Keep Calm and Crap On
by Marissa Marangoni
Burntwood Tavern in Fairlawn
What would you think if I were to tell you that the featured colors in a bathroom include red, green, blue and yellow? Ugly, right? Me, I’d think ugly. But never fear. This color combo is one of dreams in the bathroom at Burntwood Tavern in Fairlawn.
Have y’all been to this gem yet? Burntwood Tavern’s a hot item in West Akron. RIP Max and Erma’s, but I don’t think it’s missed too much. I did hear someone mourn Max and Erma’s mac and cheese, but this person put aside their grief to hail Burntwood Tavern as the new king in town. The parking lot for Burntwood has never NOT been full since it arrived, so much so that of the three times I’ve been there, only once was I able to park in either of the two lots attached to the building.
Burntwood Tavern’s bathroom is quite the looker, though walking through the door sent me into a bit of a shock because the aesthetic is mismatched within the room itself, and all of these well-lit styles fail to align with the swanky, moody, tavern-y experience of the restaurant outside the bathroom. This bathroom may be having an identity crisis. Confusion be damned, though, because this is a damn nice bathroom.
If I had to classify it, I’d say Burntwood Tavern’s bathroom is a little bit country, a little bit classy, a little bit modern-rustic (is that a thing? I’m copyrighting it if it isn’t), and a little bit elementary school. Somehow, that all works well together. When I say it works together, I mean that it doesn’t work together so much that it ends up working. Together.
From its dusty blue walls with subway tile of the same shade, to the green entrance door with the artsy spray painted “W” to signal the lady-folk, to a rustic wood-framed mirror above the basket of rose petals between the sinks, and then to the modern cement floors and light-stained wooden toilet stalls, there’s nothing your eyes will land on in this space that will strike you as boring. There’s no way to capture all of the things going on in this bathroom in a photo, so you’ll just have to go see it for yourself.
All the plumbing is plumbing, the paper towels are aplenty, and you’ll probably feel pretty fancy tossing your trash into a cloth-lined laundry basket. Or you might feel a little like that’s wrong, and maybe like you should crumble up your soggy paper towel into your pocket instead of throwing it into the designated trash receptacle. Not that that’s what I did.
On the rare occasion I again find parking at Burntwood Tavern in Fairlawn, you can guarantee that I’ll be finding rear parking in their bathroom. Just not for more than 2 minutes because it DOES. NOT. TAKE. THAT. LONG. TO. DO. YOUR. BUSINESS. Burntwood Tavern’s women’s bathroom gets a solid 4.5/5 toilets for being clean, classy, and interesting.
3750 W. Market St.
Fairlawn, OH 44333
Gasoline Alley in Bath
Hello, friends, it is I, Emily. Just kidding. It’s not. Emily is attending to more pressing matters this month (I know, it is hard to believe there are such things more pressing than writing Urine Luck), so I am attending to the bathrooms. You’re welcome. I’m killing journalism (as some of our fine fans like to say about us) all by my lonesome self this month.
I am sorry to tell you that I tackled no outdoorsy toilets. Emily would have shoveled through a snow drift to pee in an unheated outhouse just for you, but I am not that dedicated. You talk to Mother Nature about it. When she decides we are done with the snow, then I can try and find some more park bathrooms to ponder. In the meantime, I sought refuge from the elements in an old Akron area favorite: Gasoline Alley in Bath.
I think most people in Akron have visited Gasoline Alley, and if they haven’t, they’ve at least heard of the place. And for good reason: a gas-station-turned-restaurant that offers beer, burgers, and pizza and also serves up clams, mussels, and pasta should not be missed. Especially since that gas-station-turned-restaurant only makes meals that leave you completely full but wanting more. “Completely full but wanting more” is, not surprisingly, also a very fitting description of the bathroom.
I was a little concerned about this old gas station bathroom, given the sad-but-static reputation of gas station bathrooms, but I swallowed my fear and am pleased to report that yes, you too can venture into this space happily and do your business effectively. Gasoline Alley’s bathroom is small but spirited. The space is completely filled, but you will want more of its version of entertainment. Trust me on this one.
Gasoline Alley’s women’s room has an outdated feel, but it really just complements the restaurant, which also has an outdated, hole-in-the-wall, homey feel to it. It’s like your grandpa’s favorite tattered chair: rough around the edges but comfy in all the right ways. This is the bathroom I wanted for this place, and it made me happy because it totally fulfilled this want. Complete with an under-the-sink curtain (Is there a formal name for this? Vanity hider? Plumbing coverlet? Undersinker?) and a green toilet stall, this spot is solid. The water runs, and everything is working.
What really makes Gasoline Alley’s bathroom say, “Please stay in here a while, even though there is probably someone who really needs to pee right now and is waiting for you to get out of here,” is the inspirational saying decor haphazardly placed about the room.
The world seems to be all about inspirational sayings these days. You know, that “Live, Laugh, Love” cliche stuff? It’s nice, it’s also mostly boring. You don’t usually see inspirational sayings in bathrooms, though. What’s perfect about them in the Gasoline Alley bathroom is that these decorations boast inspiration in unusual ways due to their unique locations. I am particularly partial to the sign that rests behind the sink that reads, “THIS AIN’T MY FIRST RODEO.” I tried to equate that to pooping and I didn’t get very far. T made the words just that much better.
Inside the toilet stall, the decor game just gets stronger. Directly above the toilet paper holder is a sign that reads, “Live The Life You’ve Imagined.” I read that and thought, “I’m living one hell of a life right here on this toilet.” I then glanced up the stall wall, only to read another sign that read, “Life is better by the pool.” I’m not even going to talk about this one.
What I really love about this bathroom is that I can’t tell if all the signage was placed as a kind of tongue-in-cheek deal, or if someone just liked the signs and put them where they could best get them to hold onto the wall and ended up making an unintentional pinnacle of amusement in this here pot. I can’t give Gasoline Alley anything less than a 5/5 toilets here. I would dock them for their weird-tasting water, but this isn’t a restaurant review, and it’s probably not their fault anyway.
870 N. Cleveland Massillon Rd.
Akron, OH 44333
Marissa ate approximately half of a 10.7 oz. bag of M&Ms while writing this column.