Narrowing down to just 10 of the best is a challenge. London is a goldmine of hidden gems that go above and beyond in the lavatorial department. In this list I've aimed for variety with a few old favourites and a couple offerings that you probably won't see on other top-10 lists.
World Toilet Day (yes, that's a real thing!) is coming up on the 19th November, so what better way to celebrate?
This artsy cavern on Conduit Street offers multiple wining and dining options from two Michelin star dining in The Library to high tea in The Gallery or The Glade for an evening cocktail. But the toilets are the real talking point. It is truly an experience that engages all the senses (in the best way possible) as you step into a sparkling white room with jewel-coloured lighting and each toilet encased in an alien-egg-pod with its own unique soundscape.
2) Cellar Door
“An intimate bar beneath the Aldwych in a space just big enough for cats (both feline and human) to swing," Cellar Door is a must for all committed toileteers. In addition to its former incarnation as a gentlemen's toilet (whose regulars are reputed to have included Wilde, Orton and Guilgud), the bar has some of the most magical toilets in London. First time users will find themselves confronted with see-through doors providing a clear view of the inside. Those brave enough to risk it will find that once the doors are locked they frost over, providing momentary privacy.
3) The Knight's Templar Pub
Weatherspoons, as a general rule, are guaranteed to provide a toilet experience above the rest, having cleaned up multiple Loo of the Year awards over the past decade. Their finest, beyond a doubt, is the ladies loo at The Knights Templar. Ladies can ditch the date, and lounge on the sofas in the cavernous mirrored halls, or say hello to the statue (affectionately known to the pub staff as Myrtle.)
4) Princess Louise
When Sam Smith's took over The Princess Louise pub in 2006 over £2m was spent to restore it to its former glory as a Victorian gin palace. The Grade II listing extends to the gentlemen's toilets, which boast beautiful tiling and floor-length urinals, circa 1872. The ladies have to make do with contemporary facilities, as it is a well-known fact that Victorian ladies did not have bodily functions.
5) The Parcel Yard PubPentonville, Kings Cross Road
Of course you've been to a crapper, but have you ever been on a Crapper?
Thomas Crapper didn't invent the toilet, but was, nonetheless, a famous sanitary-wares manufacturer. Punters of The Parcelyard can relieve themselves on ‘The Venerable', the most popular model of Crapper's new line of old toilets.
6) The Finborough Arms
You won't see The Finborough Arms on most other top-10 lists largely because their toilets, while pleasant enough, are nothing to write home about. The reasons to come here are historical. It used to be where Thomas Crapper himself would stop for a drink. If you want to party in true Crapper style, he had a taste for Champagne!
7) Aqua Shard
The Shard contains Europe's highest toilet, but half way up in the swanky cocktail bar at Aqua Shard you can still get a pretty good eyeful. Standing gents have a view across London, while ladies get the same view from the sink.
8) Piccadilly Institute ?Washroom Gaming has come to London. The quirky Piccadilly Institutue club is just one of a growing list of places where gents can take toileting to a whole new interactive level. Games range from shooting penguins to scoring football goals. A full list of participating venues can be found on the Captive Media website. Women are left out of the fun due to “anatomical challenges", unless you pack a she-wee!
9) Crazy Bear
The toilets at Crazy Bear are equally as crazy as the name suggests, like stepping into a disco ball, a space for reflection in quite a literal sense. The sinks are shared between the ladies and gents, leading to potential hours of hilarity for the new user encountering unexpected hands from the other side.
10) WC Wine & Charcuterie
A fun mix of grunge and glamour, Wine & Charcuterie in Clapham is the newest addition to the toilet conversion scene. Here you can reserve your own intimate cubicle/booth for drinks and nibbles.
Not feeling boozy? Here are a couple bonus stops suitable for the whole family.
Downstairs, 27a Foley Street, London W1W 6DY
Many of the original features of the charming toilet conversion, Attendant, have been left in, including the urinals where you can sit and drink (though it is preferred that you attend to your other business in the dedicated toilet!). The sea-salt caramel brownies are highly recommended.
The Convenience?Brooksby's Walk, London E9 6DF
By day the former toilet, The Convenience is home to NANA's Café, a social enterprise run by grandmothers offering comfort food. By night, it becomes a local bar and canteen with different local chefs for three-month residencies.
Image courtesy of Jose Farinah.
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