26 Little W. 12th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 646-624-2444
Concept: A small, office-type restroom lit like a mortuary, with a touch of Zen via a sunken marble sink, incense sticks, and a tray of stones.
Privacy: Bathroom attendants watch over the aluminum stalls. At least the ones in the women's room dish compliments.
Amenities: Gentlemen get cologne (D&G;, Polo Sport, etc.) and FX Studio hair gel (yes, this is the meatpacking district), while ladies get perfume (Burberry, etc.) and makeup. Both sexes enjoy Listerine served in a plastic shot glass, Lubriderm, floss, toothpicks, plastic-wrapped Breathsavers, and thick, hand-delivered paper towels.
Flaws: If somebody goes to town on the gel and cologne, you're stuck waiting for one of the two faucets. Then there's the discomfort factor of hovering attendants.
Strategy: Pity the poor attendants. At least they're not the type to admonish, "No hope without soap." Put a dollar in the tip jar.
— Daniel Maurer