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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Are the Urinals at 801 Chophouse Filled with Ice?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge CAROLINE YOO
  • Caroline Yoo

When our photographer went into the men's room at 801 Chophouse (137 Carondelet Plaza; 314-875-9900) to shoot a portrait for our roundup of the 10 Most Beautiful Bathrooms in St. Louis, the manager wanted to make sure that each urinal contained a fresh bucket of ice.

What? Ice in the urinal? We had to know more, so we called the manager and got the full story.

See also: The 10 Best Restaurant Bathrooms (AKA the Finest Loos in the Lou)

It turns out, this is actually an old-fashioned method of odor elimination that is cheaper than typical urinal cakes or deodorant pads, and, to some, a more elegant solution. The ice cools the air around the urinal, and, as cool air sinks, it traps and washes away any olfactory unpleasantness through a drain in the floor.

"It hearkens back to the time of speakeasies and saloons in New York City when ventilation in buildings was subpar," says general manager Ian Rockwell. "It's a fun touchstone to an era that's no longer around."

Iced urinals are actually standard at all five 801 Chophouse locations around the country. All new employees are given a tour of the kitchen and restrooms for the express purpose of demonstrating the venue's commitment to cleanliness. The urinals, treated with fresh ice every hour, are a point of pride.

At the time of construction, the contractor thought this might be the only restaurant in St. Louis that uses this method. Seen ice in the urinals anywhere else around town? Let us know!

Follow Sara Graham on Instagram at @SaraSunshineSTL and Twitter at @SaraSunshineSTL. E-mail the author at

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