Dear Leila: Ruckus in the Restroom

By Leila Wagner |

Whether it’s a fine dining restaurant or a neighborhood dive, restaurants and bars are the back-drop for many of our lives’ most significant (and insignificant) moments. We’re here to let our hospitality expert answer your most vexing questions.

If you’re drowning your sorrows in the bottom of a glass or the bottom of a tip jar, Leila Wagner is here to help sort out your problems. Have a special situation for Leila? Email her already: leila@

This week: Leila dishes out advice to some folks with bad bosses.

Dear Leila,
Two customers keep coming and, well, fucking getting intimate in the bathroom. Help!
Disgusted in Denver
I thought it would be fun to poll some of my favorite bartenders and industry friends about this situation. And, it paid off with some great advice. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
“I’ve definitely dealt with this more than once. I always opt for a loud knock on the door. Then, I firmly remind them, ‘This is a single person restroom. One person at a time in there!’ And keep banging (pun intended?!) until they come out, followed by a knowing look and a stern ‘don’t do that again, yall.’ This method also works for groups of college kids having cocaine parties in the bathroom!” – Kirstin, bartender
“You know what I’d do about it… absolutely nothing. And neither would you. You say you’d do something about it, but you wouldn’t” –Kurt, my boss
“There’s so many things I *imagine* myself doing in this type of situation but when it comes down to it, it’s painfully awkward no matter what. Are they long time regulars that always come in a spend tons of money and once in awhile they want to tango in toilet? Or some freaky couple with a public sex fetish and for some reason *this* particular bathroom is the one that really gets them going? Either way, it’s disgusting and unsanitary and you are committing one if not more crimes.
Maybe tell your manager you’ve noticed they have entered the building and ask them keep a close eye on the couple. If they are currently restroom romping I’d say a few loud, clear knocks on the door would suffice in breaking it up. Then, wait until they are “finished,” make eye contact with them while holding a spray bottle of disinfectant and cleaning cloth. Here is your moment to make some type of witty remark ‘well, at least you’re quick’, etc. If that doesn’t embarrass them enough and they return for a second go, take one of them aside; explain how much you don’t want to get involved with law enforcement, but remind them that they’re putting you in a really tough spot. Ask, “Could you please not do it again?” – Magda, bartender
“Next time they, uh, come in, and you recognize them (you will, because we always do), wait no later than the first round to explain that unfortunately the restroom is out of order because customers kept coming in and… well, you know. *expertly delivered wink*.  You’ve now successfully ruined both the element of secrecy and reminded them that they are not unique sexual snowflakes, but another pair of inconsiderate customers.  Should they persist, close ’em out, slap a generous “cleaning fee” on the bill and point them in the direction of the nearest public park.” – Morry, server
“Lock them in the bathroom” – Konnor, bar manager
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