By Mason Johnson
Terrible public washrooms — and there are many — tend to stick out more in my mind than cool ones.
I still remember my horror when, beset by food poisoning before I even had time to order a drink, I ran into the bathroom of Ukrainian Village’s [REDACTED BAR] to find that their accommodations were less than ideal: one toilet, no toilet seat, no lock, the door was out of reach of the toilet, and old barflies kept walking in on me.
Worst of all, the bathroom had no character. The walls weren’t adorned with eccentric photos of, say, Elvis, and the graffiti wasn’t the least bit original.
One recent visitor to our city (which itself can occasionally resemble a toilet, but one we all love) seemed to dedicate a great deal of his trip not to the sights or the food, but to our toilets.
“My name is Dan and I find great amusement in taking photos of toilets,” Dan Schaumann, an Australian musician, declares in his blog, Toilography (warning: naughty language). Having looked at his photos, I believe him.
On his blog, you can see toilets not only from Chicago, but all over the world — Canada, Australian, Singapore and more.
For his brief trip to Chicago, he crowdsourced toilet suggestions from Reddit. From there, he made an itinerary to visit 12 bars from the list of suggested toilets, and documented their greatness with his camera.
He really seemed to like our graffitied walls.
Through the photos, you can see he wasn’t looking for luxury, he was looking for character.
If you were to ask me, “Hey, Mason! Wanna poop at the Empty Bottle?” I would decline.
But looking at the Empty Bottle’s bathroom — which I’ve seen at least a hundred times — through an outsider’s eyes did make me realize that, yes, even our dumpy bar bathrooms have character.
Not all of the bathrooms he visited were covered in graffiti. One of the more interesting ones he visited was Bat 17’s, which is in Evanston.
Instead of walls covered in bad sexual references, it sports walls covered in toilet paper rolls.
Then there was Streeter’s Tavern, which not only has a trough urinal (these seemed cool when I was a kid and would go to Wrigley Field… they seem less cool now) and a two-way mirror.
It should be noted that the two-way mirror allows you to see into the bar and not the other way around.
Schaumann ended up visiting the following locations: Bat 17, Club Foot, Cole’s Bar, Filter Cafe, Half Acre, House of Blues, Kuma’s Corner, Reggie’s, Punch House, The Boiler Room, Empty Bottle, and Streeter’s Tavern. To see all the toilets he photographed, go to Toilography. Be forewarned, some of the graffiti on these bathroom walls is EXTREMELY inappropriate.