The 5 Most Beautiful Restaurant Bathrooms In America

The annual Best Restroom Contest from Cintas reveals some unique designs.

Given that restaurants are spaces primarily concerned with eating, you wouldn't think that bathrooms would be so top of mind when choosing where to dine. Yet in recent years, it seems as though they've become as much of a talking point as the bread basket or the beverage program: Instagram accounts rate toilets. We seek refuge in restaurant restrooms. We select our fast food according to the corresponding commode. And underpinning all of this is the official award for America's Best Restroom, an annual contest by Cintas that rewards excellence in bathroom design. Is it any surprise that among this year's 10 nationwide finalists, five of them are located in restaurants?

From now through August 11, anyone can see pictures of the finalist bathrooms and vote on their favorites. Any publicly available restroom is eligible to apply for consideration each year, and finalists are those that demonstrate that they are "immaculate, inviting and, most of all, memorable."

"Cintas is on a mission to locate America's porcelain pioneers who are taking dramatic steps to create unforgettable facilities," reads the website in part.

In the past 10 years of winners, only one restaurant has received the honor: Two Cities Pizza Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, which took the title of Best Restroom in 2021 for its facilities that perfectly mimic the New York City Subway system, complete with graffiti and a speaker playing authentic train station recordings. But not all winners are quite so gimmicky; others are simply elegant, stylish dedications to the call of nature.

This year, the five restaurants in the running couldn't look more different from each other, but each one boasts fixtures you'd love to add to your Instagram grid. Here's a rundown of the finalists.

Drusie & Darr (Nashville, Tennessee)

This upscale restaurant by Jean-Georges in the Hermitage Hotel has a newly redesigned bathroom to match the building's Art Deco aesthetic. Marble surfaces and rose gold mirrors help make this "a show-stopping punctuation mark" to the restaurant itself.

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El Rio (San Francisco, California)

As an LGBTQ+ owned and operated inclusive dive bar, El Rio's bathrooms match its overall mission of accessibility. The bright tiled bathrooms, both ADA accessible and all-gender inclusive, were created in collaboration with TEF Design, which did the work pro bono.

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Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company (Melbourne, Florida)

Who doesn't want to take a leak in a 120-year-old hardware store converted into a gastropub? In these private bathroom stalls, you're treated to a peek at history, with period-faithful tin ceiling recreations and ornate mirrors that evoke early 20th century elegance. The business also notes that "There is even a brown, velvet fainting couch in the corner."

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Juban’s Creole Restaurant (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

This restaurant's bathrooms were renovated in 2022, and the clean lines and bold, deep colors feel distinctly of the moment, like staring at an Article catalog. There's a photo booth situated between the men's and women's restrooms, and a framed piece of art on the wall in the women's restroom spotlights perhaps the greatest Cher quote of all time: "Mom, I am a rich man."

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Rabbit Hole (Greenville, South Carolina)

"From the moment you enter, you are engulfed in wall-to-wall framed images of various noble rabbits." This is among the more unique descriptions of a restroom we've ever heard, and Rabbit Hole certainly puts its money where its mouth is, with a ceiling full of lush vegetation and a gallery wall that lets almost no paint peek through. You might be temped to stay in here a while, because a recording reads Alice in Wonderland while you powder your nose.

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