Left: The flip-up sink at Smith and Mills. Right: The elevated toilet tank at Moto.Photos: Melissa Hom and Daniel Maurer
There are restaurants we love and then there are restaurants we’re in love with — Moto has been in the latter category ever since we had our first pint of Corsendonk there. Among its myriad charms is its WC. But last week, when we visited Smith and Mills, we discovered that our heart has room for more than one restroom — and somehow we don’t feel like we’re cheating. After all, Moto’s owner John McCormick had a hand in designing Smith and Mills, so these lovely lavatories are practically sisters. Hot!
Smith and Mills
Concept: A rolling door — with overhead wheels taken from an old meat locker — slides open to reveal a reconstructed 1902 elevator which for 60 years sat unused in the shaft of a landmark building on Broadway.
Privacy: Since there’s a one-inch gap above the door, gentlemen may fret that their tinkling (there’s no urinal) can be heard at the nearby bar. A few well-made Negronis eliminates such self-consciousness.
Amenities: A railcar sink that you lift into the wall so the water can drain.
Drawbacks: Press down the trumpetlike taps too hard and you’ll cause the faucet to spray all over your Rogan jeans.
Strategy: If you and your date are looking for “love in an elevator,” wait till the bartender is wrapped up in stirring a Negroni.
Concept: It would be crass to call this weathered enclosure a shit shack, but that’s what it is.
Privacy: There’s a waiting bench outside of the single WC, so nobody has to lurk near the door.
Amenities: Apple-scented liquid soap, a trash tin that an old sticker indicates is for disposable diapers.
Drawbacks: The rusty faucet, which looks like the sort of thing you’d attach a garden hose to, emits a deafening squeal when activated.
Strategy: If you’re tall enough to hit your head on the “Low Clearance” sign, you’ll have no trouble reaching the ceiling-level tank and flusher. If you’re a little person, bring someone to give you a boost.