The nightclub bathroom is a scene unto itself. Whether cool and alluring or down and dirty, it's all about style.
Bathrooms were created for one very practical purpose. Nightclub bathrooms, however, laugh at practicality. Scoff, actually.
Flat-screen TVs, leather couches, a shoeshine guy? It's like they don't want you back at the bar. Of course, there's a flip side to all that opulence -- First Avenue didn't have doors on its men's stalls until recently.
In Twin Cities clubs, bathrooms range from the remarkable to the ridiculous. Some, like the sanctuary inside the Loring Pasta Bar, are so comfy that you really won't want to leave. Others, though, might have you running for a big bottle of Ajax.
STILL THE SEXIEST: LORING PASTA BAR
327 14th Av. SE., Mpls. 612-378-4849.
The bathroom experience at the Loring, which resembles a Tim Burton fantasy, starts even before you reach the restrooms: The walls ebb and flow like waves of crashing brick. Inside, the fairy-tale landscape continues with window-pane stalls snuggled into the bubbling brick. There's a giant tin sink embraced by metallic branches. Fiery red and yellow mini-globes hang from the ceiling. And everything -- everything -- is exposed. There's exposed brick. Exposed paneling. Exposed pipes. What else needs exposing here? Oh. You. Meow!
NO WAITING: MYTH
3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood. 651-779-6984. www.mythnightclub.com
For eons, women have complained -- and rightfully so -- about long lines at nightclub restrooms. Thankfully, the porcelain gods have spoken. Behold: this gi-normous new suburban club presents you with 44 women's stalls -- 22 upstairs, 22 downstairs. Equality at last.
TECHNO-RESTROOM: FINE LINE MUSIC CAFE
318 1st Av. N., Mpls. 612-338-8100. www.finelinemusic.com
Most live-music fans would risk a bladder explosion before abandoning a great set to run to the restroom. The Fine Line has you covered. A flat-screen TV above the men's trough shows a live feed from the stage (there's a TV in the women's bathroom, too). Whizzing never sounded so good.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: SPIN
10 S. 5th St., Mpls. 612-333-5055. www.spinmn.com
At this posh club in downtown Minneapolis, there's a row of single women's bathrooms next to the second-level bar, each with a crystal-clear glass door. Revealing? Not really. The doors instantly fog up when you close them. How it's done, nobody knows. And nobody at Spin is talking, either.
PAMPER THYSELF: BELLANOTTE
600 Hennepin Av., Mpls. 612-339-7200. www.bellanottempls.com
While the nightlife scene gets more and more luxurious, restroom attendants are surprisingly rare. But at the men's room in Bellanotte, you can get your shoes shined, while in the ladies', there is a mini-Walgreens of beauty supplies: perfume, gum, mouthwash, gel, bobby pins. What's next? Showers?
TAKE A BOW: NYE'S
112 Hennepin Av. E., Mpls. 612-379-2021. www.nyespolonaise.com
No one likes to scream out: "I can't hold it any longer!" But that's essentially what you're doing when you take a restroom break in the polka bar adjoining Nye's Polonaise Room. To get to the bathrooms, you have to walk directly in front of the stage where accordionist Ruth Adams pumps out the oom-pah music. Maybe that's why her group is known as The World's Most Dangerous Polka Band.
BEST D.I.Y. DECOR: TURF CLUB
No, we're not talking about the beloved rock venue's dodgy upstairs bathrooms. (Yikes!) The ones downstairs are a work of art -- especially the ladies', with its beautiful red-and-orange mural, inspired by Asian shadow puppets. The bright-orange men's room has graffiti dating back a decade or more. One scribble asks: "What's this for?" Stupid question, right?
TO CHILL OR NOT TO CHILL: VALENTINO'S
200 N. Concord Exchange, South St. Paul. 651-209-6850. www.valentinosnightclub.com
Deep in South St. Paul is this huge club that would have no problem being a big hit in downtown Minneapolis. Its restrooms are equally scrumptious. In the ladies', a powder room with high ceilings, enormous mirrors, quasi-vanities and a couple of comfy armchairs welcome clubbers looking for a breather. Women go in, but they don't ever seem to come out.
FOR THE SPORTS FAN: IKE'S FOOD & COCKTAILS
50 S. 6th St., Mpls. 612-746-4537. www.ilikeikes.com
Most good sports bars have the daily sports page posted above the urinals. Ike's, which is more of a dapper 1940s-style bar, has two flat-screen TVs playing the Golf Channel nonstop. They say golf is amazingly soothing when it's time to go -- although it's kind of weird being face-to-face with Tiger Woods with your pants down.
PROUD KING OF YUCK: 7TH STREET ENTRY
701 First Av. N., Mpls. 612-338-8388. www.first-avenue.com
Adored for its grime, the 7th Street Entry's lone unisex restroom is nasty. Nasty like the toilet that swallowed Ewan McGregor in "Trainspotting." Funny, though, nobody complains. So, rock on, dirty bathroom, rock on.