Stories from the stall
Ahhh, the bathroom. A trip to a public restroom is, at many points in life, inevitable and depending on your luck downright scarring or surprisingly satisfying. In our search for the valley’s shining stalls and dingy dumps, we found that people really do check out the bathroom and usually take note. Some residents keep a running list in their head of the secret “gem” bathrooms in the village, as well as the “never-ever-unless-it’s-an-emergency” commondes. And it’s not just women keeping tabs – men care too, especially when they’re faced with a number-two situation. A few people were hesitant to talk about their favorite restrooms for fear more people will start to use them and then they won’t be as clean and stocked, but a few kind souls filled us in on restrooms that rock, and restrooms that need a little sprucing up.”There are some scary restrooms in Vail,” said Barry Davis, former owner of Art’s Bar in Vail. “I don’t want to name names, but there are a few bars that I’ll leave and go to the Transportation Center’s bathroom.”How does Davis qualify “bad”? “How about two inches of standing water on the floor?” he replied.As a former bar owner, Davis understands how important a clean bathroom is, and though he said he didn’t always suceed on that front, he certainly tried. “I learned that you get guys in the bar if you have girls in the bar and the number one thing you can have for women is clean restrooms,” Davis said.”Keeping your bathroom clean at a bar is a difficult task, to say the least. Ever heard the phrase, ‘nobody washes a rental car?’ It’s a lot like that at a bathroom in a bar. if it ends up on the floor, someone else will pick it up, so they leave it,” he said.Making contactThe difference between men and women and their respective bathroom sensitivity is simple, Davis said.
“Everytime a woman goes, she’ll have to touch a private part of her body to something – that sets up her guard from a cleanliness standpoint. Most of the time, as a guy, we’re just as happy in the yard – we have no contact with the target.”It’s when there is contact that men think twice, he said.”Real fear arises in a guy when you walk into a bathroom and – because you’re standing – not everyone’s aim is so great, and you’ve been drinking. Then there’s this rush of fear (saying) ‘there’s no way I can go (to the bathroom) in here.”‘That’s when it’s time to bring out the “big card – the secret stash in the village.”The now-defunct 8150 bathroom was “awful,” said Eagle-Vail resident Bridget Blackwell.”The doors didn’t even close and they never had toilet paper. If they did, it had usually fallen on the floor and was all wet,” she said.It’s bathrooms like those that make the really nice ones stand out all the more.When Davis used to work at the top of Bridge Street there were a couple bathrooms in the Lodge at Vail that were really “something special,” he said – “but the staff is onto the fact that the retail staff in the village has caught on, so you have to get the I-know- what-I’m-doing-leave-me-alone face (and the) I-belong-here face down,” he said. “There’s no wandering of the eye, you can’t even hint that you’re asking permission. Act like you know what you’re doing and coast on through,” he recommended.Privacy is key
If you’re in the village and you have to go, Blackwell agreed The Lodge is the place to be, especially if you have to go number two.”The doors and walls on the stall go from the floor to the ceiling so it’s very private,” she said.”La Tour also has a nice bathroom. It’s a one-person bathroom but it’s well decorated and comfy-cozy. Plus there’s reading material on the wall – framed quotes and such.”Avon resident Megan Mowbray said that no matter how nice a bathroom is, she’s “still a squatter,” when it comes to a public restroom. The 24-year-old said that she definitely pays attention to bathrooms from both a design and cleanliness standpoint. “Frites in Edwards has a really nice bathroom – it’s open and clean and it’s not your standard bathroom. I think they took some real time designing it.”Besides the usual suspects like cleanliness, stocked toilet paper and towels, and stall doors that stay closed, Mowbray appreciates a bathroom’s ambiance – especially if the style and design of the restaurant or shop carries into the bathroom.Dish! restaurant in Edwards nailed this concept, said Mowbray, though it was her boyfriend that used the restroom there first.”He came back and said ‘Oh my gosh, you have to go to the bathroom.’ We actually had a whole conversation about it. I really like the lighting they have in there and the pedestal sink. The candles and flowers were a nice touch as well.”Distinctive detailsMango’s owner Eric Cregon hears comments nearly daily about the Xcelerator hand dryers he installed in the recently renovated Red Cliff restaurant.
“Usually you hear the giggle from the line where people stand picking up orders. And then people come out and go ‘Jesus, those things will tear the skin off your hands.’ It’s usually ‘where did you get those? Are those things made by NASA?'”E-Town, a new restaurant in Edwards, flaunts perhaps the most appealing bathroom detail – at least for males. A flat screen television is mounted on the wall above the urinals.”We tried to design the restaurant as a classy sports bar – we have 16 flat screen TV’s and we threw one in the bathroom as well. It reminds people that we are a casual place, plus I want to be able to check the score if I go to the bathroom,” said Kevin Egan, partial owner of the restaurant.Rather than a television, the ladies room has a full length mirror, fresh flowers and fully enclosed stalls.”We tried to make the stalls a lot more private. We put some thought into designing it as well and tried to cater to the feminine side. It’s not just some dirty, grungy bar bathroom. With the private stalls they can shut the door and have their own little paradise in there to do what you need. Most of the women that have been in there said they love it,” Egan said.The most asked question in a bar or restaurant is generally ‘where is the bathroom?’ Egan said. “Everyone goes there eventually so we wanted to make ours unique.”Caramie Schnell can be reached at 748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.