It’s not every restroom that wins a James Beard Award, but design firm AvroKO clinched one when they remodeled a former warehouse in the style of a fifties municipal building, using mechanized pullies, a card catalog, and post office boxes–cum–bottle holders. The result was Public. We thought the restaurant’s new lounge, the Monday Room, was a good enough excuse to drop in, No. 2 pencils sharpened, and ponder those award-winning loos.
Concept: School meets pool. A heavy wooden door with UNISEX stenciled on glass invokes the principal’s office; earth-tone terra-cotta-tile walls channel a haute bath house.
Privacy: An old-fashioned turn-knob bolt locks out intruders, but one wonders how much can be seen through the door’s mail slot and leaded glass window.
Amenities: Floral air freshener, thick insignia paper towels, and stacks of individually wrapped hotel-size soap bars (there are liquid suds, too).
Drawbacks: Only two bathrooms so there’s sometimes a wait.
Strategy: Carry your coat or purse in with you so you can load up on signature soaps (the highlight of any self-respecting scenester’s toiletries).
Rating: — Daniel Maurer