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69 years old
Hi folks. I've been fascinated by toilets since working my through college cleaning them. Hope to have some fun here.
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A week ago -- no issues

The relatively new (four months in business) 88 Lounge is an anomaly in downtown Providence – an adult night spot amid about a dozen clubs and bars that all seem to cater to twerking 20-somethings.

Wedged in between parking lots and an alleyway not too far from city hall, the 88 is a piano-bar creation of a San Francisco-area transplant named Phil who thought it would be a profitable idea to bring some West Coast bar scene cool to the Northeast.
So far, so good.

Despite the problem of trying to get known when people tend to stay home during what has been a brutally harsh winter in the Northeast, the 88 has been able to get its financial feet under it – unlike the previous two owners, who tried (and failed) to make a go of it with loud music and even louder kids.

It’s technically a piano bar, but Phil encourages other musicians to get up and jam when the mood hits them. But you have to know what you’re doing – if you’re thinking instrumental karaoke, it’s not.
Because of limited space (capacity appears to be about 60), the bathrooms are not huge. The one-at-a-time rule applies, and it is VERY IMPORTANT to remember to lock the door, because if you don’t, 8 to 10 people might be able to see you sitting on the toilet if another person enters by mistake.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, as they say, and the 88’s head is spotless. At least at the beginning of the night, when I checked it. One toilet, one sink, no graffiti. No kids drunk out of their minds puking their guts out. And good music. What more could anyone ask for?

Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Providence, Rhode Island
On February 9, 2014, 2:42 pm
What I Did in Here: Everything you can imagine -- and more

Never have eaten the food -- too overpriced

Former NFL coach Don Shula might not know much about the restaurant business, but the people who are using Shula’s name appear to, and by all accounts the Shula Restaurant chain is doing quite well, thank you. Shula’s 347 (the web site does not explain what the numbers mean, except maybe what the average price might be for dinner for two and a decent bottle of wine) in Providence is attached to the Hilton hotel and adjacent to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, so if you don’t mind forking over $40 for a steak that your 10-year-old daughter will only pick at, you can eat and then walk over and catch Disney on Ice.

And when duty calls, you can access a clean rest room – you know the kind where you feel obligated to wash your hands in case someone walks in while on your way out by still zipping up?

Shuila’s has two urinals, two stalls (one for the handicapped, complying with federal law) and two nice glass wash basins (see attached photo) which all but scream at you to wash up and towel off.

[Note that you can still use the rest room even if you are not eating at Shula’s 347. Simply walk to the front door of the hotel, take a right and the bathroom is around the corner. If you get questioned by the valet out front and asked if you’re a guest, act offended and tell him/her that you are with the symphony orchestra that is beginning an extended run at the nearby Providence Performing Arts Center. He or she will back off real fast.]

Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Providence, Rhode Island
On February 3, 2014, 12:22 pm
What I Did in Here: 1. I did 1

A few years ago

The Ground Round restaurant brand had a rough go of it in the early-200os, filing for bankruptcy in 2004 and selling out to an independent group eight years later. One of the victims was the GR in Pawtucket, R.I., which was attached to the Comfort Inn hotel on Rt. 95, a few miles north of Providence and a couple of line drives away from McCoy Stadium, home of the minor-league Pawtucket Red Sox.

The hotel is noted for its stark, cheap rooms, its proximity to McCoy (opposing teams stay there) and the mid-1990s incident in which the manager of the Phillies’ top farm club was arrested and charged with having cocaine mailed to his room. It’s also the only hotel in the city in which you cannot rent rooms by the hour.
Twenty-somethings have been known to stop at and have a beer on the way to nightclubs in Providence (easy on, off the highway), at the Ground Round’s successor – Murphy’s Law. The restaurant/bar, which uses the same entrance as the Comfort Inn, is a dark pub – perhaps so you can’t get too good a look at the pretty standard bar food that it offers up.

But it’s a decent place to have a pop, and if you need to hit the head it’s clean and provides just about what you’d want. There’s no lock, plenty of room for two people and – most importantly – it’s clean. And Murphy’s Law at least makes an effort to spruce up the place with posters, even if they are just ads for cheap beer and future special events.

Location – when you see the bar on the left, the bathrooms are all the way to the end and to the right. If you get stopped on the way in, just say you’re headed to the bar – and go directly to the bathroom.

Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
On February 3, 2014, 11:11 am
What I Did in Here: Whole nine yards

Wed. Jan. 29 2014

At times the food court at the Providence Place shopping mall resembles the vegetable markets on the streets in Addis Ababa – teeming with people with no apparent place to go and no compelling reason for being there except to make locomotion impossible for you.

At other times the court is so empty that you think that the Ebola virus has stopped in for an impromptu visit to sample the free General Tso chicken that they give out on toothpicks.

You can get any kind of junk food (curiously, except McDonald’s) that you want here, from Johnny Rockets to Popeye Chicken. As long as you’re comfortable navigating through the sea of humanity on busy days, which is basically any Friday, Saturday or Sunday, or any day between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

And if/when you feel the urge to relieve yourself, there is a bathroom at the far left corner (about 11 o’clock if you are standing near the main entrance and looking directly at the staircase leading to the movie theatre.

You have to head down a few corridors to get to the bathrooms (men’s room on the right), and the folks hanging out there can be a little sketchy (would it kill security to clean out the area every now and then?).

But the rest room itself is kept clean, and with 6 urinals and 5 stalls, there is rarely a wait. All the toilets seem in working order, and there are three wash basins which also are clean and functional. (The water in the one I used was cold, however, but I really wasn’t too keen on lingering, so I let it go.) No towels – they have several of those Dyson Airblades which blow your hands dry. BTW, those suckers retail for about $1200.

Note: The Providence Mall is several stories high and there are a few other bathrooms. Best to use them if you are shopping, but the food court head is fine if you’re chowing down.

Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Providence, Rhode Island
On January 30, 2014, 12:41 pm
What I Did in Here: 30-second spray

A year ago .... no issues

At any given time of day or night, Kennedy Plaza in Providence is teeming with activity. High school kids who skipped school, politicians hanging around City Hall waiting for envelopes stuffed with cash, college students arriving by bus or waiting for Bonanza to take them back to the Big Apple.

And many of them want to take a leak, or more.
Males who find themselves in the area and need to relieve themselves have two options:

1. They can find an alley behind City Hall, which serves the dual purpose of relieving the pressure on one’s bladder while at the same time making a clear statement about the effectiveness of city government, or . . .
2. Navigating your way through a labrinth and using the facilities in the Biltmore lobby, which are actually located in the bottom floor of the attached McCormick& Schmick’s restaurant. Which is a problem, because the head is guarded by a machine gun nest and a woman who has spent most of her adult life as a guard in a Bulgarian women’s prison.

The Biltmore has a vested interest in keeping the riff raff out, especially since it’s a tired facility trying to fight time and maintain its fading image in the face of high-end competition from the nearby Omni Providence. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a way, though.

First, get into the Biltmore lobby, which is easy as long as you are not wearing ripped jeans, carrying a ratty backpack and have a two-month growth of beard. Walk confidently to the left of the large column, head through the door that leads to the restaurant, tell the Bulgarian prison guard that you are going to the bar, take a quick left and then -- when you think the guard is not looking, head down the stairs.

(Note: If you try to enter the restaurant from the outside and not the Biltmore lobby, you may see a sign that there is no public restroom. Ignore it.)

Assuming you get inside the men’s room and don’t have to pay immediate attention to any bullet wounds from the machine gun, you’ll find a clean facility with several stalls, clean sinks, plenty of papers and – in case you want to linger a bit – renderings of antique cars and horses jumping over fences.

Nice place. Class. Clean. Quiet. Everything you need. Two-ply paper, even.

You just have to figure out a way to get there.

Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Providence, Rhode Island
On January 28, 2014, 12:18 pm
What I Did in Here: Everything except rode the zip line

6 months ago, and fine

If you can survive crossing a few dangerous streets on your way out of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Trinity Brewhouse is a decent place to both eat food and get rid of it before or after a game or concert.

You can’t get a Heineken, Blue Moon draft or Miller Lite at Trinity, but if you like specialty brews, this is the place. They’ve got a pretty wide variety of suds they brew themselves, which they off-load to various liquor outlets throughout the state. Never really got into the brewpub scene, but Trinity and a few others in the city seem to have a loyal following.

The problem with Trinity isn’t so much the beer as the food, which is pretty much standard bar fare. Commenters on Yelp and other sites all seem to have the same issue with Trinity – the restaurant offers wings at great prices, then has the nasty habit of running out a few hours before closing. Not sure if this is true all the time, but often enough to get singed on social media.

In warm weather you can sit outside, as long as you’re not bothered by an occasional panhandler, and when the manager is in a good mood he or she will ease overcrowding near the bar and open the downstairs area. But don’t hold your breath on that.

If you need to let loose and don’t plan to sit down and eat/drink, you will have to run a gauntlet. Walk in the front door and immediately go right. You might need to talk your way past a host or hostess, but you can do that by saying you want to sit at the bar. Keep going right, then when the bar ends, hook a left and the head is behind a false wall.

The men’s room ambience is not great – there are rolls of paper towels on top of the dispenser and on my visit the sink needed a little Formula 409. But the nuts and bolts were fine – the urinal was clean and the toilet had no issues. And the good thing is you can lock yourself in and grunt and grind to your heart’s content.

Not the Taj Mahals of men’s room, but more than adequate.
Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Providence, Rhode Island
On January 28, 2014, 11:19 am
What I Did in Here: Spied, basically

Just popped in, popped out

Tucked in tight between the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (home of Providence College basketball, Providence Bruins minor league hockey and big names in entertainment) and the Omni Hotel in the godawful glass and metal edifice known as the Rhode Island Convention Center.
The RICC (not to be confused with the Community College of Rhode Island) is home to a variety of gatherings, from bridal expos to cheerleading competitions for tweens. But the men’s rooms get the most use during the annual two-day Great International Beer Festival in November, at which time obnoxious males generally between the ages of 21 and 40 get hammered and say stupid things.
(The festival’s web site lists about three dozen types of beers that are available, then in small print at the bottom asks patrons to drink responsibly. OK.)
Off all the events at the RICC, the beer festival obviously puts the most stress on the myriad men’s rooms that are located on every floor. But if you just need to pop in and out, the most convenient entrance is the one located at the north end, across the street from the Omni Hotel. Head straight in the door, ignore the security guard who most likely will be sleeping, and the john is on the right, just past a short staircase. If the guard gives you any grief, tell him that you just used the ATM and have a right to use the bathroom.
As bathrooms go it’s pretty standard fare – two urinals (clean), two regular toilets (paper on the floor in one of them, and a toilet for handicapped folks. Pretty clean, but not spotless. One problem – this bathroom was out of paper towels, but it was Sunday night and Rhode Island is a union state after all.

Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Providence, Rhode Island
On January 28, 2014, 10:06 am
What I Did in Here: Frontal elimination only

January 2014 . . . no problems

The men’s room at the iconic Murphy’s Deli & Bar in downtown Providence is a 25-square-foot box that can be either available and unobjectionable, or not. Just depends on when you need to fire away.

Murphy’s is somewhat of an icon in Providence. About a decade ago it moved from a block away to its current more-visible spot closer to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, which enables it to cater to sports and concert crowds coming and going. Combine that with decent lunch traffic and curious conventioneers, and the bar can be a decent hangout. You might even run into a politician you recognize.

Problem is, when the bar is busy the one-person-only (more on that later) bathroom is too small to accommodate the crowd, and lines tend to form.

And those lines are almost constant on Friday nights, when the nearby clubs empty out around midnight and Murphy’s morphs from a deli/bar into a meat market with DJs and grinding bodies. With more than a hundred drinkers and one men’s bathroom . . . well, you do the math.

Watching 20-somethings twerk can be entertaining, but there also can be a good show in the small hallway where kids who have had one Jello shot too many try to navigate their way in and out of the bathrooms. Every now and then the one-person occupancy rule is violated, with the unfortunate result being that what happens in the bathroom stays in the bathroom. (Fair warning: Under the right conditions DNA can last for hundreds of years.)

But that’s only for a few hours late on weekends. The vast majority of the time Murphy’s is a welcoming, decent place with a friendly staff and an OK if unspectacular place to eliminate waste products. They save money by using one-ply toilet paper and the wash basin is merely serviceable. And because of graffiti scratched onto the mirror, for a split second you might think you’ve been transformed into a post-plastic surgery version of Bruce Jenner.

Bottom line – it’s not the Ritz Carlton, but if you HAVE to go, Murphy’s will suffice.
Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Providence, Rhode Island
On January 22, 2014, 10:07 am
What I Did in Here: Got rid of rented beer

Blake’s Tavern, located in

Blake’s Tavern, located in downtown Providence, looks like one of those watering holes where everyone should know your name. But they don’t. Part of it is staff turnover. Part of it is the transient nature of a customer base that includes students from nearby Johnson & Wales University. Part of it is that the pre-theater early-evening clientele is too snooty to develop relationships with people they view as their inferiors.

Whatever the case, Blake’s is basically just your routine bar, and the bathroom facilities there pretty much reflect the ordinary nature of the establishment itself.

However, there is good news:
1. They will usually not hassle you if you want to just pop in and let go. The men’s room is located just past the far end of the bar, in a tiny hallway, and the women’s room is adjacent. (Note: There is an extra women’s room further in, and to the right, next to the kitchen.)
2. Even on weekend nights, Blake’s is rarely so busy that you will have to wait more than one (maybe two) traffic lights to relieve yourself.

The men’s room has a capacity of one, which gives you plenty of privacy if you need to grit your teeth, groan a bit and launch a Seawolf submarine.

The place is kept relatively clean, though you don’t get that Lysol smell that makes you feel that at least 35 percent of the bacteria has been eliminated.

The only ambiance is illegible graffiti that one former patron has thoughtfully left on the inside the door and greets you on the way out. Perhaps translates to something like the once-popular bathroom funny “Flush twice – it’s a long way to the kitchen.”

All in all, an OK spot to get done what you need to get done.

Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Providence, Rhode Island
On January 22, 2014, 9:31 am
What I Did in Here: Observed and watered the urinal

Ever want to let one loose on

Ever want to let one loose on the same throne that once supported a famous pro athlete?
Now’s your chance – if you happen to live in or visit Providence, R.I.

Almost all the pro football teams playing against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., stay over the previous night at the Omni Providence in nearby (25-minute ride) Rhode Island. And the first stop for at least some of the players is the head in the lobby, just across from the check-in desk and next to the escalator.

Since Peyton Manning has played in Foxboro many times, the chances are good that he’s called an audible or two in the facility before heading to his room. And the facility is actually quite nice – four urinals, four toilets, four sinks. Even a painting. High class all the way. And what better way to score an autograph than be exiting the stall when a pro football player is on the way in? (Note: Teams arrive on airport shuttle buses at about 5 p.m. the day before the game.)

Don’t be too concerned about the signs that say the rest rooms are for guest use only. (Unless you’re dressed like a homeless person, in which case you have about 90 seconds to get in and out before security arrives.) Just walk in like you own the place. All the better if you have one of those “Hello, my name is . . .” badges, because you’ll look like one of a thousand people attending any one of numerous conventions.

The Omni is also prime territory for rich suburban high schools during prom season in May/early June, and more than one horny 17-year-old boy has been disappointed to find out that the bathrooms in 4-star hotels don’t have machines that dispense prophylactics.

The Omni is across the street from the R.I. Convention Center, which is attached to the Dunkin Donuts Center, a 12,000-seat venue for sports (Providence College basketball, minor league hockey) and big-name acts (Elton John, 50 Cent etc.). All in all, the Omni is a great place to spray or bomb if you are looking for both convenient and clean.

Circlingthedrain Male, 69 years old.
Providence, Rhode Island
On January 19, 2014, 12:59 pm
What I Did in Here: Limited to standup elimination