Best Of 2002

Best Drinking Fountain: Mad Art's Halsey Taylor pedestal fountain

It kinda goes without saying that the best drinking fountain in the region is a Halsey Taylor; everyone knows the company makes the Cadillacs of fountains, just as everyone knows that HT holds the patent on the heavenly Double Bubbler spigot system, which, in the verbiage of the company literature, "remains one of the industry's most important innovations ever. It projects two separate streams that converge to form an abundant pyramid of water at the apex of the stream, for a fuller, more satisfying drink." If the water in your drinking fountain is squirting past your lips in two streams rather than a single measly one, you know you're drowning in a Halsey Taylor and are on the way to having your thirst thoroughly quenched. Haws fountains suck, and those Oasis fountains might as well be squirting urine.

Mad Art owner Ron Bueschle salvaged the vintage Halsey Taylor from the basement of his gallery, which used to house the former 3rd District police station (right by the Anheuser-Busch brewery). The fountain stands gray, tall and proud; the paint's been worn from a spot where countless cops rested their palms while gulping liquid energy after chasing jewel thieves, purse-snatchers and peeping Toms. As a show of respect, Bueschle -- himself a former city cop -- has left the spot as is.

The sentiment is nice, but it won't sate you when you're parched, and it won't win you this coveted award. But Mad Art's Halsey Taylor packs a serious wallop: Cool -- but not teeth-piercingly so -- water gushes into the mouth, more than you can handle in one big swallow. And oh, the arch, the glorious Mad Art arch, a perfect height/width stream ratio, an exact replica of that other perfect Arch, miniaturized and liquefied. What better way to appreciate art? (Note: Mad Art's even trumps the previous Best Fountain, at the Marshall's on South Lindbergh Boulevard.)

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