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By in Queers & Beers Comments Off on Pissing in Bars | The importance of single-stall bathrooms

Pissing in Bars | The importance of single-stall bathrooms

Why do we want single-stall bathrooms?

I believe that if you serve people beverages that make them have to piss, make them more emotional, randy or contemplative (i.e. beer) and you intend for your guests to be around your bar for a few hours, you have a responsibility to ensure they can use your bathrooms in a comfortable, safe way. And in whatever way they need to. And as many times as they need to without waiting in an ungodly line up.

There’s a lot in there, I know. But bathroom needs are serious, immediate needs. And bathrooms aren’t just used to evacuate fluids. They’re used for phone calls, surfing Facebook when you need a breather from your pals or date, making out with someone(s) for a hot minute that’s just a toe over the line of “too much time in the bathroom shit there’s people waiting” and of course ripping farts and standing there while it airs out. There are more things. Mostly all private things you don’t want to do in front of other people.

Georgie Dudka, Good Robot Brewing Company's Events Director in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Cool person, Georgie and Sam (Offsite Events) being fresh.

Most of these things are impossible to do in a multi-stall, typical bathroom. There’s an extra wrench that gets thrown into it for me when I’m greeted with gendered, multi-stall bathrooms. Which is mostly. This doesn’t impact everyone the same way but I’m going to focus on me for a minute here.

Hi Halifax, I’m Georgie, I’m 31, I’m transgender. I use gender-neutral or male pronouns where applicable, and when I go into a bar and I’m faced with gendered, multi-stall bathrooms, I immediately become uncomfortable and uneasy and want to leave the establishment. I mean, physically/presentation-wise I look very masculine but using this type of bathroom is not ideal for me.

Reasons multi-stall bathrooms suck for transgender folks

Reasons it sucks in the Men’s bathroom for me:

  • I piss sitting down and people can tell because my boots aren’t facing the toilet.
  • If they don’t think about the latter too hard they then hear the toilet paper being pulled and there’s definitely a lightbulb moment for some people.
  • I know people notice in the men’s bathroom – because sometimes they eye me up and down when I leave the stall. And it makes me feel gross inside, even though I’m turbo attractive and even if that’s not the intention of the person eyeing me.
  • Also men’s bathrooms inevitably smell like dank piss.

Reasons it sucks in the Women’s bathroom for me:

  • I present very masculine and most women freak out (obv) if I go into the bathroom (so I don’t anymore ever!)
  • In moments while I was beginning to transition, I would still use the women’s bathroom as it was more comfortable for me, and I would feel horrible when people would tell me “you don’t belong here”. Not because I cared I didn’t belong – I did belong and didn’t at the same time and who cares. But I was causing obvious discomfort for the women in the space. And it weighed on me. And it seemed hard and/or unnecessary to explain. And I started holding my pee too frequently and dreading public bathroom use.
BetaBrew FemmeBot Homebrew Competition | Kelly Costello, Georgie Dudka

Kelly, Georgie and cool person brewing a BetaBrew.

From my personal POV based on my identities, there’s this paranoia that goes along with someone “finding out” that I don’t own a penis in men’s multi-stall bathroom situations that creates an unnecessarily jolting experience regardless of how it’s perceived by the other folks in the bathroom. I just get nervous of potential aggression, which has happened in my past and will continue to I’m sure. So when I walk into local bars and taprooms that don’t offer me a comfortable and safe place to piss, I generally leave. Solidarity to trans and non-binary people in these situations, because there are common feelings and consequences for us in bathrooms that other people don’t have to go through.

There are caveats to my bathroom feelings, obviously. For me they are businesses/bars I know very well and have a great relationship with. Like Charlie’s on Maynard! I know the staff so well that I feel very protected there regardless of the gendered bathroom situation. I also acknowledge that staff are not responsible for engineering and building bathrooms. So, you know, support the places and people that support you.

Need-wise, I’m also one of the people that make out in bathrooms, or need a spot to hide on my phone away from my pals. I’m not the person that broke your bar’s bathroom sink though. Because not all people that make out in bathrooms break them, that’s a shitty myth.

What can businesses do?

From a business perspective, if you own a business, I challenge you to consider how many people may feel uncomfortable in the establishment because they can’t piss or cry or poop or make out comfortably. I’ve walked from many a bar I was having a decent time at because I had no access to privacy or my own particular needs around bathroom safety. I do believe that private, single-stall bathrooms are becoming one of the most important fundamental services you can offer someone in a bar for a variety of reasons.

I also understand that for many places – we can’t go back in time and just create single-stall bathrooms. Occupancy for a bar (or any building) is built on both square footage and availability of “male” and “female” bathrooms. And for bars that have been around awhile, there can’t be a sudden expectation to just allocate a budget to bathroom renovations that don’t technically need to happen. That could be too much for a small business to undertake. Though, if you do renovate, you can always pull a Local and go turbo by making your bathrooms multi-single-gender-neutral stalls by walling them in and installing doors that run to the floor. We don’t need to be fancy about it, folks just need to use the space privately.

Katie Whitlock and Georgie Dudka at Good Robot Brewing Company in Halifax.

Katie (Onsite Events) and Georgie.

What I would really like to see are NEW bars that open supporting trans and non-binary folks by designing gender-neutral, single-stall bathrooms. Then, simultaneously, you support people who need a place to have some immediate privacy (pooping, crying, farting, etc.) in order to continue having a good time later. And really, you can never underrate pooping in private, single-stall bathrooms versus pooping in a multi-stall room.

From safety issues for some folks, to comfort and privacy for others – gender neutral, single-stall bathrooms are a great way to show care for people (and let people care for themselves) in a bar or taproom. And while we’re at it! If you see folks in a bathroom who you think “don’t belong there”, remember: It’s truly not your concern, ever, where other people use the bathroom, unless it’s on your floor.

FAQ on gender neutral, single-stall bathrooms

Question: But, Georgie, What about people that don’t understand gender neutral/single-stall bathrooms? How do we explain?

Answer: Gender neutral bathrooms do confuse some people though usually just initially. For most who are new to it, it’s easy to explain.

Try:

  • “They all have locking doors and are separate rooms, so take your pick!”
  • “You can use the bathroom for anything – they’re clean and private if you need a spot for a phone call or what have you”
  • “Your bathroom at home is single-stall and gender neutral, it’s the same here!”
Georgie Dudka, Events Director at Good Robot, Halifax's most questionable craft brewery.

Georgie just killin’ it.

Other folks have a harder time with the principle, so if they become persistent (which some do, “but WHICH bathroom is for MEN”), I like to answer with oddness, confidence and mystery.

Try:

  • “Oh right, sorry for not telling you earlier, men can only pee on the right side of the bathroom or the bar poltergeist starts flushing all the toilets at once and slamming the doors which immediately makes all the customers uneasy obv. Not your fault of course, we’re fine, we’re used to it here, it’s just our manager has to go through this really arduous ritual afterwards” and then slowly shrug.
  • “I just stand in the entrance and smell all the stalls one by one, that’s how I pick”

Question: What if there are already single-stall bathrooms in the bar BUT they are separated and gendered? How do I fix this?

Answer: Change the signs on the door, bam!

Question: How would people know they are actually bathrooms without pictures of cartoon stick people on the door?

Answer: Put a picture of the international sign for toilets on the door: A toilet

Question: Since you just said all this shit, does Good Robot have gender neutral, single-stall bathrooms that I can make out and/or cry and/or go on IG and/or poop in?

Answer: 100%

Got more? All your gender-neutral, single-stall bathroom questions answered by e-mailing [email protected]

_____

Georgie Dudka is Good Robot Brewing’s Events Director.

By in Construction Comments Off on Taproom Construction Update 3: Seasons Change

Taproom Construction Update 3: Seasons Change

The major problem with our brewery is that you guys come here, buy the beer, and leave. Some of you send us pictures of yourselves enjoying the beer. Then, while we’re taking a leak at The Stubborn Goat, we check our phones and see that fabulous picture of our beer on your backyard porch. Or your office desk. Or a mountain top. Campsite. Living room. Schoolyard.

See the problem?

We don’t get to drink our beer with you.

Let’s remedy that.

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Our driveway has come a long way, from Denzel Washington movie set to 10,000 pounds of transplanted soccer field. And although John MacNeil Elementary may not get the practice they need to make the finals this year, I’m sure even they’d appreciate the complementary colour coordination we pulled off. Go Dolphins!

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Demolition, structural, plumbing and some electrical are finished. The second-most interesting phase involved turning a living room into a mezzanine overlooking the bar. The most interesting phase will be explaining to our landlord what happened to the residence upstairs.

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You may notice that, as compared to our brewery construction blog posts, our taproom construction blog posts contain few nightmares. Andrew Flood and his amazing team at Five by Five Renovations are to thank for that. While they’ve been hammering through taproom construction, which should be complete in about 6 weeks, we’re catching up on brewery operations, which are difficult. Brewing is demanding. Cash is tight. It’s horrifying to watch your sales increase as your bank account dwindles, but it’s the reality of owning a business. We feel similar to how we did just before the brewery opened. By the time the graffiti mural below hits our wall, we’ll be days away from opening our taproom, which we want as much as you do. Just forgive us if we pass out after one pint.

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Taproom Event 2: Stand-up Comedy Night – Just Vorlaufs

We told you about Silent Reading Nights. And now for something completely different.

Stand-up comedy is a huge part of our lives. In Seattle, I took weekly trips to the comedy clubs just to hear someone say something meaningful. In fact, Doug Stanhope’s Steal Shit and Quit routine helped push me to quit my job and pursue the brewery. On a road trip we took, Doug had to pull the Chevy Suburban over while listening to Patton Oswalt’s Tom Carvel bit since he was laughing too hard to drive. Angus, Doug and I still attend comedy nights at Gus’ Pub on Mondays and Dal Grad House on Wednesdays. Comedy and beer go hand in hand as catalysts of free speech and, of course, good times.

Doug Stanhope Kissing Josh - Good Robot Brewing Company Craft Brewery in North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia

Josh and his idol, Doug Stanhope, sharing a moment.

Introducing Just Vorlaufs, a weekly stand-up event showcasing the best comedians Halifax has to offer. No TVs. No pool tables. No smartphones. Just you and whatever unfiltered thoughts come to the comics’ minds. We also envision a series of beers to pair with the comics, like Doug Stanhop, Lewis Black IPA or Patton Osmalt.

Josh and Jon Dore - Good Robot Brewing Company Craft Brewery Microbrewery in North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia

Josh and his favourite Canadian comic, Jon Dore.

So join us once a week at Halifax’s second-best comedy venue and eighth-best brewery. We need comedy. Here’s why:

“Comedy and tragedy are two halves of the same coin. Comedy unites us—the moment the laugh spreads through the room we come together, it unites. Tragedy is its opposite—it always divides. We like to believe otherwise, in “a country united by tragedy” and shit like that, but it’s not true. Every person’s tragedy is theirs alone, and it divides us off, even as we are sitting together in a room. These two great forces, pushing and pulling, are the axioms that underlie all storytelling. Anyone who counts comedy as a lesser force isn’t seeing clearly how integral they are to each other—subtract either one and the world just doesn’t exist any more.

— Mike Daisey

By in Events, Taproom 3

Taproom Event 1: Silent Reading

As we finalize brewery construction and await our delayed equipment arrival, taproom design with the help of Breakhouse continues. Given the abysmal weather, a straight shot of Prozac is in order. Given the limits of our liquor licence, how about an uplifting blog post, instead?

 

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Taproom in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Needs work.

During my time in Seattle, I stumbled upon a cool idea: silent reading parties. For two hours once a month, The Fireside Room went dead-silent as its patrons stuck their noses in books and their tongues in martinis. It was like an imbibing library – an imbibrary – the perfect place for a guy like me with one book, two hours, three cocktails and zero friends. Being forced to remain in silence for two hours also doubled as a bizarre social stimulant: once the event wrapped, people began chatting. A lot. With strangers.

 

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Josh reading book in North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia

After two hours of Old Fashioneds, picture books were necessary.

Wrought Iron Brewing is proud to present the first of our many lofty and plagiarized event ideas, Silent Knights. For two hours once per month, we will shut down everything at the taproom except the taps, opening up the space for mixing Yeats with yeast. The North End will now have a haunt for those who are unsure whether they want to read a beer or drink a book. And if your idea of a good time doesn’t involve sitting silently in a room for two hours, fear not: more events are to follow. Check Our Events Calendar for other updates.