101 Wilson Avenue (Google Map)
101 Wilson Bar is the kind of bar that my friends and family who have never been to Brooklyn think about when they think about Brooklyn.
That is to say, it caters to the rough and tumble, uses repurposed kegs as furniture, and is covered in graffiti.
But there’s a difference between wall graffiti and the very infrastructure of a bar appearing to be made out of graffiti. If you took a pressure washer to 101 Wilson, I don’t think there would be a shiny veneer underneath, rather the place would actually crumble down to its bare bones.
And as you might imagine, since bathrooms are the places where you might actually expect some graffiti, at 101 Wilson it becomes the magnum opus of this bar with an affinity for scribble.
Nothing is spared: the trashcan, the sink, the holy porcelain throne itself—all are a canvas.
Look up? Yep, the light is covered and smothered like hashbrowns at a Waffle House.
And while some dive bars these days seem to be striving to keep their bathrooms a little spruced up, 101 Wilson is more in line with the traditional dive philosophy. There’s a bathroom and then there’s a crapper or (and I don’t like to curse but for the sake of accuracy), a sh—er (I just can’t, ok!). 101 Wilson definitely has the latter. The toilet seat is ajar, there’s a string of toilet paper as if to say, “When this runs out, that’s the ballgame. Don’t ask for more. You have two socks on, right?”
And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. There is a place in the world for these bathrooms.
This bathroom is also not without its small charms, which I think is another important element of a dive’s bathroom. Specifically something that feels like only regulars would ever know the origins or history. For example, this framed one-sided text message conversation reads like bizarro poetry:
Well boys [REDACTED] just serviced her first trip with mustache 🍼
I am tripping my
balls off looking at the moon
Go to take a swim after I stop laughing at the toiler
Yeah they are historical
alighting at me it is amazing
Everything is so funny when you are texting high on
mushrooms brushing your
teeth with a gold toothbrush
Even autocorrect is funny 😂
And there’s one more thing you need to know about the bathroom at 101 Wilson—the handle on either side is the truck of a skateboard. I like to imagine that this is because the original door knob broke off and the same day someone decided to donate their old skateboard as an act of goodwill to atone for all the Miller High Lifes they had drank and forgot to call their mom for her birthday the day before.
Rubber Duckie Rating:
While there’s nothing necessarily novel about bathroom graffiti, the water closet at 101 Wilson really takes it from a common, matter-of-fact element of any given Brooklyn bathroom (and others across America), and turns it into the entire atmosphere, like a brick wall now overgrown with vines. The absolute reckless abandon of this bathroom should also be noted—in a scene full of posers, it is a true punk rocker.
4.25 / 5 Rubber Duckies