A long time ago I was in the bar trade, and as such I made a point of frequenting numerous drinking establishments to undertake, um, competitive analysis.

One of the things I realised was that the men’s bathroom i.e. “the gents”, was a direct reflection upon the nature of the bar itself. The worse the washroom, the more danger you were of being knifed in the saloon.

The worst sign was when the washroom had a metal sheet for a mirror, or even worse, no mirror at all. That told you that the landlord did not want broken shards being used as weapons. It was usually accompanied by plastic pint glasses (and student prices at the bar).

The one exception to this rule has to be any bathroom in pretty much any bar or restaurant in Rome. I know the Romans were terribly advanced back in Caesar’s time, but I don’t think they have moved on since then. I love Rome – it is one of my favourite cities – but the washrooms make you think you are in a drinking man’s club in Easterhouse. As they say in Scotland, “that’s rough, by the way”.

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