Whatever factors into your selection of a Bend restaurant, bathrooms probably don’t play a role. But maybe they should.
Here are six Bend eateries whose awesomely-original privies will have you taking extra potty breaks.
10below Restaurant & Lounge
10below is the spot that first sparked my intrigue for uber-special restaurant bathrooms when the Oxford Hotel opened back in 2010.
The ladies room features brightly-colored doors, funky chandeliers, cool art on the walls, and a long, sloped sink that spans half the room and will tempt you to spend hours washing your hands.
I will confess I’ve had dinner dates where I’ve intentionally made two trips to the restroom just to spend more time in this surprisingly luxurious space.
Luckily, there’s more to enjoy at 10below than just the bathroom. Their happy hour is one of the best in town, with both early and late-night options to be had. Try the house-smoked pacific salmon spread or the flat iron roasted cauliflower and crispy brussels with hazelnut gremolata and tahini.
If it’s dinner you’re after, go for the Draper Valley crispy chicken with Dungeness crab, braised spinach, asparagus, rice pilaf, and sauce hollandaise. Pair it with something from their killer wine list, or opt for a selection from their awesome cocktail menu, like the Secret Garden with muddled cucumber and lime, Hendrick’s gin, grapefruit liqueur, and thyme simple syrup.
Bonus: An extra drink gives you one more excuse to visit the restroom. You’re welcome.
A relative newcomer to the Bend Ale Trail, beautifully-built Immersion Brewing is also one of the newest breweries in Bend. If you’re out there trekking Bend’s trail of beer, plan a potty stop here to scope out their amazing industrial-modern restrooms.
Seriously, the sink? Awesome. Everything about it from the water pressure gauges to the flat stone top (angled back oh-so-very-slightly to let water drain) is a work of art.
The beer here is pretty awesome as well, with their “Beer Box” taster tray offering you the best option to sample several of their yummy brews. If you’re ordering just one pint, pick “Get Along Little Hoppies,” a limited-time, seasonal fresh hop beer with proceeds going to the Herd U Needed a Home herding dog rescue organization in Bend.
And even though I’m not normally a dessert fanatic, their Crème brûlée seriously made me swoon.
Extra credit: Since Immersion Brewing is just a short walk from Crux Fermentation Project, you may as well meander that direction for another delicious pint and the chance to scope out their restrooms wallpapered entirely in pages from vintage brewing guides.
Anthony’s Home Port
I love the ladies room layout at Anthony’s Home Port in the Old Mill District almost as much as I love their ahi nachos, which is saying a lot.
Each bathroom stall has its own private sink and mirror behind a locked door, which adds a nice level of privacy and luxury to your bathroom experience.
When I emailed a marketing colleague in the Old Mill District and told him about my love of the Anthony’s restrooms, he generously offered to snap a pic. What I didn’t anticipate (but probably should have) is that he’d give me a glimpse of the men’s room.
While the menfolk at Anthony’s may not get individual sinks in each stall and pretty-smelling soap, they do get televisions—yes, individual television sets!—above each urinal. How cool is that?
When you’re not hanging out in the bathroom watching TV or washing your hands at your own private sink, try the aforementioned ahi machos with one of their stellar wine flights.
If you don’t mind eating a bit early, their weekday Sunset Dinner Specials offered until 6 p.m. are one of the best deals in town and include an appetizer, chowder or soup, your entrée, and a dessert for one super-low price.
McMenamins Old St. Francis School
If you’re feeling nostalgic for elementary school, journey back in time with dinner and a bathroom break at McMenamins Old St. Francis School.
Located in Downtown Bend, this former 1930s Catholic schoolhouse underwent a transformation in 2004, morphing into a hotel complete with classrooms-turned-lodging rooms, multiple pubs, a brewery, movie theater, event space, and an amazing saltwater soaking pool.
It’s a great place to explore, taking in artwork and memorabilia that pays homage to the history of the school. You’ll find that in the restrooms as well, where vintage sinks, urinals, and décor take you right back to your grade school days.
Staying at McMenamins is a fabulous idea, but if you’re not doing that, at least make time to grab a beer at one of the pubs (O’Kanes is my personal fave) and plan a soak in the pool. No visit to McMenamins is complete without an order of their Cajun tots, so make sure to add those to your pub order, along with a pint of Ruby.
10 Barrel’s Eastside Pub
Bend visitors who stick to the city’s popular Westside might never realize there’s a burgeoning dining scene on the quieter east end of the city.
Case in point, 10 Barrel Brewing’s Eastside Pub, which opened at the start of summer 2017. The space boasts plentiful outdoor seating, fire pits, an impressive tap list, incredible food, and a super-cool rustic/industrial vibe.
That vibe extends to the bathrooms, with sleek-looking stone sinks and stalls constructed from what looks like repurposed barn wood. Note: Don’t rub against the stalls, as they’re a bit splintery. But if you’re in the habit of rubbing body parts on bathroom walls, you have bigger issues than I can address in this blog post.
10 Barrel’s selection of pizzas changes regularly to take advantage of what’s seasonal. My current fave (and likely to disappear soon as we shift into fall) is the Summer Pie, featuring an avocado cream base, roasted poblano, zucchini, squash, smoked corn, and cherry tomato. I add pancetta to appease my carnivorous instincts.
My stepdaughter is obsessed with the Jaca, which has garlic cream sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, pulled pork, sausage, pineapple, and jalapenos. You’ll also find an awesome array of salads, wraps, and appetizers among the pub fare. Whatever you order, make sure to pair it with something from their beer menu, or treat yourself to the ten-sample taster tray.
Bonus round: Newport Avenue Market
Okay, technically this isn’t a restaurant. But it may as well be, considering Newport Avenue Market offers a staggering array of foodie-friendly culinary treats, ranging from freshly-made sushi and deli items, to artisan cheeses, locally-raised meats, produce, and gourmet goodies.
In other words, this is where you want to go for picnic supplies or to stock the kitchen in your Bend vacation rental.
Grocery store bathrooms are often a little odd, requiring a trek through stockrooms or employee breakrooms to reach a space that always feels a bit like you’re not supposed to be there. While the journey to reach the Newport Market restroom is no different, the space itself is a delightfully-surprising oasis of happy.
The space features brightly-colored tile work, flowers on the counter, and walls lined with photos of employees’ pets. Spend a few moments getting your zen on in the bathroom (or whatever else you do in there). Then wash your hands, grab a shopping cart, and stock up on French bread, gourmet cheese, artisan meats, a few grapes or pears, and a killer bottle of wine. Voila! Instant picnic, and you’re already in your happy space to enjoy it.