There comes a time in every man’s life (and woman’s!) when he just has to go. Sure, we probably all love our own home bathrooms the most. They’re comfortable. We vaguely knows whose butts have familiarized themselves with them. They’re ours.
But when you thrust yourself into the wide open world, you’re putting yourself at the mercy of any establishment with indoor plumbing. From the luxurious to the derelict, bathroom quality is something we all know about, but rarely talk about.
Except for me, because I was raised by poorly-mannered wolves.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been to a wide variety of New Haven haunts. I have tasted their delectable treats. Sipped their exquisite cocktails.
Relieved myself in their facilities.
So now I present to you… the very best… and the most horrifying bathrooms I have experienced in New Haven.
(Disclaimer: I still haven’t been to Union League, which I assume has fancy-ass bathrooms. Or John Davenport’s, which are probably overrated anyway. I’m sure I’ve missed a few others, so just relax. This isn’t a courtroom.)
5. Prime 16
It’s private. It’s a little bit dark, but it’s generally very clean. Plus, this one time, I was waiting for it to open up, and a guy walked out. So I walk in, and there’s another guy still peeing in there! I had a lot of questions. About life. About myself. About what happens in the Prime 16 bathroom that I have no idea about.
4. Firehouse 12
It’s tucked away in the back, so if anything terrible happens back there, you won’t know about it right away. Which I guess is pretty good, right? It’s clean. It fits the decor of the rest of the bar. You get a bit of privacy between stalls.
And the waterless urinals have little bumblebees for you to aim for! It makes peeing a fun game! Everybody gets a prize!
3. Avro (formerly New Haven Meatball House)
I haven’t been to Avro yet but I’m going to go ahead and assume they didn’t tear out the bathrooms and replace them. They’re private. They’re roomy. You could probably play racquetball in there. Tastefully decorated, but not so well decorated that you get a little too comfortable.
I’m not sure why the Meatball House closed down, but it sure as hell wasn’t for low quality restrooms.
2. 116 Crown
While I may have mixed feelings about their luxurious cocktail menu, their bathrooms are almost peerless. Most of them are private (there is one weird one with three urinals). Dimly lit. Almost.. romantic? Am I supposed to feel romanced in the bathroom? Because I do. Oh boy do I.
Plus the sinks are pretty fancy, too, and they don’t make you use paper towels like some sort of peasant. No, they use real cloth. And they pass the luxury onto their drinks, I guess.
1. The Heirloom at Study
If you haven’t taken the time to get down to The Heirloom at the Study Hotel (not a confusing name at all, guys), you need to make a pit stop here, if only for their luxurious bathrooms. Well-maintained, elegant without being over-the-top. I’m surprised they don’t have a concierge in there giving me a shoulder rub while I stand at the urinal.
Is… is that the sort of thing I can pay extra for? I’m asking for a friend.
I love Bentara. I’m a Bentara apologist. Sure, the service can be spotty, but the food is fucking awesome. The Goreng Kicap and Rendang are the real deal. But at some point, someone just like.. forgot that people are actually going to use the bathrooms. “Maybe they’ll never have to go!”
Well, I do, and it’s gross. It’s not clean. There’s usually paper towels strewn everywhere. You’re supposed to be a classy place, Bentara, and you charge enough for your dishes. Get it together!
You’re making me say things like, “Yeah, it’s a great restaurant, but if you gotta go.. just… hold it.”
4. Anna Liffey’s
I love Anna Liffey’s. I spend more time there than I care to admit. The bartenders are great, you can always watch the game (whatever your pleasure), they have surprisingly good pub food, and they always have a drink special.
But that men’s bathroom downstairs? Yikes.
First of all, due to the close quarters of their basement area… if someone does something regrettable down there, you’re going to know about it. Everyone is going to know about it. It’s going to spread like an infection. You know what kills the mood of a party atmosphere?
The other, slightly more comical sin of the Liffey’s bathroom is that the air dryer hasn’t worked in a decade. So they have paper towels, right? Great. Except they’re on a shelf. Right above the urinal next to the sink.
That’s right. To dry your hands, you need to reach over someone who is actively urinating to grab a paper towel. Might as well pat him on the ass and wish him a good game while you’re at it since you’re such good friends now.
3. Stella Blues
I am not sure I should be surprised that a bar which sells cigarettes and Hot Pockets (that’s right) has a pretty gross bathroom. They have an interesting mix of clientele, many of which seem to have lost the use of running water at home. Perhaps, to them… this is the closest thing to a shower they’ll get.
Plus, there’s no mirror, which is nice. What, you’ve got some weird gunk smeared all over your face? Too fucking bad, that shit is staying there, cause mirrors are for losers. I guess if you’re a girl you probably have your own but I’m not so it blows.
2. Lighthouse Park
“Okay, I am definitely going to get murdered in here.” This is generally my first thought when I walk into the bathroom at Lighthouse Park.
I love Lighthouse Park. I think it’s an underrated New Haven gem. Free parking for residents. Great picnic area. A truly wild mix of people from all parts of New Haven. That gorgeous carousel.
And their charming murder bathrooms. Why don’t I just pee in the ocean like everyone else and the fish? I don’t know, man, why are you asking me so many goddamned questions? What is this, an interrogation?!
Whatever you do in your life… just pray you have never made some many consecutively poor decisions that you find yourself asking to use the bathroom at Mediterranea. Just hold it. Seriously.
Because as you walk through their dimly lit hallway, thinking you’ve just wandered onto the set of a horror movie… you’re only somewhat prepared for the bathroom.
Graffiti covers the stall walls. The ceiling looks like it might just cave in on you. If there’s toilet paper, you’re probably afraid to use it. You should be. I think I might’ve even seen a glory hole. I don’t know. I blacked out from shock for a second there.
This is rock bottom. This is the time to start thinking about what you’re doing with your life.
I want to like the bathrooms at Briq. They’re pretty nice. They’re private. They’re clean and I guess the sinks are pretty cool even if I feel like I’m washing my hands with a hose.
But nobody has any fucking idea which side is men’s and which is women’s. There’s a tiny little picture of either Marilyn Monroe or Dean Martin (I think). Nobody sees it.
So you’re bound to walk out of the bathroom and awkwardly bump into a girl doing her lipstick. Sexy.
Honorary Mention for Not a Bathroom But For the Single Grossest Place You’ll Ever Have to Go to the Bathroom: The Port-a-Potties on the Green
Not technically a bathroom, but for fuck’s sake, if you ever find yourself wondering whether you should brave one of the port-a-potties on the Green on a hot summer day or choose kidney failure…
… just choose kidney failure. Trust me.