We’ve seen many items used as restroom décor — everything from S&M; gear to Sartre tomes. But we had never encountered live creatures used as wallpaper until we entered 128 Billiards, an obscure pool joint with a tropical-themed front room that gives the Rainforest Café a run for its money. True, this is Chinatown, where you can buy pet turtles on the sidewalk and piranhas at more than one aquarium supply shop, but an aquarium in the wall?
Concept: The Coney Island Aquarium — specifically, a fish tank in which exotic breeds swim amid empty tomato-sauce cans, a Warholian touch — meets dirty-tile dinginess worthy of a Coney Island housing project.
Privacy: One side of the tank looks onto the barroom while another side looks onto the bathroom. The murky water and lack of light outside of the fish tank make it fairly translucent.
Amenities: A sink, toilet bowl, an overflowing waste basket, and a mop in one corner.
Drawbacks: The narrow room is barely large enough to unfold an ironing board in, and the toilet is just a few feet from the fish tank. There’s nowhere to hide.
Strategy: Take your jacket in with you if you want to cover up. And don’t even think of tapping the glass with a pool stick.