Where Tatler shares its humor
By Ruby Liles
A comprehensive review of Memphis’ coffee shop bathrooms.
In May, I was tasked with writing my very first college essay to be printed and turned in on August 12. Initially I spent hours on end in my room awaiting some divine inspiration to remind me of some obstacle I’ve encountered fundamental to later success; to jog my memory of a time when I’ve questioned or challenged a belief or idea; to push through me the language of a scholar, the introspection of the wisest of women.
The walls of my room are just too darn familiar. No essay-worthy inspiration lies in the pages of the already-read books on my shelves or awaits me as I stare blankly at the same ceiling I fall asleep looking at each night. So, in a desperate attempt to get something, anything, written on the blank Google Doc titled “college essay” that had been invading my subconscious the weeks prior, I began my unintentional pilgrimage across Memphis coffee shops, pleading that the change in scenery might do the trick.
But as the avid coffee consumers out there not unlike myself would know, coffee has less than desirable ramifications in the digestive department. Euphemistically, I too spent a lot of time in coffee shop bathrooms this summer. As such, I feel it only my civic duty to report back my findings. And so, Tatler presents a comprehensive review of the coffee shop bathrooms of the 901.
1. Comeback Coffee
I first noted these bathrooms are single-user, gender neutral facilities: pleasant surprises all around. Upon entering the bathroom, I happily frolicked across the roomy and well-lit space, grateful for and appreciative of the good lighting and cleanliness (a luxury I was not afforded at other coffee shop bathrooms). Handwashing experience was 10/10: sink was intuitive and water flow was just right. By far the best coffee shop bathroom I’ve experienced.
2. Muddy’s Grind House
These bathrooms, too, are single-user and gender neutral, which I’ve always appreciated because it eliminates any element of waiting on others in my bathroom experience (unless of course both rooms are taken). Pick a bano, any bano, and have the space to yourself, while you’re at it! No judgement here. What sets Muddy’s apart, I found, was its overall cuteness: the style of the bathroom matched the style of the overall space, a rarity among retail bathrooms. I do concede that the lighting is weird (more specifically, green), the rooms themselves are cold, and are tucked discreetly in the corner. This last point, though, I find not to be a downside: when I have to excuse myself I could just slip back behind the bar free from the eyes of the entire restaurant.
This bathroom had originally been number two on my list: with its eco-friendly flushers, fun mural on the wall opposite to the toilet to observe, and Anthropology candle going strong in the corner, the bathroom experience was just about everything I could ask for! However, Muddy’s ultimately edged it out on the personality factor: the coffee bar area of Society itself felt a little like the lobby of a Hilton, and the bathroom held firm to this aesthetic. Overall an up-to-par bathroom, but nothing unique here.
My favorite part about the Otherlands bathrooms is the hallway in which they sit. With regularly interchanged flyers and posters on the message board, the gift shop to meander about while waiting for the bathroom to become unoccupied, and the weird yet fun “men” and “women” illustrations on the doors, waiting in line for the bathroom is the highlight of my experience. The bathroom itself is spacious and a gal like myself does appreciate a full body mirror, but the awkward location of the hand towels (directly above the toilet) and navy walls creating a dark atmosphere are not my favorite. The bathroom itself is not the dirtiest, but it’s also not the cleanest. Overall bathroom experience was fine, but not as much of a treat as I’ve found other experiences to be.
5. Ugly Mug
Ah, Ugly Mug. My favorite coffee in Memphis, and it seems many turkeys share this preference considering the amount of times I’ve seen you all in the drive through after/before school. But the bathroom, well, the bathroom lacks luster. It is small. It is bland. It is dark. There is also only one, meaning there is some effort concerted towards calculating when and how to approach the bathroom. It also feels like the bathroom is larger than the sitting area, which is weird and probably not true, but disconcerting all the same. It is also always out of hand towels. All things considered, not the best experience, but who the heck goes to UM for the bathroom?
I personally have no opinion on this bathroom because I’ve only been to Avenue twice, but when I mentioned this bathroom at the Tatler editorial meeting, the room erupted with passionate disapproval. Trusting my peers, I would say this bathroom’s biggest flaw is that it is really small (to the extent that it feels like an airplane bathroom). Sink = confusing, and so too hands = not clean. The lighting is also extremely beige, and the toilet sits far too low for a layperson. Not the best bathroom in the world.
My least favorite bathroom of all time. Smells like actual cat excrement. Tiny. Fun toilet literature (i.e. the millions of posters on the walls), but that’s about all it has going for it. Also, if you’re a newb, it’s next to impossible to find without getting judged by the regulars: you have to walk through the kitchen to get to it, not to mention the deceitful archway towards the back of the seating area that looks like it should be the bathroom entrance. The bathroom itself is so sweaty, the door hits the toilet, and the toilet seat is NEVER clean. At the risk of sounding basic, I regretfully contend that the stained mirror and walls are not “grungey;” it’s just unclean. Would not recommend this bathroom.
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