Restaurants with Stylish Restrooms

by | Aug 20, 2018

Today’s restaurant owners spend thousands of dollars creating unique, enticing establishments that reflect their food philosophies. Everyone knows that we “eat with our eyes,” so that means that the food needs to look appetizing, if not artful, on the plate. But it also means that the spaces in which we enjoy that food need to appeal as much as the meal. Whether casual and quirky, funky and fun or sleek and sophisticated, the ambiance must be as on trend as the food. Yet, even some of the most successful restaurants check their style at the door—the restroom door, that is. However, these five restaurants are among those in Coastal Virginia that make sure you can drink, dine and do your business in style.


Amber Ox Public House

When Chris Cook and Andrew Voss, two longtime friends and collaborators in the restaurant biz, decided to open their own place, the result was creative, casual and cuisine- and craft beer-forward. Located in Williamsburg, this establishment is more cool than Colonial, though the ox in the name nods to the city’s agricultural past, c. 1600s. This gastropub’s open kitchen, live-edge communal tables and garage-style doors that open to the outside create a relaxed vibe on the bar side with somewhat more traditional seating on the restaurant side. What Voss calls “curated design” extends even into, especially, the men’s restroom where the term “the can” takes on new meaning. Here, the urinals are crafted from gleaming kegs mounted on walls clad in white subway tiles with a vintage vibe that complements the reclaimed wood plank walls and stall doors. Concrete floors and a framed illustration of an 1886 keg patent complete the look. 521 Prince George St., Williamsburg, 757-790-2299,


Copper and Oak Craft Spirits

Located in Olde Towne, this award-winning establishment likes to say that they didn’t inherit anything; rather they have created something new. Take a tour to see how their custom still, 600-gallon mash tun, state-of-the-art "Apollo" fermentation tanks and whisky and bourbon barrels together create the alcoholic alchemy. Appointed with antique furniture, the tasting room is separated from the distillery by a 75-foot wall of reclaimed antique farmhouse windows providing unobstructed views of the distilling process. Gin, moonshine, and whisky flow freely. And when its time to “go,” you will see that this sense of style continues in the priceless privy where real copper pennies function as retro “penny” tiles on the floor. Exposed brick walls, black subway tile, a gold gilt mirror and hand towels in a wall-mounted wire basket provide a backdrop for the show stopper: a hammered copper sink set into an aged oak barrel, its metal banding complementing the oiled bronze faucet. 739 High St., Portsmouth, 757-966-2563,



Tim and Kristina Chastain, husband and wife chef and restauranteur, respectively, opened their restaurant complex in the ViBe District, quickly becoming an industrial-chic gastrobpub-hub. Known for both style and substance, this popular restaurant serves contemporary tavern fare, crafted cocktails and carefully selected craft beer in a 1940s building on the Virginia Beach Historic Register. Honoring tradition and innovation is what this establishment is all about. Even the women’s restroom, especially, looks both backward and forward. Dramatic Art Deco-inspired wallpaper from Brooklyn, N.Y., features a sizzling pink and white fish scale motif on a black background that sets the tone for this in-house designed outhouse. Black painted wooden stalls, a floating white ceramic sink topped by an antique mirror and a floating wooden shelf that holds a soap dispenser and a framed reproduction of a c. 19th century painting of ballerinas in pink and white tutus keep it retro and relevant. 501 Virginia Beach Blvd., A, Virginia Beach, 757-822-6008,


Photos by Modest Monkey Photography


Since 2006, Terrapin has carved out an award-winning niche for itself by serving a changing menu of exquisitely flavored seasonal food inspired by organic farmers and local watermen. Here you’ll find elegant snacks, salads, soups, seafood and steaks—including a cauliflower steak—impeccably prepared according to the discerning palate of Chef Rodney Einhorn. Just as elevated as the cuisine is the pair of refined his and hers reading rooms. Identical, save for the subject of the large, contemporary photographs by artist and server, Stephen Brown, these restrooms feature an accent wall of the same exotic zebrawood that graces the restaurant, creating a cohesive flow, if you will. Mid-century pendant lights, vessel sinks atop floating Carrera marble and zebrawood vanities, polished chrome lever-style hardware, and striated wood storage cubes combine classic and contemporary forms and finishes in the most appealing way. 3102 Holly Rd., #514, Virginia Beach, 757-321-6688,



Toast offers some of the best things on sliced bread—make that house-made Black Sesame Milk Bread—like egg salad with kimchi pesto and pecans, along with enticing sides, chili and grits bowls, salads, sweets, sodas, beer, wine, cocktails, coffee and tea. The vibe is creative, cool and eclectic, including in the closet; the water closet that is. Allegedly the site of many an Instagram video, this restroom combines a clean, contemporary edge—a floating stainless steel sink, orange melon walls, sophisticated taupe-on-white botanical wallpaper with a graceful linear tulip motif and a black ceiling—with … wait for it … a disco ball. Sound contrived? It’s not. It lends just the right amount of wrong. 2406 Colonial Ave., Norfolk,

Betsy DiJulio is a full-time art teacher, artist and curator with side hustles as a freelance writer, including for Coastal Virginia Magazine, and a vegan recipe developer and food stylist and photographer for Tofutti Brands.

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