Ask someone what The Spot is, and they’ll usually start by explaining what it isn’t. It’s not just a bar, not just a nightclub, not just a music venue. It’s “the best place to get hammered,” but also the best place to learn yogic meditation. It’s where you’ll find painters, DJs, dancers, hustlers, hippies, misfits and old people.
“It’s its own entity!” says manager Keven Blanchette, screaming over the music. Someone hands us margaritas over the bar, one of the four bars I’ve counted (so far). The room turns purple, green, purple again, blue. “Everywhere we move, we take our vibe with us!”
The Spot, located since 2012 in a loft on Richmond Street, moved this May to a new location on Pine Street. Keven calls it an “arranged marriage” with another nightclub, The Colosseum, which has moved upstairs to give The Spot two basement rooms, “The Abyss.”
What’s astonishing is they completed the move in just under 48 hours, lugging supplies, gear and their massive collection of artwork. “We had so much support,” shouts Nick Cardi, “We had a hundred people coming off work and volunteering until the wee hours of the morning.”
The renovated Abyss still has The Colosseum’s Roman marble busts and Doric pillars, but “The Spot Family” has made the place unmistakably their own. Live bands play here daily now, as artists free-paint behind them and a gallery shows off hand-blown glass pipes. The marble statues piggyback inflatable dolphins. “$1 Massages,” reads a sign. In the other room, tropical fish float beside girls expertly belly dancing with hula hoops.
Best known for their Open Mic nights and legendary live shows, The Spot also hosts a rainbow’s worth of events during the week – burlesque shows, disco yoga, Free Funk Wednesday, Sunday Hard Rock, painting classes, galas, comedy – Nick’s philosophy seems to be: If you can do it, then why the hell not?
“When we started this, we had no idea what it would become. We were just like, let’s have one room with yoga! Let’s have one room with modern dance!” says Nick. “And we had the worst name,” he says, laughing, “we were called the Rhode Island Center for Artistic Collaboration.”
The current name grew out of habit, the way families come to name a car. “We just kept saying ‘I’m at The Spot’… and then it just stuck.”
Outside, as the night deepens, crowds of friends hang out on the outdoor patio, which has a tiki bar. “The Spot is my home away from home,” gushes a regular, Geoff, “I know that whenever I come here, the crowd will be three persons deep with all my friends.”
When asked what makes The Spot so special, another regular, Shama, doesn’t miss a beat. “People here are so damn nice,” she says. “They’re so damn polite. At other nightclubs, well, I don’t even want to talk about other nightclubs.”
Meanwhile, The Spot just keeps getting bigger. At the five-year anniversary party this June, the crowd barely fit into the new premises. Are we seeing another move coming soon? Nick laughs. Wine flows. Music loudens. “Follow the energy!” he says. Say no more. Follow the energy. Party on.
180 Pine Street, thespotunderground.com