As Portlanders, when we decide to go out for a meal & drinks, there are several points of consideration that factor into our final decision. We think about what we want to eat, how far we want to travel and how much we’re willing to spend. One detail that we often fail to consider involves part of the restaurant that we’ll undoubtedly visit at least once during our dining experience; the bathroom.
The bathroom; also known as the loo, the pooper & the throne. No matter what you call it, it’s a necessary destination on any night out. Bathrooms, like those who use them, come in all ages, shapes and sizes. A stunning restaurant could have a surprisingly hideous bathroom, and a dive bar could conversely have a crapper fit for royalty. With that in mind, I sent out a team of undercover agents to find some of Portland’s best restaurant bathrooms, so when you plan your night out there will be no surprises when it’s time to “drop the kids off at the pool”.
The Armory: Portland’s Most “User-Friendly” Restroom
Nestled in the basement of Portland’s historic Regency Hotel & Spa is The Armory, a low-lit lounge with a vintage vibe. Known for well composed cocktails and refined food, The Armory attracts the city’s young professionals, aspiring beat poet types, and blind dates arranged by E-Harmony rather than Plenty of Fish. At the Armory you’ll sip a classic Manhattan as quiet jazz music plays, transporting you to the past….until you have to pee.
The Armory’s bathroom is not at all retro, in fact it’s so modern & user friendly you’ll be jolted back into the present, maybe even the future. There’s a TV in there (which is great if your date isn’t thrilling), and state of the art amenities that allow for a fully hands free experience. The sink, hand dryer and flusher are all automatic, and the toilet even has those automatic seat covers that some airports have. For those of us with public bathroom germ anxiety, this clean & efficient restroom gets the seal of approval.
Infiniti: Perfectly Portland Potty
Infiniti is without question, one of Portland’s most “Portlandy” dining establishments. It’s a distillery, which couldn’t be more hip, its menu is full of maple, bacon, beer and sea salt (Portland staples), and it’s got that industrial-modern-rustic ambiance that newer Portland restaurants are striving for. With hardwood floors, tree-slab tables, and plenty of brushed steel, cast iron and high polished copper you’ll think it can’t get better… and then you’ll see the bathroom.
Both rustic & luxurious, Infiniti’s bathroom will make you want to ditch your date and just wash your hands for the next hour. The sinks & vanity look like they belong in a rustic spa, and the floor tiles literally sparkle. The only downside to this bathroom is the dim, cool lighting. Just one look at yourself in the mirror and you’ll run in horror from the terrifying zombie you see in the reflection. Despite that tiny detail, this bathroom is a stunner, combining both rugged & refined details (just like Portland).
Outliers: Portland’s Trendiest Toilet
Hidden on the edge of the West End near the bridge is Outliers Eatery, a very new addition to the Portland dining scene. Boasting high ceilings adorned with futuristic glass chandeliers, sculptural metal paneling, and modern art – Outliers feels like an amalgamation of Star Trek and Mob-Era Vegas. Looking for a more local point of reference? Think Local 188 mixed with Walter’s or Gingko Blue. Pairing such a posh vibe with equally unique food and drink offerings, Outliers seems to have it all, and then there’s the bathroom…
Fans of the offbeat, and more specifically Hunter S. Thompson’s obscure, “gonzo” culture will rejoice upon entering the men’s room at Outliers. Like the rest of the restaurant, every detail is intentional; from the “cracked” black tile floor, to the industrial-chic metal walls, intentionally “broken” mirror, and black toilet paper. Best yet, there’s a payphone that plays recordings of Thompson’s stories. A gentleman with a few drinks and whatever else in him could easily spend a half hour just enjoying the vibe of the room, which feels as much like an upscale Manhattan club as it does a scene from one of the Saw movies.
Portland Bathrooms Are Number 1! …. And Also Number 2.
Whether you’re just out for a drink, or sitting down for a full-on pre fixe dinner; there’s no need to hold it until you get home! Portland has many more lavish lavatories and beautiful bathrooms just waiting to be discovered. Once you’ve done your business, take some time to enjoy the details of the room, snap a few selfies, and enjoy a moment of solitude before you go back to dinner. When your date asks you why you spent so long in the bathroom, just explain that I told you to.