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Canberra’s best cafe bathrooms to ponder the meaning of life in

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I do when I get to a café is pop to the bathroom. Blame it on my peanut-sized bladder or the immediate urge to duck to the bathroom whenever a conversation gets slightly awkward. Either way, a trip to the restroom is a necessity, and it’s not wasted time either.

It’s actually extremely productive, should the state of the bathroom prevent me from channelling George Costanza teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

These countless trips to the loo have made me somewhat of a self-proclaimed bathroom connoisseur. Traumatised by the horrors of roadside McDonalds and the inhumane state of a drop dunny, I can appreciate a bathroom that has got it right.

These bathrooms are rare, much rarer than I believe they should be. I searched high and low across Canberra to try and find a loo that was not, at first glance, inherently offensive. My ambitions goal of 8 was reduced to 5, the only 5 that allowed my mind to wonder when at my most vulnerable. I hope they do the same for you too.

Highroad bathroom: A vessel of luxury

I’m tempted by this vision of myself, an effortlessly cool coffee connoisseur who knows off the top of their head what strands of coffee they like.

Highroad quickly dissolved this façade, leaving me in a coffee induced puddle of my own insecurities.

Blame it on the high-end décor or the employees who seem to embody the word edgy; either way, I found myself searching for some kind of security. I could feel my anxiety coming on; I’ll do whatever I can to suppress that beast.

The highroad bathroom welcomed me with open arms, and I accepted it, detached and desperate. The light blue tiling, so calming, so far from the image of a squally sea. The wood panelling is a charming touch, alongside the black and white photography; this bathroom is gentle in all the right places.

The large mirror is perfect for those of us who need reassurance that our outfits are not a complete disaster. Fancy busting a flamboyant move? This bathroom gives you ample space to do so.

I walked out of the highroad bathroom feeling powerful; take that coffee elitist.     

Gang Gang Café: Simple yet effective

red and blue Cockatoo with bright yellow beak, painted on green background.

There’s something very reassuring when a bathroom takes the time to make sure our simple needs are met. The Gang Gang Café is a humble reminder that sometimes all we need is good soap and consistent paper towlage to make us feel at home. This bathroom is a love note to the working class, your everyday punter who doesn’t need a high-end sink or a self-flushing toilet to put us at ease. The charming painting of the cockatoo upon entry, I mean, how can you resist? Its simplicity seduced me, allowing my mind to wander freely, and for that, I am grateful. 

The Front: The power of a good tile 

black and white tiled bathroom with bright orange door.

The Front bathroom was full of mysteries and surprises, and I was a fan of them all. I have never been greeted with an orange bathroom door before, and quite frankly, I would like to experience it again.

Hand soap and paper towel in rustic brown holder.

The dark tiling was the showstopper, unexpected and eagerly received. It was like stepping inside a black and white film, and nothing quite beats cinematic escapism. And the charming little paper towel holder meant I didn’t have to give those in the café my wet jazz hand moves, phew!

Sweet bones: A heart-warming welcome

Three images hang on bathroom door with black and white tiles. The first is a small blu framed picture that says the word 'taco.' Below it is a framed images that says 'The Devil Makes Three,' never forget , always remember on tour.' On the side is an image of a BMX riding doing a jump, behind a clear blue sky.

Now you may be thinking, not another black and white tiled bathroom; we get it, you are a fan. Now, take a deep breath and bear with me (or don’t, no one wants someone telling them what to do). Sweet Bones bathroom has the kind of intimate details that stated mi casa is su casa visitors (make yourself at home).

Red and Green handles on cupboard door.

And that I did, admiring those sweet little cupboard handles while giving a moment of thought to the Devil. “Never forget but always remember.”

This bathroom won’t give you long to ponder; before you know it, someone will be knocking on that bathroom door. Sometimes, however, especially when the Devil is involved, this isn’t a bad thing at all. 

Tilly’s: Give ’em the old razzle-dazzle 

Pink and Green cubed tiles.

Ahh, what a classic! Tilly’s café is for those who find settling down with a pipe and a leather-bound copy of Canterbury tales to be a perfect respite. Enticing those folks who revel in a café that’s all class and full of charm, and much to my delight the bathroom was much the same.

The old-fashioned phone positioned at the doorway suggested maybe, for those of us who require a long old think at the loo, to call a friend to let them know you might be 15 late.

There is something to be said about the courtyard, a meeting point before the gents and lasses part their separate ways. Fancy taking your pipe to the loo beforehand? Go ahead, my friend; this bathroom courtyard is oozing with possibilities.

The vintage geometric tiles had the wow factor, alongside the high ceiling, which left no limitations on how far the mind could venture.

“Razzle dazzle ’em, And they’ll never catch wise!” Touché Tilly’s bathroom, touché indeed.