For an assignment in class we were tasked to write a blog about anything we wanted, naturally I wrote about my secret obsession for bathroom aesthetic and cleanliness. And with that, "Nature Called, I Answered: Bathroom Reviews in Austin, Texas" was born. From generic hand soap to toilet paper quality, even lighting. I take note of it all. I live by the phrase, "you're only as good as your bathroom" and now I'm here to give you the inside scoop on the best and worst of Austin's bathrooms.
Diamond in the Buff
Let’s start from the top, 6th street aka Dirty 6th. The first time I ever heard the nickname “Dirty” in reference to Sixth Street all my friends spoke about the tourists, the dirty streets and the usual drunk parade of college students, but my one track brain was already thinking about how the quality of the toilet paper must be dismal. As for the quality of the soap? Forget it! Most bars/restaurants between Brazos and I-35 seem to think soap is not a thing people actually use. Which they are very wrong because, germs.
East 6th is brimming, literally, with what seems like ½ ply paper. By brimming I mean you can count on at least 90% of all toilets to be clogged, which truly amazes me considering the toilet paper practically dissolves with a single touch? I’m a 2 ply or die type of gal. The Rolling Stones were right, you can’t always get what you want and in this case it’s hand soap and paper towels/hand dryers.You either get a hand dryer/paper towel dispenser that works or soap; you have officially exited what is called Dirty 6th if you can find both in one restroom. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than walking out of the bathroom with wet hands but alternatively, germs. If I can at least manage a quick rinse and dry, I can convince myself I won’t contract anything. (PRO TIP: bring hand sanitizer wherever you go, this can also be applied to life in general) Now enough of the dirty, I have found a true diamond in the buff, my needle in the haystack, the beacon of hope (and cleanliness) on 6th Street, Easy Tiger.
Easy Tiger is a hip hangout located on East 6th a little past Red River. It’s a beer garden, bakery and let’s be honest a bathroom that could inspire tears. The second I walked through the doors and realized my shoes weren’t sticking to the ground, I knew I had made it to the promised (porcelain) land. But for me to truly measure the worth of the place, I had to haul ass to the ladies and check out what they had to offer.
The inside of Easy Tiger itself is very tavern-like; dark walls, exposed brick, dim lighting and large wooden tables. I had to make sure the exterior measured up to the true interior, the bathroom. The door was dark green with very cool typography spelling out the word “Ladies,” with gold doorknob. The interior was 2 flaws short of perfect. Dark green wooden stalls with (SHOCKER) working locks and lo and behold unclogged toilets?! It was a real Christmas in September miracle. There was exposed brick walls with really pretty maroon and gold foil wallpaper on the ceiling and wait for it … soap and paper towels, dreams do come true. The mirror above the sink was long and oval with a pretty adornment on top as well as a full body mirror on the side wall, a pretty sweet perk am I right, ladies? Let’s just say it’s the type of restroom where you don’t even feel the need to use the hover technique, if you know what I mean.
*wink wink* My only real contention was the fact the floor was crazy slippery, but that’s like, a totally avoidable problem.
As for the men’s, I’m going to go out on a limb here and just assume that your bathroom is just as up to my standards as the Ladies.
I’ve attached a picture, excuse the “artistic” angle, I took the photo in means to Instagram. Yes, you heard right I actually wanted to Instagram the bathroom, that’s how much I loved it.
Overall a solid 9/10.
In Loo of it All
As a student at The University of Texas at Austin, I walk across 40+ acres everyday and well, nature calls. I have an ongoing list in my phone of all the best bathrooms on campus divided into categories like, cutest bathroom, best for #2, best hand soap, best if you’re in the UTC area, etc. You would be surprised by how many different bathrooms are good for different reasons. I wouldn’t necessarily say there are bathrooms I hate but there are definitely bathrooms to avoid. I’m about to give you the inside scoop on the bathrooms around campus.
The best all around bathroom on campus is definitely the one(s) in the SAC (Student Activities Center), it’s far as hell but worth it. Those bathrooms are meticulously cleaned, I swear, every 20 minutes. The soap, though generic, smells great and isn’t too drying on the hands. They always have functioning hand dryers and even cute little baskets with free samples of tampons, honestly what more could you ask for? Maybe one more central to campus but let’s not get greedy.
Next up, cutest bathroom on campus goes to the ones in the six pack. Old yes, updated no but aesthetically pleasing nonetheless. The walls and floors in most of the bathrooms are really cute tile, the stalls are MARBLE (sorry, big marble fan) and the stall doors are this like oaky wood color. The marble in the bathrooms I have seen is usually dark almost navy blue with white accents. Some of the bathrooms even have books in them like old school books, Shakespeare and the Iliad, I wouldn’t expect any less from the liberal arts students. While it may not be the most updated and cleanest, I promise it’s cute.
Okay, let’s get to the real nitty gritty here, the bathrooms to avoid at all costs. It’s pretty simple, high traffic buildings yield the worst bathrooms, save for the SAC. I have made the mistake once, but really never again. Avoid Jester bathrooms, if you can, run to Greg if need be but seriously AVOID. There are more people in Jester than any other building at one time and so the bathrooms are just constantly in use and I just don’t think there are enough people on staff in there to keep up with them. Second, you want to avoid the Perry Castaneda Library (PCL) bathrooms at pretty much all costs. It’s always someone’s hell week and there are people who I honestly think live in the library and those bathrooms are just not too pleasing if you ask me.
The smaller categories I’ll cover in a pinch. Best soap goes to the bathrooms in Belo, maybe because Belo is one of the newer restrooms but their soap is amazing, doesn’t dry out the hands and smells delicious. Best private bathroom there is a tie, and both are equally central on campus which is a major plus. The union restroom on the third floor across from the Santa Rita room is maybe one of the most unused bathrooms on campus so you can do whatever nature maybe calling at the moment in total privacy. The bathroom on the bottom floor of the tower is a unisex bathroom and it’s ginormous and guaranteed to be open at all hours and is my personal fave.
Life of the Potty
This post is gonna be a little different, I decided to outsource my reviews to various friends. I wanted to hear what others thought about bathrooms specifically, coffeeshop bathrooms. I sent out a few messages simply asking, “what’s your least favorite or favorite coffeeshop bathroom?” I got a few “WTF” responses and a few serious ones. One of my favorite responders said, “Haven’t really thought of a bathroom in much depth before so thanks for the q” I mean, it was my pleasure really.
We’ll start with maybe the best/most serious response I got, it’s from senior Audrey Nguyen a philosophy and biology major about Bennu:
“In each stall, there’s a large chalkboard and chalk. So the bathroom wall ‘graffiti’ is a bit atypical, in that it’s encouraged and temporal. It’s cool seeing something different every time you’re in there. I tend to camp out there for hours on end, so it’s neat seeing how it changes over a short span of time. It gives you a kind of intimate access to the well beings, hopes, dreams, dispair of the other women or female identifying people in the place. More often than not, I’ll find something I need in the words on the wall.”
I mean damn, that’s a way better response than I expected. Doesn’t it make you want to run to that bathroom ASAP and read the whole wall?
Second, we have Olivia Arena a Pan II senior in the midst of her thesis spending most, if not all of her spare time at coffeeshops. She prefers Flightpath a little coffeeshop in the North Campus area.
“I really like flightpath as a place for studying in secluded north campus and for it’s bathroom? There’s good lighting, a full mirror, and a little velvety stool. The bathrooms are always cleaned and stocked. Additionally, they are gender neutral, which is super inclusive.”
I like secluded, I like velvet and I love a full length mirror.
Next up, we have Nikita Ahuja a junior marketing student who isn’t the biggest fan of Mozart’s bathroom, but like really, who is?
“I love mozarts and all that it has to offer, and for such a nice place, I would holistically expect a better set up. For one of my favorite places in Austin, it easily has my least favorite restroom. First off, it’s separate from the coffee shop itself (which is even a bigger problem when you have things like your laptop out). It doesn’t make sense. Also, once you make the trek, it’s like a gross public park restroom; it doesn’t fit the Mozart ambiance at all. I don’t think a location’s bathroom can necessarily make the place, but it definitely can break it, which it does in Mozart’s case.”
I mean, RETWEET sister.
Lastly, short and sweet my dear friend Cullen Bounds a Plan II and CS major says he likes Epoch.
“You never really have to wait in line to use one of the two gender neutral bathrooms and they’re always really clean. It’s a streamlined experience.“
Efficient, gender neutral, A+ from me.
My favorite part about this post was not only do all my friends now know about my secret passion for bathrooms, but their responses were actually well thought out. I think it made a few people realize that they do actually pay way more attention to restrooms than they think. I mean everyone uses one right?