Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010:
Top Toilet Tips:
Pubs in Malmö -
Part One: The Pickwick Pub

What I think:

A wise man once said: "Time flies like an arrow, and fruit flies like a banana."

With those words, and following the great success of my Top Toilet Tips for pubs in Helsingborg*, I start my first in the series of Top Toilets Tips for pubs in Malmö.

But first, I've got to show you something I saw on the platform at Malmö station yesterday:
The smoking area
Cool, huh?

OK, off we go to The Pickwick Pub...

Pickwick's is located on the corner of Malmborgsgatan and Stadt Hamburgsgatan. During the summer (which usually lasts for about eleven days here in Sweden), it's nice to sit outside with your beer, where you catch some cool northern rays and chain-smoke yourself to death.
It's the pub I go to most in Malmö, as the staff are friendly and attentive, and they're all English-speaking (there's a Swedish girl there, but her English is really good). OK, so that's not necessarily the best reason to go to a pub in Sweden, but the place does seem to attract a fair number of expats, which means that you can actually find people there drinking during the week - generally a big no-no in Swedish culture.

Apparently it's a good place to work as well; although the staff seem to be mostly in their 20's or 30's, they've all been working there since about 1948 [citation needed].

The interior is done up in a very English-pub-like way, with plenty of dark wood, knick-knacks, and upholstered seating. They've got a very good selection of ales, and some Czech and German lagers (I think they might have some Swedish shite as well, in case you have no sense of taste).
When you come in, there's seating directly in front of you, with the bar on the left. There are actually two entrance doors, but I'm referring to the main one on the corner, as the other one is closed for all but the eleven days of summer in Sweden.

Look left again, and you'll see another seating area, referred to by staff as "The Library". This is probably because there are some books there:Also to your left (before the library), there's a dart board. Next to it, there's a chalk board, on which you can either keep scores, or write important messages for the next players. Below, Jenni tells us that she's best [citation needed]. One can only wonder at what... Oh, actually, she does a pretty mean palm-reading; I know that for sure.So now it's off to the toilets. If you enter the pub and go straight through, passing the bar (and more seating) on your left, and the previously-mentioned seating on your right, you come to a doorway with a helpful sign:In the photo above, you can see the sunlight coming in from the right, through the pub's second entrance (which is currently open - Yay, Summer!).

Turning left, as instructed by the helpful sign, you've got a little corridor leading to the stairway to the toilets:Once through the double doors, and turning left, you're at the top of the stairs, over which stands a copy of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. Just joking, kids; it's called a suit of armour (US/CAN: armor):Quite daunting, isn't it? Don't pee yourselves now; keep up with me here...

Finally, turning left at the bottom of the stairs, you'll find the doors to the toilets.You can probably guess that the one on the left is the Ladies', but the doors aren't always open like that, so I thought I'd point it out.

I'm guessing that the doors are left open when the pub opens because the staff had just washed the floors, and want to allow air through to allow them to dry quicker... but it could also be (partly at least) because these places smell bad, and they want to keep them aired out for as long as possible.

Now, I know that pub toilets are generally not world-reknowned award-winning areas of nose-pleasing, aromatic Gardens of Eden, but these ones can get pretty nasty, by any standard. I don't know whether it's partly because they're under ground - and that dampness could be part of the equation - but... well, at times, it's an experience.

Of course, my only experience comes only from my olfactory observations of the Gents' (US/CAN: Men's Room) , so ladies, I can't say for sure what awaits you on the other side of the wall. Just bring a small - yet stylish - nose plug, just in case.

Another gripe I have is with the hand dryer. What is it with these things? It's 2010, for crying out load (and stamping feet, screaming "It's soooo not fair!!!"). A little bit more than a gentle breeze, please?
Having said all this, there is a certain aesthetic charm here as well. The urinals (US/CAN: urinals, but pronounced differently) are good, solid, old-fashioned pieces of work. Crafted in Stoke-on-Trent (like one of the bar staff), even the name of these masterpieces of yesteryear are an eternal testimony to the pleasures of weeknight drinking in a society in which it is frowned upon: ADAMANT.

Even though I don't give it top marks, mainly due to its odourificiousness (yeah, I know it's not a word, shut up) and the pathetic hand dryer, at least the stalls (not shown in these photos, sorry) are usually relatively clean and usually have toilet paper. And the toilets actually work (although at least one is missing the little knobby thing that you pull on to flush).

Toilet stuff aside, The Pickwick Pub has a really fun (and free) Quiz Night every Wednesday evening at 8:30 p.m. (SWE: 20:30), the beer is good - and there's a wide selection of it, and the staff are absolute diamonds. Oh yeah, and they serve some tasty, and good-value, meals as well.

But really, those pathetic hand dryer things - the ones that barely work - should be banned, and it's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.

*Top Toilet Tips for pubs in Helsingborg

Labels: , , , ,