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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Ok, who decided to put the creepy dummy in the bathroom at Rimsky's?
Inside an unassuming old house at the corner of SE 12th and Stark there's a coffeehouse like no other in Portland.
Ok, no other besides Pied Cow over on Belmont. Work with me here.
Inside this house tarot cards hang from the ceiling. Coffee is served in mugs shaped like chickens. Guitarists play Eastern European ballads.
And there is something fairly terrifying in the bathroom on the second floor.
Head up those stairs on some idle weeknight and past the doors with tiny signs that advise you to keep walking. Open the last door on the left, flick on the lights and get ready a surprise.
Or not, since I just ruined it for you.
I knew this dummy was up there and I still wasn't quite ready for it. Am I'm playing this up too much? Maybe. Then again, I think I might have a repressed fear of dummies. Especially dummies that sit in dimly-lit coffeehouse bathrooms designed to look like the bottoms of lakes and glare wickedly at anyone who dares attempt to use the toilet.
So what you're looking at here is the decor in the bathroom at the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House. The dock mock-up hanging from the ceiling is definitely a nice touch. So is the friendly lake specter that just wants to make sure that you wipe properly.
A colleague was surprised that I'd never heard of the place, the creepy set-up in the lavatory or the rotating table in the dining room. I headed over to Rimsky's all by my lonesome on the night of a recent thunderstorm, which somehow gave the interior even more of a Tim Burton-y vibe. I took a seat in the corner. Supposedly, the staff have a reputation for acting a bit odd. Shortly after I arrived, a waiter came over to my table and asked if I knew what I wanted. When I said I didn't, he muttered, "That's all right, I don't either" with a dejected sigh before walking back into the kitchen.
Rimky's was packed that night. Everyone in the place acted like they'd been there a million times, completely oblivious to the "casually threatening atmosphere." If the small crowd hadn't been in such an upbeat mood, I would have expected a seance to break out at any second.
The check for my Mexican Mocha also came with this cartoon of a neurotic cat. Neat.
Rimsky's typically opens at 7 PM. I wonder how much mystique it would lose if it was open during proper daylight hours. Oh, and as for the origins of the coffeehouse's name, I'm not ashamed to admit that I had to look it up on Wikipedia.
Maybe it's time for me to brush up on my knowledge of 19th-century Russian composers....