Friday 21 November 2008

Bongo Java Toilet Makes for Great Pop Art Experience

Bongo Java
107 S. 11th St.
Nashville, TN USA

Where is it?

From the front entrance, head past the front counter and widely open stockroom. At the end of the stockroom, turn right and within a couple of feet you will be in front of a black door - the entrance to the men’s restroom. The women’s restroom is a separate door to the right of the men’s restroom.

What’s it like?

This coffee house, located on the upper east side of Nashville, is pitted in what is considered by locals as the arts district of the city. The inside of Bongo Java exudes a bit of pseudo-hippie flair. Many of the visitors I saw during my visit were local university students, artisans, musicians, and other creative folk. But, the environment is not so Bohemian that it doesn’t attract many of the everyday blue and white collar locals who come for a great java perk.

Bongo Java uses a two menu system. A standard as well as seasonal coffee menu located on easy-to-read presentation boards over the counter, and a laminated two-sided one-sheet for their food items -- mostly deli-style sandwiches. The staff seems to be skilled at delivering a variety of different coffee drinks, as I did not notice anywhere that they we’re using a “How do I make this damn cappuccino” coffee chart guide that is normally used by Starbucks “baristas.”

The bathroom is the moderately sized. It comes equipped with one toilet, one urinal and one sink. The amount of space it occupies is similar to those in small stores, dive bars or warehouses. But unlike the tarnished fixtures and “just barely tolerable” toilets you may see in such locations (like Copper Rocket in Maitland, FL and the World Famous Coffee Cup, as opposed to the Abbey in Deland, for example), Bongo Java’s restroom is incredibly clean, the porcelain amenities almost gleaming to a blinding whiteness. It almost feels like a shame to use them for one’s personal release. The artwork is a hodgepodge of disconnected Pop Art images, but they all center around one common theme: coffee. And all the amenities in the restroom are worked into the imagery on the walls. Even though it’s apparent that the establishment has painted all this together for the mere fact for you to indulge in their coffee, I was still amused with the mix of cartoon-ish stills that are reminiscent of animation styles still seen on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim.”

With the amount of artwork presented, I did want to aimlessly stare for a good 30 minutes of time, but I worried that other patrons might report me to management for just hanging out in the restroom. The vibrancy of color gives the restroom incredible appeal, unless you suffer from optical sensitivity issues, then I would highly recommend quick use of the facilities with fast glimpses of the area. The fixtures are solidly put in place and didn’t notice any stains or markings on any of them.

The room fits about three people comfortably, and in my opinion, a good place to enjoy yourself while taking a whiz.

Marks out of 10:

8. Definitely a place I could hang out for awhile if there was a comfortable couch there.

Comments to the Management

Impressive job. Would have been more convenient to have the mirror over the sink than to the side. Kudos to creative types who took time in putting the artwork together.

-- Ayal Wolf
Guest Contributor

No comments: