Updated: Feb 16, 2022
It’s Toilet Talk Tuesday! And it’s about time we visit the magical land of Lakewood, Ohio. If you don’t know, Lakewood made national news last week after a pink unicorn was spotted clearing the sidewalk with a snowblower after the Cleveland metropolitan area was hit with a foot of snow for the second time in approximately week. I couldn’t help but chuckle as the world learned something that most Clevelanders already know: Lakewood is a fun place to be even in the dead of winter.
Today, I am going to talk about a venue that is near and dear to my heart. It’s a place where a pink unicorn could certainly fit in, and a bathroom so visually dynamic that it is featured heavily in my wedding photos. That’s right, baby, we’re talking about Mahall’s! So, pop a squat, and let me tell you about one of my favorite places on earth.
I first discovered Mahall’s when Masked Intruder announced that they would be headlining a show there. A few months earlier it was announced that Masked Intruder would be touring with the Interrupters. Unfortunately, there weren’t any stops in Ohio, so we bought tickets to a show in Indianapolis. However, Masked Intruder decided to squeeze in a stop in Ohio…at a bowling alley. I was skeptical, but I was also hoping for a chance to sing Heart-Shaped guitar. So, we did what we do best: attend multiple punk shows in a single week.
Long story short, I fell in love with Mahall’s that night because for the first time in my life I felt like there was a space specifically curated for people like me. I love every single inch of that venue, every single room, every single detail. From a main stage area and restrooms that incorporate so many pop-art trends from the 70s, 80s, and 90s to the midcentury bar and bowling lanes. This place is a collage of everything that I love, and as Masked Intruder hit the stage, I had a vision of getting married to the love of my life there. Roughly 18 months later, that dream became a reality.
But back to the bathrooms…
It’s important to note the that both gendered bathrooms on the main floor at Mahall’s have incredible art on the walls. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures in the men’s room but it’s a typical bathroom at a venue with the exception of a colorful mural on one particular wall (at least from I remember). However, the women’s bathroom created in collaboration with the artist Peter Larson is a work of art. From the moment you walk in, hundreds of abstract faces line the walls from floor to ceiling. One would think that having so many eyes watching you would feel unnerving, but because the art’s scale, it’s easy for your eyes to start tracing the lines that flow from one face to the next. The ladies’ room at Mahall’s 20 Lanes has been called one of the most iconic bathrooms in Cleveland but unlike other haute loos in the area with high-end fixtures, this bathroom is just a basic bowling alley bathroom that has been enhanced with hand painted art. I have even heard rumors of people featuring the Peter Larson artwork in the background of their online dating profile pictures as an indicator that they are into musicians. I am uncertain if that is true or not, but I think it is clever. That being said, Mahall’s 20 Lanes is the ideal spot for a first date, especially if all parties involved appreciate live music, artwork from local artists, delicious grub, and bowling.
That’s all for now…make sure to wash your hands on the way out.