We’ve tracked down London’s best and most eccentric thrones…
9 Conduit St, W1
Sketch’s white, egg-shaped cubicles are not the place to dash into if you’re touching cloth.. Bemused visitors to the Mayfair food, art and music venue have struggled to work out these free-standing pods (each of which houses a unisex toilet) for more than a decade. Luckily, an attendant is usually on hand to show you the functioning of your alien cocoon.
2.The Hunter S
194 Southgate Rd, N1
Always wanted to wee in a woman’s mouth but can’t pluck up the courage to ask a real woman? Fear not, you can indulge your revolting little secret at Islington’s Hunter S pub, whose gents’ urinals are shaped like expectant ruby mouths. If, on the other hand, the giant gobs freak you out then you can distract yourself with the vintage porn that covers the lavatory walls.
126 Drury Lane, WC2
Spotted a theme to London’s toilet humour yet? This gaudy Turkish-themed restaurant in Covent Garden pioneered cheesy bog porn for the post-show crowd. The decor is quite ‘showbiz’ too: while nubile women gobble gents off above cisterns, the door of the men’s toilet features a naked woman giving a handjob to a jammy man who curiously resembles Jim Bowen off ‘Bullseye’.
4. The Princess Louise
208 High Holborn, WC1
The Victorians had a rather more prudish attitude to bodily functions than the Hunter S hipsters. But the spectacular chaps’ crappers in this Holborn gin palace, with their ornate tilework, marble-edged urinals and gleaming copper piping, suggest they liked a private fanfare all the same. Sorry, ladies: the nineteenth-century Princess Louise was a masculine domain. You’ll have to make do with modern loos that are best described as ‘bog standard’.
316 Queensbridge Rd, E8
This eccentric Hackney restaurant is a treasure trove of sphinxes, Jovian busts and gaudy classical sculptures. But the privies offer a more hardcore education. The tiles in the gents depict Restoration – yes, you guessed it – pornography: Samuel Pepys types indulge in despicable acts of low character with buxom nuns. In the ladies, equal depravity is expressed in the medium of ceramics, but with an Egyptology/hieroglyphics theme: ‘Carry on Cleo’ meets ‘Carry on at Your Convenience’.
329 Fulham Rd, SW10
A place to show off shoulder pads and blowdried hair (and that’s just the boys), this club is a shrine to the ’80s in general and Margaret Thatcher in particular. Wets are not welcome in the lav, where you’ll find Maggie’s most famous speeches played on a loop. Her firm addresses on striking miners and invading the Falklands are, we hear, a great cure for constipation.
7. Cellar Door
00 Aldwych, WC2
This tiny bar used to be a public lavatory (hence the weird address), but it’s the current facilities that are its real talking point. The toilet door is see-through until the lock is turned, leading to the comic sight of worried punters peering out through it in case it’s a one-way mirror.
8. Crazy Bear
26-28 Whitfield St, W1
The toilets in this swanky Thai restaurant and cocktail bar are some of London’s most disorientating pee portals. You press a mirror to enter and, once inside, there are so many reflective surfaces that a simple hair-check makes you look like a sideshow attraction. The sink is shared between the men’s and women’s loos, meaning there’s a risk of a soapy fingering from a member of the opposite sex.
9. Bus Driver Hub
Dagenham Dock station, Chequers Lane, Essex
It’s not all louche loos: some toilets win prizes and have a social conscience. At first sight, this large translucent cylinder under a flyover in Dagenham looks like a UFO. But it’s actually a widdle hub for local bus drivers – and it received a Royal Institute of British Architects award in 2010. Julian Cowie’s design includes a ‘green’ roof, waterless urinals and photosensitive light timers – which, for a bus drivers’ rest stop, is fairly space age.
10. The Shard
32 London Bridge St, SE1
At last: a legal way to get high in a toilet. It won’t be open to the public until February, but the full-length glass window next to this loo at the top of the Shard offers spectacular views across London. Recommended even if you have vertigo. After all, what better location to wet yourself in fear?