Young and Hungry

No Men’s Room at Republic in Takoma Park


Restaurateur Jeff Black learned his lesson at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace: It doesn't make sense to have a women's and a men's restroom. The ladies line up down the hall, while the men's room remains mostly empty. So at his new Takoma Park restaurant Republic, opening Sunday in partnership with his longtime chef Danny Wells, one door is marked "women," and the other is marked "anyone."

And because these days what you see at the toilet is just as important as what you see at the table, Republic's restrooms include some unique design touches. The "anyone" bathroom features a mugshot of Johnny Cash blown up on the walls. (Black and Wells are big Cash fans.)

The women's room is painted bright red with antique hand mirrors arranged like flower pedals. The mirrors range from cheesy (one has a picture of Marie Osmond) to beautiful and expensive (antiques made with sterling silver). "I'm ashamed to say how much I spent on some of these," Black admits. "But I fall in love with them and I'm like, 'I've gotta have it, gotta have it, gotta have it.'"



Photos by Jessica Sidman


  • Jonathan Padget

    Why can't there just be two "anyone" bathrooms? There will surely be times when someone will tie up with the anyone bathroom while the women's room is empty. And a guy will be stuck waiting because he's not "allowed" in the women's room. I feel this way about single-occupancy restrooms in general. Just make them all unisex.

  • Ryan

    Padget- Hear, hear!

  • Tom

    Interesting fact about D.C. -- D.C. Municipal Regulations, Title 4, § 802.2 (2006) requires that single-occupancy restrooms must have gender-neutral signs.

  • Jonathan Padget

    ...will tie up the...

  • Jessica Sidman

    @tom Just FYI, Republic is in Takoma Park, Maryland. Not D.C.

  • Abbey

    Do you mean Marie Osmond?

  • Jonathan Padget

    That is an interesting fact! I've never heard that, and I feel like I frequently encounter single-occupancy restrooms with gender-specific signs.

  • Jessica Sidman

    @Abbey Oops yes typo, fixing now

  • tui

    very interesting about DCMR. regardless, if I'm in a bar/restaurant with what appear to be single occupancy restrooms, I ignore the sign, especially if I'm with one of my kids who need to go -- my son or daughter.

  • GoldCoastKid

    This is ridiculous. So men have to now wait for women to go first? B. S.
    One of the best things about being a man is the facet that we can use the bathroom in 2 minutes (or less).
    whatever. If I eat here I'll just relieve myself around the corner in the alley.

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  • Rad22

    This sounds like sexism. Men have rights too.

  • Dan D

    The "anyone" room isn't marked as ADA compliant,'d they get away with that?

  • Corky

    Great. So now men have to wait while women re apply their make up, fix their hair and dig through their purses after they use the bathroom. The long lines at ladies' rooms are due more to women doing things in the bathroom other than actually using the bathroom. Yes, it takes then a little longer to pee than men, but it doesn't take THAT much longer. Men basically use the bathroom and get the heck out as soon as possible. Women linger.

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  • Jaime

    If you come across a single-stall restroom in DC that is NOT gender neutral, you can file a complaint here and the DC Office of Human Rights will handle it:

  • TakomaNick

    I agree with Jonathan... I don't see any reason not to make them both gender neutral. I realize that he wanted to make the women's restroom more feminine but I too am imagining having to wait for the "Anyone" bathroom while the women's is free.

  • Andrea

    Corky, that is a common misconception that has been studied to see if it's true that women take more time than men in public bathrooms. The studies show that women don't preen in restrooms any more than men. They struggle with clothing restrictions that take more time than men's clothes, and they more often accompany young children.

  • Andrea

    Oh, and women are much more likely to Wash Their Hands.

  • Andrea

    This restaurant is in Maryland side of Takoma Park, so DC laws don't apply. Maryland does have "potty parity" requirements but I can't find out if it requires designating a women's room. If not, it might be because there's no urinal in the women's room, or it might be for security.