaoke.
1790 N. Record St. (West End)
"I'm the largest toilet in the largest unisex restroom in the West End," an Instagram post of Ellen's toilet — from the account @toiletsoftexas — claims Ellen's toilet could not be reached to elaborate or confirm. If you speak the truth, Ellen's Toilet, we salute you and the sprawling and tolerant, loving, all-inclusive space enveloping you. If you want, you can even watch a video of some guy take a tour (and test run) of Ellen's toilets.