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The Stairs to Nowhere

August 5, 2011

Last Wednesday evening, a number of my co-workers took me out to celebrate my last week at my now previous employer, Tierney. A few weeks earlier, I had accepted a position with a new company in a new line of work and they wanted to show appreciation for my dedication and commitment to their company.

In order to say goodbye properly, we went downstairs to the Tavern on Broad for a few half-priced drinks. After about two hours, a number of us decided to head to The Black Sheep located on 17th Street between Spruce Street and Locust Street. Every Wednesday, this particular bar has trivia starting at 8 PM and we thought it would be fun to play.

We all had a great time, but trivia can run a little long and we had been drinking, so needless to say bathroom visits were in order. The first restroom I visited was downstairs and it was small but excellent. It is a private room, no wider than three feet and no longer than five feet; it was extremely clean, quaint and secluded. This restroom presented nothing out of the ordinary, but if you ever patron The Black Sheep, have peace of mind knowing that it can be considered an above-par place for relieving yourself.

Now the bathroom upstairs was even nicer, larger, cleaner (despite more usage), and well-decorated. This bathroom offered a nice tile floor, clean toilet, wood paneling and fresh paint, and a nice set of wooden steps with a railing that went absolutely nowhere.

Had it not been for a friend of mine out with us that evening mentioning the uniqueness of the bathroom, I would have most certainly missed this feature. I probably would have taken the trip downstairs to the bathroom less utilized for a second time because I like to avoid crowds. I suggest you check it out, if not for the steps, then for the bar itself – the food was tasty and they offer a number of different brews (this is Philadelphia after all).

This final little tidbit can be considered irrelevant, but we came in second place in the trivia contest and won a free $20 gift card that we used for drinking. When leaving, I “stumbled” out the front steps, not up the steps to nowhere.

The Recliner

August 2, 2011

Again this bathroom documentation took place in Atlantic City, also at the Tropicana, and also in The Quarter. One of the places we really like to go is called Red Square, a  Russian themed bar and restaurant on the lower level.

There are a few reasons we really like this place, but         mostly it is for the ambience and drinks. They make an incredible black and white Russian that comes with a piece of white chocolate floating on top (I never get to eat it – my wife grabs it out of the drink before I ever even take a sip). On most occasions, my wife gets the champagne with strawberries or raspberries, whichever they have that evening.

The bar is also very unique as it has a layer of ice underneath it that always keeps your drinks cold. There is a vast display of vodka and they even have a walk-in vodka freezer that you can rent out. I have been told they provide you with fur coats to make the whole experience “authentic.”

But on this particular occasion, none of that mattered. I became fixated with the restrooms. Firstly, they are hidden down a long hallway. Once you get to end, there are anywhere from five to seven doors leading off this dark hallway. Each room holds one toilet, a nice countertop and sink, a mirror, and a recliner situated right next to the toilet.

What really bothered me was this: not only had I never seen a sitting chair located next to a commode, but it was a nice leather recliner. The first thought that came to my mind was that these bathrooms were for more than just relieving yourself. Immediately, my thoughts began to wander and before I knew it I was picturing people using these restrooms for sex acts and drug usage. Why else would they be so private?

My suspicions have never been confirmed – and some of you might think I am being a bit outlandish – but seriously, what the hell do you need a recliner for? Also, who would want to actually sit in it? It is probably no more than 12 inches away from the toilet and that to me is plain gross. In short, the bar/restaurant is a great place with awesome drinks and really weird, scandalous bathrooms, with recliners.

You Get What You Pay For

July 29, 2011

Recently, my wife and I have been travelling to Atlantic City every weekend. I imagine it sounds like we are degenerate gamblers, but the truth is her parents own a house there and it is a nice getaway for us from the summer heat (and smells) of Philadelphia. Given that the house is located approximately one mile from the casinos, we tend to go out Friday and Saturday nights. And recently, friends have been coming to visit during the last few trips, providing an extra incentive to hit the town – who wants to travel to Atlantic City and not go out?

Our favorite casino is the Tropicana and we like to frequent The Quarter (a nicer section of the casino with numerous bars and restaurants), but we had never been to A Dam Good Sports Bar until two weeks ago. Located in a corner on the upper level, we found out that they have specials every Sunday through Friday that include $5 40 oz. beers and $9 bottles of wine. Needless to say, the place is typically packed with a line out the door on Fridays. However, I was able to get in the restroom to take some pictures prior to the madness ensuing.

There was not a single person in the restroom while taking some pictures, until a guy walked in and asked me what I was doing. Thinking that my documenting of restrooms is probably strange to the general public, I responded with, “Don’t worry about it.” What other response is there?

But the following Friday was quite the opposite. And on this given evening, I happened to spill a beer all over myself, pants, shirt, and I was soaking wet. As napkins wouldn’t help me at this juncture, I walked into the bathroom to dry myself off with the automatic dryer, but there was already someone there drying their shirt.

Two other guys were in the corner of the bathroom smoking cigarettes (the whole area is a non-smoking area) and there was a line out the door for people trying to use the restroom. The place was sheer insanity. And here I am, looking like I peed myself, waiting sheepishly to use the dryer while some other klutz is already doing the same thing I had in mind.

The bottom line is this: the place stunk like cigarettes (a better option than others), there was water, sweat, and urine everywhere, paper towels strewn across the floor, and I had to wait for about five minutes to use the dryer (the shirt was easy, shorts not so much). Then, I had to get back in line to use the urinal. Needless to say, this was not a pleasant experience, but as we all know, most bars don’t offer luxurious bathrooms, especially when they are selling $5 40 oz. beers and $9 bottles of wine. Needless to say, when it comes to restrooms at bars, you often get what you pay for.

Magnificent (and not so) Facilities

July 6, 2011

Welcome. I am the Wizgoblin. While you might not believe it, there is no pun intended as I chose this avatar when I was about eight years old – I was obsessed with Warcraft, however, it fits quite nicely.

This blog was inspired by Seinfeld’s George Costanza, and all of his quirky bathroom habits. As a former resident of New York, I took great pride in following George’s advice regarding the best facilities in the city for public restroom use. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself in a dirty KFC or McDonald’s late at night because that was the only one available.

But enough rambling; this blog will serve as a guide and recap of all of the public restrooms (and some friends’ bathrooms just for fun) that I will use throughout my travels. Bathrooms can be simple, odd, clean, or disgusting, but we will always need to use them provided a large percentage of us continue to act “civilized.” Therefore, prepare to follow me on my journeys across the United States – and the world – as we embark on a truly remarkable quest to document the worst – and best – rooms of rest.