Basking in the Casks: Sakagura's Five-Star Toilets

Knock before barreling in.


Though we're suckers for that new-bathroom smell (aah, the leather at Amalia, the pine at Morandi), every now and then we get the sudden urge to revisit those restrooms that really raised the watermark. One such classic lies deep in the bowels of a midtown office building, immediately beyond the hidden entry of perennial sake spot Sakagura.


Theme: Two gigantic canisters modeled after sake barrels; framed Kabuki masks indicate gender.

Privacy: A sliding lock on the heavy copper door hermetically seals the space. You might as well be inside a giant taiko drum.

Amenities: A can of Lysol, a clay bowl of potpourri, and a Noguchi-style lamp sit on a shelf. On the marble sink, wooden trays hold paper towels and soap.

Drawbacks: Only one vessel per person, so you can’t spend as much time in here as you’d want to.

Strategy: Should the men’s room pique your interest while you're in the women’s room (or vice versa), remember that both are within a stone’s throw of the check-in stand. Get a friend to distract the hostess before you do any Kabuki-style gender-bending.

Rating: — Daniel Maurer