Wednesday 14 May 2008

Toilets at Dive Bar Copper Rocket Appropriately Dingy and Dirty

(image courtesy of
Copper Rocket Pub
106 Lake Ave.
Maitland, FL USA

Where is it?

You have multiple options for bathroom visits here. When facing the bar, with the bar's main entrance to your back and the stage to your immediate left, you'll see a small doorway wedged into the back left corner of the place, to the left of the bar. That's the men's room.

From the same position, look to the right of the bar. You'll see two doorways there. The first leads to the kitchen. To the right of that is second doorway -- that leads to the women's room.

Further right from that is a small hallway opening, set across from the pool tables and along the same back wall. Down that hallway is the supply room. The door at the front and immediate right of that hallway is the handicapped persons toilet, which accommodates both sexes.

What's it like?

This tavern, located in a northern suburb of Orlando, wears its dive bar intentions proudly. It's a dingy, somewhat dirty place, dimly lit and often patronized by various local characters, from hipsters to Crackers and everything in between.

The interior features lots of wood, like wooden bar tables and booths and a massive wooden bar, and much of the wood here is chipped and worn in places, for added street cred. Ironically, the beer selection here is one of the best in town, right up there with Jax, which is this place resembles in a way (Jax is kind of like the Rocket's cafe-inspired cousin). The food, mostly sandwiches and other beer-accompanying munchies, are passable though not worth making a trip for -- stick with Jax for the food if you want a decent sandwich with your specialty brew, but come here for the decidedly low-brow hipster atmosphere if that's what you're seeking.

Bathroom-wise, it's pretty foul here. But seeing that this is a dive bar through and through you kind of expect that. Still, that doesn't make the experience any better. The men's room, to the left of the bar, is a stretching, narrow room containing a dingy sink and dilapidated urinal wedged into the back of it. A stall "area" (and I emphasize the word "area" because it's not really a stall but more like an afterthought with a toilet in it) sits to the right of the sink and urinal, blocked off by an actual door (not a stall door) that -- like Jax -- lacks a knob or any way to lock it. If you're going here, you're keeping the door closed with your foot, if you catch my drift. Then again, on my visit, the "area" had no toilet paper, so perhaps a visit isn't quite in the cards for anyone in need. (Note: Bring napkins or tissues with you if you have to go because chances are you'll need them.)

The sink in the men's room is filled with nicks and grime, as is the urinal, which is badly stained with urine. The drywall around the fixtures is cracked, spotted with mildew and in dire need of replacement. The off-white tile covering the floor is downright filthy. And, if that weren't enough, there were no towels to dry your hands with.

Yes, it was pretty gross. And it's noisy too because it's in a bar and you can hear the sound system pretty well in here. A fine place for a pee if you're a guy, because you can be in and out quickly, but women will be pretty grossed out (not that I visited the women's room, but I was told some vivid horror stories).

On the plus side, the men's room at least has soap for hand washing. That isn't the case in the handicapped toilet, which has nothing but water. And that's too bad because if you need to go Number 2 while at the Copper Rocket, you're best bet for a private experience is to head into the handicapped toilet, because it accommodates only one person at a time and you can lock the door (clearly a leg up on Jax), allowing you to take your time, as long as those waiting outside don't start banging on the door too much. Unfortunately, because there's no soap, you'll still need to head to the other bathroom to wash your hands properly -- just don't expect to dry them because, as I mentioned, there are no towels in either location (grab bar napkins as you round the bar) -- and thus you'll be forced to experience both places here.

That wouldn't be so bad if the handicapped toilet were clean, or at least cleaner, than the regular men's room. But it isn't. You'll find the same grungy floor tiles here, as well as some grimy, cobweb-covered walls (with lots of graffiti, which make for good reading while you're on the pot but otherwise do little but make the place seem cleaner than it is) and a grimy sink, which was not as gross as the one in the men's room but still wasn't exactly spotless.

Worse still, the sink had this piece of paper towel stuck to the side of it, and it was stuck with such force that I couldn't dislodge the seal while running water on it. It just stuck there. Really gross.

Marks out of 10:

3. If you have to go, use it. But otherwise, avoid if possible.

Comments to the Management:

I understand this is a dive bar and you want to impart some sense of grunginess to the bathrooms. But it doesn't have to be this bad. The Flying Saucer in Raleigh is pretty dive-y, albeit a lot larger than this place, and it manages to have serviceable facilities. And while you should consider installing new fixtures and re-drywall the place, just to bring it to par, you don't necessarily have to lose the dive-bar mentality in the process. Look at the Planter's Tavern, below Savannah's history Pink House -- it manages to be clean, comfortable and unique while still purporting the tavern mentality. I think you could do the same here as a means to extend your place's personality.

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