Now the chat can go on!

PUBLISHED: 15:00 15 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:50 03 March 2010

WOMEN are renowned for going to the toilet in pairs when they are on a night out.

They like to chat as they wait in line for a cubicle to become free.

WOMEN are renowned for going to the toilet in pairs when they are on a night out.

They like to chat as they wait in line for a cubicle to become free. They continue conversations through the walls of the conveniences.

And it has not been unknown for two friends to squeeze into the same stall when they do not want to wait for two to become free.

It is with this in mind that Ipswich's newest bar has added a novel feature to its ladies' toilets – a chat hatch.

When Ollie's Cocktail Café opens on Saturday evening its female customers will find an extra place to catch up on gossip.

Sitting in adjoining cubicles women will be able to open a small door, which opens and locks on either side, and sit face to face as they go about their business, enabling them to continue chatting with ease.

The idea for the chat hatch was the brainwave of co-owner Martin Hale's wife Georgina.

Mr Hale said: "My wife works in London and has come across 'twobicles' where there are two ladies' loos in one cubicle.

"We thought that was maybe a little too impersonal but that something a little more reserved would work – a little hatch between cubicles.

"The hatch locks so people using the loos have the choice to communicate or not."

"Ladies like to go to the toilets in twos," he added, "and apparently it's not uncommon, when bars are busy, for people to go into a loo together."

Reaction from women who have heard about the chat hatch and had the chance to check it out at the venue's pre-launch parties has been mixed but Mr Hale, who runs Hollywood Leisure with Trevor Hollinsworth, is confident it will work.

He said: "We've done a little bit of research and some people are a little bit apprehensive. Others think it's a fantastic idea and cannot wait to come to Ollie's to try it out."

The chat hatch is just part of Hollywood Leisure's determination to make Ollie's a different experience for people wanting a drink and something to eat.

With 150 cocktails on offer and a varied food menu, Mr Hale and Mr Hollinsworth are focused on making their bar the new place for people to go, whether it be when they are taking a break from shopping, popping out for lunch or heading out for a night on the town.

Mr Hale said: "There are a lot of places that do cocktails and some claim to be cocktail bars. What we want to do here is do it properly.

"Our bar staff are mixologists, who have entered competitions. They are flare artists."

All Ollie's staff are highly trained in the art of making cocktails and put on a fine display of bottle spinning and cocktail shaker tossing that would make even Tom Cruise in Cocktail jealous.

They know their spirits and mixers and which can go together to make the perfect drink.

Mr Hollinsworth said: "Sometimes things don't mix well together. Our staff know what will curdle or make a drink taste vile.

"And our staff know the weights of each liquid to make our cocktails work so they can layer them.

"We know what works."

While there are plenty of other drinks available it is the cocktails in which Ollie's specialises and there are recipes to suit every taste – from classics such as the Singapore Sling and Tequila Sunrise, to shooters, to in house concoctions, to frozen cocktails, to non-alcoholic mixes, to the supreme purchase, The Earthquake.

Containing Dom Perignon, brandy, Blue Curacao, Marachino and Grand Marnier and made for four, at £175 a time this is a drink for those very special occasions.

*Ollie's Cocktail Café opens to the public at 7.30pm on Saturday. It will then open daily from 11am to 11pm.


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