For the second year in a row, Washington City Paper asked readers to name the best restaurant bathroom to bang in for our annual Best of D.C. poll. The Coupe, which came in third place last year, moved up to first. It was followed by Nellie’s Sports Bar (also in the No. 2 spot last year) and Wonderland Ballroom. The Palm, in third place last year, didn’t make the cut.
“We’re honored, I guess?” says the Coupe owner Constantine Stavropoulos. “Two years running, and I guess we’ll try for a hat trick next year.”
Stavropoulos says he personally has never heard about anyone doing it at the Coupe, although it used to be a problem at Tryst, where the wall-mounted sink in the men’s room kept getting detached. He points out that music pipes into the bathroom area: “Maybe that drowns out the noises.” Last year, Stavropoulos suggested that the allure of copulating at the Coupe might be its all-night hours, but the restaurant is no longer open 24 hours. “I guess everybody’s getting their sexing in a shorter period of time,” he says.
Stavropoulos hopes that the Coupe will get nominated in some other categories eventually, “but it’s always nice to have some kind of an award, so we’ll take this one.”
UPDATE: The Coupe General Manager Maxwell Hessman follows up to say that his staff has caught at least a dozen people having sex in the restaurant’s restrooms over the past year, including as recently as last week. The problem was much worse when the Coupe was open 24/7, he says.
“I’m not surprised by it,” Hessman says of Best of D.C. award. “I agree. We have amazing bathrooms to bang in, for sure. They’re floor-to-ceiling, individual stall unisex bathrooms in a neighborhood where there’s more people who would do that.”
That said, the restaurant is actively trying to dissuade people from getting it on there. About a year ago, the Coupe started locking all but two of the bathroom doors after 10 p.m., which has greatly reduced the restroom rendezvous. Plus, it’s not just sex they’re trying to restrict; it’s sometime drugs. “I’ve had problems with people shooting up heroin,” Hessman says.
If there’s a line after 10 p.m., that’s typically a sign that something’s going on and a manager will knock on the door. While some couples caught in the act are embarrassed, others “are just in it to win it and they just don’t care,” Hessman says.
“I really would prefer that people aren’t banging in my bathroom. I would prefer people are coming here to enjoy our food and to be professional,” Hessman says. “But it is what it is.”
Illustration by Robert Ullman