Wednesday 31 October 2007

Michael Mina Offers Modernist Cuisine, Classically Elegant Stink-Free Facilities

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV USA 89109

Where is it?

The restaurant itself is located behind the Bellagio Conservatory, in between the Dale Chihuly store and the hotel's 24-hour kitchen, the Bellagio Cafe.

Once in the restaurant, head all the way to the rear of the place, rounding the open kitchen and slipping into the rear of the dining room. Keep steering left until you see the back entrance to the kitchen (which at this point is closed). Head that way, but turn right before reaching the kitchen door. Go down that hallway there and you'll find the bathrooms at the end.

What's it like?

This is a classy, high-minded and somewhat stuffy restaurant overlooking the Bellagio pool, with an emphasis on seafood and modernist plate presentation. That means you'll get very fresh seafood concoctions but they are served in a manner that makes the food look more like works of art on the plate than actual food. Some people like that sort of thing (Bobby Flay is a firm believer in putting presentation first, for example), and while I admired the minimalist presentations, I found the dishes themselves to be a bit pedestrian in inspiration and composition and didn't feel the end result was worth the hefty price tag.

I had a tasting menu here, however I think that had I gone for the $80 lobster pot pie, which is what most of the diners were having, I would have been a little happier with the results. Such as it was, I ended up with a five-course meal that was decent (a great caviar starter, for example, and a fine dessert sampler) but not overwhelming (not like the meal I had at Bellagio neighbor Circo), and in a way I felt a bit cheated. Such is the modern spin on nouvelle cuisine, I guess.

The place itself is decorated with a sort of hip elegance. The front dining room is filled with woods, while the back (overlooking the pool) emphasizes white linens, muted lighting and off-white colored walls and floors. The service is a little stuffy as well but it's still prompt and efficient. The prices are exorbitant no matter what you order.

The bathroom, on the other hand, is warm, inviting, modest, classy, clean and unique -- everything you wish the rest of the restaurant would be. It's a long white room that accommodates only one person at a time. The toilet sits at the far end of the place (below an ornately framed mirror), the sink -- a beautiful white unit set in a glass vanity topped with flowers -- sits about halfway down on the left (when facing the back wall). Simple white marble tile lines the floor and walls. Cloth towels. Soft, flowery smelling soap that both moisturizes the skin and gets any fishy odor out. And impeccably clean!

Even better: It don't hold odors. When I went for my visit, I had to stand in line to get in (it only holds one person, remember). The guy ahead of me in line claimed he'd been waiting a long time to get in -- which means the person inside was..... well, you know.

Anyway, that guy came out and the next guy went in, and he proceeded to stay in the bathroom a good 10 minutes. By that point, I was thinking that I would be entering a gas chamber when it came around to my turn. BUT NO! When the next guy left, I eased into the room and was met with no trace of stink, just a flowery perfumed air (and not one that had been singed by air freshener) that reminded me of springtime. That made the experience all the more enjoyable!

Marks out of 10:

10. A glorious place relieve yourself or inhale some stink-free air!

Comments to the Management:

The bathroom's damn near perfect -- it's the rest of the place I'm worried about.

Tuesday 30 October 2007

Circo Exudes Subdued Elegance

Osteria del Circo
Bellagio Las Vegas
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S.
Las Vegas, NV USA 89109

Where is it?

The restaurant itself is located in the Bellagio casino. Once you reach the entrance to the Buffet, turn right (away from the Buffet) and head to the opposite end of the Casino. Circo will be one of the restaurants found in that part of the hotel.

Once inside, the bathroom is easy to find. From the front door, head forward, past the bar, and turn right into an enclave there. The bathrooms are in there.

What's it like?

This fantastic restaurant served me one of the best meals I've ever had -- and as a result I find myself incapable of talking about the place without discussing the meal as well.

The eatery itself is decked out in a circus theme, with tent folds hanging from the ceiling, walls, carpet and booths colored in sharp yellows and blues and paintings of clowns hanging in corners and above tables. By this description, it sounds a bit tacky, sure, but that's hardly the case -- the decor manages to convey the circus theme while also being elegant and subdued enough so that it's not pressing or intrusive. The focus here is on exquisite service and remarkable food, and that surely took center stage on my visit.

The menu itself is outstanding -- sort of a mix of hearty, well-prepared authentic Italian dishes (freshly baked breads, outstanding pastas and sauces, succulent roasted meat and fish) and seasonal ingredients. I had a five-course tasting menu here, with wine accompaniment (and yes, it was blazingly expensive, but then what isn't in Vegas?). I couldn't have imagined a better meal from a restaurant.

I started with an oyster appetizer, a mixture of seasonal northwest-grown specialties that were the freshest and tastiest I've ever had. They were followed by a grilled squid salad in which the charred flavor of the meat proved strong enough to season the greens on which the squid sat. That was followed by hand-rolled spaghetti (thick stands that were very dumpling-like, instead of thin strands) topped with complex bolognese and bechamel -- a pasta dish so overwhelmingly delicious and nuanced that the couple sitting next to me, who was arguing at the time, stopped talking completely after they took a bite of it (theirs, not ours, that is). Yes, it was THAT good.

That course was followed with potato-crusted salmon, which managed to highlight both the meatiness of the salmon and the delicate manner in which the potato was fried around it. That was followed by the house specialty, a roasted rack of lamb crusted with thyme and pecorino. The seasoning was pressed into the fat cap of the meat in such a way that the fat and crust became one and managed to infuse each bite of meat with the three flavors. It was the best lamb I've ever had.

Dessert featured an outstanding chocolate lava cake served over a marion berry compote and a vanilla-infused creme brulee that I couldn't stop eating, even though I was already full enough to burst at that point. Both desserts were served with an assortment of home made biscotti, chocolates and candies..... Utterly divine.

Each course was served by a friendly wait staff that explained both the composition and inspiration behind the dishes, and the sommelier came by before each course to ruminate about his accompanying wines. Service was laid back but attentive, and as a result I felt very much relaxed and at home here, despite the ever-present price tag. It was one of the best meal experiences of my life.

Naturally, after experiencing such a glorious meal, visiting the bathroom becomes a necessity. Circo's facilities do not disappoint, though they are not quite as perfect as they should be. The loos do not extend the circus theme, thankfully, but they are just as understated and ornate as the rest of the place's decor. The walls and floors here are covered in alternating lines of light and dark blue mosaic tile. Because of the uniformity of the tile work, the fixtures become all the more striking against them. The sink and vanity, consisting of metallic sinks, a clear glass counter and a giant mirror framed with dark wood, make a stark, elegant and inviting presence. The white porcelain urinals stand out on the walls almost like pieces of art. The toilets, each in solitary rooms instead of mere stalls, provide elegant, private surroundings in which to do your business. The sinks dish out a lovely hand soap and visitors can dry their hands here with plush cloth towels.

Given that, this is also a small restroom and because the restaurant is somewhat bustling it can make for a busy visit, especially for those seeking a longer, quieter visit. Also, the urinals could use some privacy blinds -- they tend to stick out a bit too much on the wall to offer a relaxed pee. Finally, I found some mis-thrown towels on the floor -- giving the impression that the place isn't policed by the cleaning crew as often as it should be.

Still, coupled with the outstanding menu and unique decorative and modern touches, it's still a fabulous place to visit and experience.

Marks out of 10:

9. Probably more deserving of an 8, but the food was soooooo good.......

Comments to the Management:

A few more passes by the cleaning crew would be nice, at least to pick up the towels on the floor. Also, you may want to consider adding a privacy blind between the urinals. Otherwise, it's a great bathroom.

Monday 29 October 2007

Bellagio Bathroom Is Belisimo

Bellagio Las Vegas
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S.
Las Vegas, NV USA 89109

Where is it?

This beautiful hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, known for its elaborate fountain show, has dozens of bathrooms in it. The one visited on this occasion was in the Spa Tower. To get there, do the following: From the front desk, go back towards the Conservatory, sticking to the left of it (go right and you'll end up at the hotel's casino). Continue walking, paste the 21-foot chocolate fountain and the waterfall-themed restaurant, Sensi, and head towards the Spa Tower elevators, which lead to the Spa Tower rooms.

Go past the elevators leading to the Spa Tower rooms, past the sundries store, and then go left at the crossroads in the hallway. This will lead you to a dead end, on the left side of which is the bathrooms. (If you go straight or right, you will end up in the hotel's convention center wings.)

What's it like?

Superb in every way.

The room itself is spacious and stretching but not so much to make you feel like you're in a cavern. Rather, the design here emphasizes privacy, with the sinks sitting just ahead of the urinals and the urinals sitting just ahead of the stalls -- a perfect situation, really, so no one can sneak any peeks.

Two sets of marble tile coat the spaces here. The floors are covered by two-color tile set in a modernist checkerboard pattern. The walls are covered with tile featuring streaks of beige and off-white. It's stately, elegant yet not off-putting -- essentially, you feel like you're in a museum but you don't mind leaving your mark.

The sink area features elegantly framed mirrors above each station, along with automatic faucets that stream warm water and automatic soap dispensers, along with easy-to-reach paper towel (thick ply, of course) at every stop. The toilets are immaculately clean and all automatic flush -- and, thanks to the thick divider walls, you feel isolated inside them and free to go about your business at leisure, even if the place is packed.

Best yet, these bathrooms cater mostly to those entering or leaving the hotel's convention center, so they get little traffic. Also, they are somewhat tucked away and unless your convention hall area is nearby or you feel the need to go after leaving the sundries shop, you will probably never visit this bathroom.

Marks out of 10:


Comments to the Management:

Keep up the good work. This is one of the hotel's true hidden treasures.

Thursday 25 October 2007

Shocker: Hip, Stylish Restaurant Houses Hip, Stylish Bathroom with Broken Trashcan!

The World Beat Cafe
3700 N. Wickham Rd.
Melbourne, FL USA 32935

Where is it?

Easy to find in theory, but a bit tricky to find in practice. From the front entrance, head to the left, past the front of the dining room. Once in the upper left corner of the place, head back a little, towards the rear of the place, and you'll see a small hallway opening on your left. Go through there to find the bathrooms.

Having said that, the dining room here is filled with distractions, from artwork built into walls to tables and booths made of wavy lines instead of straight lines to plates of food with attention-getting presentations. Keep focused on the destination if you're in a hurry, otherwise you may end up in a spot of embarrassment.

What's it like?

This energetic modern-fusion tapas bar, set in the northern part of Melbourne, bustles with hip energy -- not quite as manic or bohemian as Cafe Tu Tu Tango, its competitor and a seemingly major influence on the place -- but still enough to make it a place for socialization, not for a quiet evening for two. The menu is kind of hit or miss, some items being excellent (the Cuban black bean soup is outstanding) and others missing the mark completely (I wasn't prepared for the overly sour avocado egg rolls, for example -- ick).

The bathrooms tone down the loudness of the dining room some while still adhering to the place's somewhat stylish vibe. Classy off-white tile covers the floors and rust-colored wall paper coats the walls, giving a chic hue to the surroundings and making the everything in it feel a touch more sophisticated -- even the generic white porcelain sink and toilets. And the place is spacious and clean for the most part: My visit was on a busy Saturday evening and while there were a few splotches of spilled water on the floor by the sink and a few paper towels tossed about, I didn't see anything unforgivable. Clearly the bathroom is policed regularly by the cleaning crew.

The only setback (and perhaps the reason why there were paper towels on the floor) was the trash can. It's one of those metallic cylinders they sell at Bed Bath and Beyond, with a flip-up top that opens when you step on a floor pedal. Well, the floor pedal wasn't working, and thus the flip-up top wasn't flipping up and if you wanted to throw anything away, say the paper towel you used after washing your hands, you had to lift the lid with your freshly scrubbed hands to get it in the can..... Kind of negates the thought of returning to your table with clean hands, doesn't it? Given that, it makes sense why there were towels on the floor -- I imagine people would prefer that option than having to return to their tables to nosh on finger foods with hands that had just opened a trash can lid, so you really can't blame them......

Marks out of 10:

7. Almost and 8, except for....

Comments to the Management:

Time for a new trashcan, don't you think? According to the Bed Bath and Beyond website, they sell for just under $40, which isn't too bad, if you think about it.

Tuesday 23 October 2007

Bathroom Decor Indicates Small Town Diner Doubles as Harley Davidson Hangout

Town House Restaurant
9 E Broadway St
Oviedo, FL USA 32765

Where is it?

The dining room here is shaped like an "L." So from the main entrance, head to the cashier (the counter is fixed into the apex of the "L") and then go left until you hit the back wall. A small door leading to the bathrooms (which are located in a small hallway behind that door) can be found there.

What's it like?

This is one of the better diners in the Orlando area, thanks to its no nonsense menu, great service, unpretentious decor and many regular customers -- all of which makes you feel like you're always welcome here. The restaurant itself is set in the dead center of Orlando suburb Oviedo, the the awkward crisscross of the streets outside often make for a few parking complications (especially on weekends, when the church goers of the area bombard the place after services finish). Still, it's worth suffering some road rage for this place. The decor is filled with community-based items like kids' drawings and softball team pictures (they sponsor a team, of course) and the menu offers plenty of well-prepared and affordable comfort foods, as well as an assortment of decent Greek items (thanks to the Greek family that now owns it).

Given that, you'd expect the bathrooms to be modest little spots that exude the same cozy, comfortable feelings as those expressed in the dining room.

But no!

The bathrooms (at least the men's room) are decked out in Harley Davidson colors -- and not in a subtle way. Matted orange paint covers the walls. Light gray tile covers the floors. Weathered white tile covers the lower walls and the areas around the white porcelain sink and urinal. There's even a huge Harley emblem on one wall!

Clearly this homey restaurant has a darker side to it. And maybe it's wholesome church-going clientele isn't as innocent as it seems...... Or maybe the owners of nearby Bill's Elbow South (once a neighbor of the Town House before it moved to the Oviedo Market Place) helped them design the loos here?


Anyway, it's clean and orderly for the most part, save for a bit of unique tile work (see picture to right). The urinals are of the old variety, which stretch to the floor (instead of being mini-toilets). The sink and stalls, as well as the tile work, are a bit weathered, and the bathroom itself is a touch on the narrow side (almost like they tried to revamp it some and settled on painting it instead), which could make it a tight fit if more than one person were waiting for the urinal at a given moment.

Marks out of 10:

7. While the Harley decor has its appeal and interesting notes, the place could still use a bit of a makeover. So it's just barely a 7.

Comments to the Management:

Perhaps it's time to get new fixtures and tile, just to go along with the new paint job. May I suggest black sinks?

Friday 19 October 2007

Bar's Bathrooms Anything But Sporty -- Especially During Slow Lunchtime Rush

Sanford Ale House
50 Towne Center Circle
Sanford, FL USA 32771

Where is it?

From the entrance, go left, past half of the dining room, then the bar, then the high-top tables behind the bar, and then head to the back corner, past the pool tables and high tops behind the bar, until you reach a small wall dividing the dining room and the waitress stations. Go behind the dividing wall and head left (go right and you'll find the soft drink fountains) and you'll find the bathrooms there.

What's it like?

This sports bar chain has several locations in the area. It's a semi-rowdy place that's a big hit with sports fans, especially the college football fans of the area. Inside, the place is styled like a classic New England pub, filled with wooden floors, a well-polished, enormous wooden bar in the center, plenty of wooden tables and high-tops and a vast array of TVs and beer signs on the walls. The food is decent enough, though at times its too greasy (I always feel like I gained 10 pounds when I leave the place), and their wings are some of the better in town (at least from a chain's point of view -- my vote still goes to Tom and Money's, which has been renamed something else of late, I hear, and Hurricane Wings, which will be reviewed in the coming weeks).

Given that this is a place where sports guys and frat boys tend to congregate, you can imagine that the bathrooms are an utter mess. And they are. If you think about it, the patrons usually come here to fill up on beer and junk food, so pit stops are inevitable, especially since most visits are for a minimum of three to four hours (given that's the average length of a football game). As a result, you can expect some wear and tear from the bathrooms.

Design-wise, the loos themselves are nothing special: Small rooms with four toilets in all (two urinals, two commodes) with green linoleum on the floor, a green vanity counter, and white tile on the walls. Little wall decor or any other bit of sports bar personality can be found here (clearly the designers haven't been to the Celebration Town Tavern, where this sort of decor is done well).

In terms of overall cleanliness: On the whole, the city's Ale Houses manage to keep things a little tidy on the bathroom front (like the one on University -- still unreviewed -- or the one by the airport -- also unreviewed). The Sanford one was messy as hell however -- a point made all the more disappointing since my stop was during lunch on a weekday, not during any sort of game. Worse still, it was a very slow lunch rush indeed.

I found spilled water everywhere, paper towels and toilet paper covering the floor, mis-sprayed urine on toilet seats and a funky, immensely strong stink of pee in the air. Certainly not very sporty, to say the least.

Mind you, I might expect the loos here to be in this condition after this year's big Florida-LSU night game, as 250 Gator fans no doubt sought to purge the sorrow they felt when they're team lost it in the final minutes by drinking mass quantities of cheap beer and then hitting the head en mass. But not on a slow lunch on a weekday, with maybe 50 patrons in the place tops.

Marks out of 10:

4. Almost rated a 5 but the fact that the place wasn't busy and still managed to be the dirtiest Ale House restroom I'd visited dropped it down a notch.

Comments to the Management:

I understand that bathrooms can't always be monitored when the place is busy, but that mentality certainly doesn't apply when the place is empty. In down times, get someone in there to tidy up a bit. Also, bring some extra air freshener, like Sebastian's Country Ham N Eggs does.

Thursday 18 October 2007

Big Boy Offers A Clean but Sterile Throwback to the Past

Big Boy Restaurant
795 Gateway Drive
Altamonte Springs, FL USA 32714

Where is it?

From the entrance, head straight to the merchandise counter and turn immediately left, around the cashier and into the back left corner of the restaurant. You'll find the bathrooms there.

What's it like?

This chain offers a throwback to the classic diners of the 1950s, where unpretentious greasy spoon food was served by overly friendly waitresses in a comfortable yet slightly tacky setting. The dining room is spotless and filled with bright yellows, reds and whites. The service is spectacularly attentive and friendly (upon sitting down, the first thing our waitress said was, "Hello, friends, can I get you a root beer or milkshake?" to which we responded, "Hell, yeah!"). And the food is decent, well-prepared and comforting. A solid diner through and through -- and with some great French fries to boot!

The bathrooms follow suit, offering a clean environment that's both comfortable and cozy, yet a touch on the sterile side. Black linoleum covers the floor, and the walls are coated in bright white tiles with occasional red tile highlights to break the monotony. The sink and toilets, both made of gleaming white porcelain, are spotless.

The only fault I found is, like I said, that the place feels a bit too sterile. Adding some kitschy wall decor or other bits of personality would alleviate this issue and make the loo just as relaxing as the rest of the place.

Marks out of 10:

7. A very good bathroom that could reach a level of minor greatness if it loosened up a bit more.

Comments to the Management:

People like clean but they don't like robotic clean. As mentioned earlier, consider adding some throwback items to the walls or including similar items around the place to lighten the mood a little. This is a very good bathroom that could reach a level of minor greatness if it had a little more fun with the setting.

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Stuckey's Offers Little Privacy for Pee -- and Watch Out for Federal Immigration Agents and Alligators Too!

Stuckey's of Fellsmere
I-95 Exit 156
10950 County Road 512
Sebastian, FL USA

Where is it?

Like most Stuckey's, this place wears many hats. It's part gas station, part souvenir shop, part fast food restaurant and part convenience store.

Given the four identities, you'd think four bathrooms would accommodate the place. But no! There's only one bathroom here and it's a shoddy one tucked in the way back left corner of the shop, past the restaurant, convenience store, gas station cashier and souvenir shop.

Of course you'll have to go through the whole lot of it to the loo, making it a bit of a tedious trek, especially if you're in a hurry.... To make the most of the trip, stick towards the souvenirs section, where you can see everything from Florida-orange-based foods (jams, jellies, marinades, etc.) to preserved baby alligator heads. Yum.

What's it like?

The store around it isn't all that clean to begin with. Not that it's overtly dirty, but it also isn't exactly sparkling. For example, the floors are mopped but you can still see accumulations of dust and grime on them.

The bathrooms are like that as well. White tiles, white porcelain fixtures, all of it serviceable but all of it also in need of some serious upkeep and updating. The wear and tear on the surroundings here certainly make the place look more run-down than it is, and it also highlights the grime hiding in the corners (a major oversight for anyone with a completely white bathroom, if you think about it).

Functionally speaking, the sink faucets seem to have disappeared (perhaps eaten by one of the alligators in the souvenir shop?), leaving you to turn on the water by twisting these round metal knobs that sort of work and sort of don't. Expect lots of dripping here. It's also kind of gross, considering the place isn't that clean to begin with.

Worse still, the men's room had no front door to it, and the secondary door is propped open permanently, which means that anyone entering the area can easily listen in to what's going on inside (or even peek, if he or she wanted to). Not exactly a desire setting for those in need of a longer visit. The fact that the place looks like an open locale to pick up migrant workers makes this oversight all the more frightening, because it adds a shoddy connotation to the place here. On top of it being a migrant hangout, you now must face the fact that immigration may at any second burst down the stall door in search of their man.

Marks out of 10:

3. Could be higher but the fact that you can't close the bathroom door here really bothers me. I enjoy my privacy, even in shoddy surroundings, and I don't like to feel like I must be hurried. I don't mind the migrant thing -- heck, it's citrus country, so they're definitely needed to work the groves -- but do you have to let them board work buses in front of the place?

Comments to the Management:

Time to overhaul and update the place. It seriously needs it. Consider adding some knickknacks from the souvenir shop (or even some wall decor, like an add for the restaurant food) to give it some semblance of character.

Monday 15 October 2007

Watch Out for Dangerous Nun On the Run

Cafe-Bistro Am Pferdemarkt
Pferdemarkt 5

No web site but there’s a good picture on google earth.

Where is it?

You might want to jot this one down. Go through the main front doors of the restaurant. Head to the bar at the back of the restaurant. You’ll think this is the end of the place, but you’d be wrong. Look right and you’ll see a little passage that looks like it should head to the kitchens. Go down it and you’ll see it opens up into a whole second restaurant. Go down there and on the left there is an entrance to the toilets. Women head right, men to the left.

What’s it like?

Hameln (Hamelin to you and me) is the place where the Pied Piper did his stuff. Very quaint and very clean. The town has a family vibe to it that makes you feel at home, and although I’m sure its more of a tourist trap than we would have seen early evening midweek, it seemed to be mostly German speaking and authentic.

They also did some great beer and after a tough meeting earlier in the day I’d have to admit to having partaken in one or two (or was it three) before I decided to head off to the toilette. I headed off to the bar looking forward to the imminent consumption of goulash. When I got there I managed my German for where’s the toilet and was obviously still sober enough to understand the instructions coming back at me. But could they really be correct? Getting ready for the mugging I found myself in the second restaurant, with several other diners eating away. Not so weird after all. And oh yeah, there are the toilets.

So there I am entering the toilets, for no particular reason feeling rather smug with myself, when the door is flung open and I am literally knocked over by a flying nun who is positively running. At this point I just give up. Pied pipers I’m prepared for but a very Italian Whoopee Goldberg was not what I was expecting.

So what about the toilets? Well, I guess the drama of getting to them has something of the entertainment factor. When you get in there the facilities have the feel of being Wimpy cast offs that have been around for a few years. Red grout and white tile never did it for wimpy and it certainly didn’t do it here. The toilets are also pretty cold on what wasn’t a cold day, but given that they are clean and everything worked they were certainly serviceable.

Marks out of 10:

5 as they could do with some updating.

Comments to the management:

Basic, but it’s good you keep them clean.

Sunday 14 October 2007

Publix: Where Peeing’s A Pleasure?

Publix Supermarket,
Cornerstone at Lake Hart,
10615 Narcoossee Rd,
FL. 32832,

Where is it?

Head to the left when you get in there and the signs are clear. Really it is easy.

What’s it like?

OK what have I said about supermarket toilets before? You don’t use them unless you really have to. That means I’d assume that most people don’t use them. Really, they should be deserted. So why was this place like the queue for a rush hour train. I really cannot imagine what had been put in the water around here to make this weekend stop off such a busy one. Maybe it was the average age of the customers.

OK, so admittedly rather on the grumpy side, I manage to force my way in to the toilets. Being Publix, and I must profess I am a fan of Publix on the whole, you’d expect something a little different. Not overdone, but clean and functional. It’s a pity then that the wear and tear the slightly aged clientele had been putting on the place had made it more than a little messy.

But I have to say we can’t just blame those who still cling to the ‘virtues’ of Cadillac and Oldsmobile for the state of the toilets in this place. For a fairly new store it was disappointingly grimy. You can just about see on the pictures how the grout hasn’t been touched since day one and has aged to a nicotine yellow. Yuk.
So was this a relieving oasis that I needed it to be. No. Next time I’ll wait just the little longer.

Marks out of 10:

5 and no more.

Comments to the management:

Maybe free eyesight tests to the clientele are in order before you let them use the toilets? Then again someone who wanted to clean the place might not go amiss either.

Thursday 11 October 2007

Bathroom Showcases Pig and Whistle's Love of Novelty Signs

The Pig and Whistle Pub: A Fish and Chip Shop
40 S. Fleming Street
Sebastian, FL USA

Where is it?

This pub is situated in a narrow store front in a shopping center that once held the area's only Kash 'n' Karry supermarket. That store is long gone, leaving a big gaping hole in the center of this strip mall really, but the other small box stores are all occupied with mom-and-pop businesses like this one.

The pub is the left corner of the mall, and its interior is pretty straight and narrow. The loo, as a result, is an easy find. From the front door, just head to the very back of the place (through the dining area and past the bar and kitchen window). Enter a hallway along the back -- the toilets will be on your right, the women's first and then the men's.

What's it like?

This is a cute little pub that's mostly a local's hangout, though it's such a charming place, and the food's good enough, you might want to make the drive to visit.

The atmosphere is part British, part Florida. Patrons here sit at antique-looking wooden tables covered with somewhat "old-fashioned" (i.e. tacky) clothes. Around them loom decorations like wooden knickknacks, beer signs, posters for soccer teams and more. Think Cracker Barrel with a decidedly British spin. Either way, it's a clean, unpretentious place to grab a beer and some food. The fish and chips here are some of the best in the area, which includes Melbourne and Orlando (believe it or not). Other noteworthy menu items include the creamy conch fritters and the chicken wings, which are fried to delicately crisp perfection here.

The bathrooms extend the dining room's decor almost to a tee. The walls and floor are colored pasty green and the walls are literally covered with novelty signs -- many of which put the user's manhood into question. I spent a good ten minutes reading everything I could find on the walls, from signs featuring groan-inducing puns to ones showing scantily-clad women with beer bottles (ahem). Clearly, this place loves its novelty signs! I only wish I'd been there for a longer visit and not just a pee -- it would have felt like a more justified use of my time, reading all those signs. Still, it's very clean and cozy, and because it's all the way in the back of the place it also provides plenty of privacy. Good show.

Marks out of 10:

8. A top-notch strip-mall bathroom with a well-expressed sense of humor.

Comments to the Management:

I think I saw a little open wall space in the back corner of the loo here -- might want to cover that up with another novelty sign, no?