After ten years in the Platte Valley, Shakespeare's Pub & Billiards (2375 15th Street) is finally ready to rack it up -- but it won't relocate to the suburbs, as originally rumored. The bar and billiards emporium (owners Jerry and Nan Karsh don't like the term "pool hall") is instead going to pioneer the next Denver frontier, Upper Larimer Street, and will reopen sometime this summer at 2620 Walnut Street if all goes well with zoning. Break!
Forget fancy decor and cheap drink specials: Sometimes the most noteworthy amenities at a bar are its bathrooms. For example, Vinyl (1082 Broadway) boasts unisex facilities with tiled walls and communal hand-washing sinks that spell out a Big Brother future, while 15th Street Tavern (623 15th Street) backs up its dive status with constantly overflowing toilets and a gentlemen's loo that's meant for a standing-room-audience only. The Tavern's privy is so primitive that finicky music lovers might want to run over to the fancy-pants new Hyatt Regency Denver across the street for a moment or two of blessed relief.
Still, the most awkward men's bathroom around could well belong to Sputnik (3 South Broadway). There's one urinal here, situated creepily close to the lone toilet, with nothing acting as a barrier between the two. And while a lock on the door might afford some privacy -- from the outside world, if not from the person already ensconced on the crapper -- it, like uncomfortable chitchat while pissing, usually doesn't work. No, this bathroom is not a pretty sight.
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For women, the worst case of cramps is at the Larimer Lounge (2721 Larimer Street). Although a recent remodeling job squeezed a bit more breathing room into the notoriously narrow club, the extra floor space came at the expense of the tiny compartment laughingly referred to as the ladies' room. But most purses are bigger than this lavatory. There's a sink crammed next to two toilets, one of which is slightly shielded by an all-too-revealing red curtain, the other sitting behind a thin door that takes a precise swinging action to lock. Sure, the Lounge now has more space around the bar, but women would be well advised to go easy on their consumption of liquids.