Chicago's 8 best must-poop-in public bathrooms

Published On 12/09/2014 Published On 12/09/2014
Jim Vondruska

A list of the best places to poop in a pinch Downtown? Sure, why not. A list of the eight best must-poop-in public bathrooms in all of Chicago, though? Now we're talkin'. With help from Australian toilet connoisseur Dan Schaumann, whose Toilography blog documents bathrooms the world over, we assembled this veritable Chicago bathroom bucket list, with everything from skyline views, to naughty wallpaper, to the best bar graffiti around.

Jim Vondruska

Streeter's Tavern

River North
(Men's room only) If you've ever wanted the feeling of BM'ing behind the mirror of a police interrogation room (that's normal), Streeter's has you covered. Or something. Above the trough urinal is a one-way mirror where you can see all the action inside the bar.

Jim Vondruska


Noble Square
The modern art aesthetic extends to the washrooms as you enter through an airlock door (!) into a tiny wash closet decked with indie rock posters. The door can be tricky -- so know that it works like a darkroom, where you stand in the cylinder and rotate the walls around you to gain passage.

Jim Vondruska

Signature Lounge at the John Hancock Center

(Women's room only) Poo with a view of the city inside the lounge level of the Hancock Center above the conservatory. Whether the Chicago skyline puts you in a relaxed state or doing the Tilt shook something loose, enjoy a privilege the men's washroom doesn't afford.

Dan Schaumann 

Cole's Bar

Logan Square
Having a dive bar so firmly entrenched in hipster territory does make for some masterful stall graffiti. In between bands or comics, abscond to the restroom for entertaining scrawlings ("your love is like a river, stinky and polluted" ). Bonus points for packing your own Sharpie.

Dan Schaumann 

House of Blues

River North
Alicia Keys sung it best with "This Toilet's on Fire" (pretty sure those are the lyrics). Such is the case in the House of Blues "engulfed in flames" bathroom, where even if your favorite way-past-their-prime '90s band is stinking up the joint, you can too.

Jim Vondruska

Punch House

Only in Dusek's basement bar can you tip back dainty punch cups, house a pot of fondue, and then spew your extraneous thoughts on a chalkboard in the bathroom. Maybe keep your Picamon(?!) feelings to yourself, though.

Flickr/Jenni Konrad

Kuma's Corner

A top-notch burger joint calls for a top-notch crapper, which Kuma's provides via excellent bathroom wallpaper that depicts well-captioned vintage pinups for the girls and regrettable tattoo designs for the guys.

Sean Cooley


Lincoln Park
There's a beautiful symmetry to dropping logs inside a log cabin-themed bar. Inside the restroom you'll be surrounded by thousands of pennies epoxied onto the walls, guaranteeing you'll always have a view of Abe Lincoln, America's greatest president, struck down just before flush toilets came over to the United States. This one's for you Abe.

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Sean Cooley is Thrillist's Chicago Editor and he's making a Spotify playlist for Alicia Keys "This Toilet's on Fire". Follow him on Twitter @SeanCooley.

Dan Schaumann is a singer/songwriter and an avid traveller who runs the blog Toilography. Follow him on Instagram @Toilography.

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1. Streeter's Tavern 50 E Chicago, Chicago, IL 60611 (River North)

Escape the madness of the Mag Mile at the self-proclaimed "Greatest Bar Below Earth", whose ample basement-style entertainment includes pool, foosball, and a drinking-games-friendly ping pong table, and whose ample winter warmers include Rumple Minze'd cocoa, though don't tell your woman you were getting boozed up with some Swiss Miss.

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2. Ruxbin Kitchen 851 N Ashland, Chicago, IL 60642 (Ukrainian Village)

Edward Kim’s Ruxbin is an eccentric ode to culinary dissonance. Not much about the New American restaurant makes conventional sense: interior walls are papered with torn out book pages, a square dining room has rounded edges, and there is perhaps a bit too much orange in the color palette. Then there’s the menu. Heirloom beets meet spiced yogurt, cured egg yolk, and pickled mussel; country fried celeriac is escorted by white bean “ranch,” rooftop greens, tomato confit, and brussel sprouts. But the dishes are most compelling because they are ephemeral; the roster rotates within the season, meaning you won’t see the same thing twice. But don’t get ahead of yourself’; with a no-reservations policy in place, you’ll be fortunate if you can even get seated a second time around.

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3. The Signature Room at the 95th 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Streeterville)

This fancy schmancy bar and restaurant on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center boasts panoramic city views through massive floor-to-ceiling windows. The Signature Room is probably Chicago's most jaw-dropping location for drinks, but beware: the prices are steep. It doesn't really matter what you order -- be it a martini and high-end tater tots or champagne and a seafood tower because after all, you're there for the ambience.

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4. Cole's 2338 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Cole's is a down-home dive serving up cheap brews, great tunes, and a stellar crowd.

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5. House of Blues Chicago 329 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Near North Side)

Opened in 1996, House of Blues is a concert venue/brunch spot in Marina City. Go for the Sunday Gospel Brunch, and stay for the plentiful booze selection.

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6. Dusek's 1227 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (Pilsen)

Helmed by Longman & Eagle's Jared Wentworth, this Michelin-starred restaurant in Pilsen serves upscale American pub food. Dusek's takes everything you love and makes it better, whether that's cooking French fries in beef fat or topping a juicy hamburger with bacon marmalade and serving it on a house-baked pretzel bun. There are more than two dozen beers on tap -- some are from Chicago, others are from abroad -- and daily beer specials. The late-night menu serves the aforementioned burger and fries until 1am every night.

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7. Homeslice 938 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

Homeslice is a retro log cabin pizzeria boasting 30 signature thin crust pies made with six base sauces (BBQ, ranch, spinach ricotta... ). The interior is incredibly rustic, with 400 pounds of exposed Douglas Fir tree beams that Oregon natives imported from the Northwest.