Read Our Exclusive Interview With ‘The Spot’ Owner, Ted Arenas

photo credit//instagram//@thespotbarnyc

“I think The Spot offers a uniquely well-rounded experience in Hell’s Kitchen nightlife. Whether you’re out to see a top-notch drag show, sample something from our exhaustive drink menu, enjoy a hot DJ set in a space with a great sound system, have a bite to eat, or just chill out with your friends, The Spot has something for you!” – Ted Arenas, Owner 

Top-notch drag shows. Exhausting drink menu. Hot DJ set. Great sound system. Chilling out with friends. Whether you love one of those experiences or all of them, The Spot should be added to your rotation of gay hotspots (see what I did there lol) in New York City. One of Hells Kitchen’s newest queer bars The Spot opened last year and quickly became a must on any night out with your crew. 


The Drag Brunch is one of the best, funniest and most fun drag brunches I have been to, and I have seen many a drag show. Bartenders and wait staff are all ridiculously handsome extremely personable and nice to talk to, especially if you are sitting at the bar solo waiting for late friends to arrive. The after brunch weekend crowds pack the bar, and weekend happy hour specials are in effect enabling you to have that extra double vodka soda. 


Related: Hell’s Kitchen has a brand new gay bar to quench our “Thirst”

Instinct got to have a quick chat with The Spot owner Ted Arenas this busy Pride weekend. We got the scoop on all things The Spot and what to expect this last weekend in June. #gaypride

Hey Ted, thanks for sitting down with Instinct. How and when did the idea for The Spot first come into existence?


I opened my first bar, Bartini, in Hell’s Kitchen in 2009. I ran that venue for two years with a couple of business partners who–to put it very mildly–pushed me out of the company in 2011. That was a big loss for me, as I had fronted 50% of the capital for that bar and put my all into it. It was very difficult for me to recover from and rise above that situation, so when I opened my second bar in November 2014, I called it Rise. I had been wanting to open a sister establishment for Rise for a few years, and I was hoping to secure a location near Bartini’s old home on 10th Avenue. So when I got the opportunity to open The Spot in that area in July 2021, I jumped on it! The Spot really is a rebirth of sorts for Bartini–but it’s got better management, better lighting, and a better sound system! It’s also more neighborhood-friendly.


I loved Bartini! Now I realize why I love hanging at The Spot so much. You mentioned Bartini, Rise…so what makes The Spot different from those bars and other bars in HK?


A couple points come to mind. First, quality. The Spot isn’t a dive, so our drinks go far beyond your standard vodka/soda order. And we always keep our ears open, listen to what our customers want, and update our products and menu items accordingly. We also frequently update our lighting and sound capabilities, which elevates the quality of our shows and brings our customers a top-tier entertainment experience. The fact that it’s operated by someone who has been in New York City nightlife for 24 years doesn’t hurt, either!

Another thing that sets us apart is that we serve food! There aren’t many LGBT venues in the city, let alone in Hell’s Kitchen, that offer a pub-like experience with a full food menu–but The Spot delivers there! We serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, with two seatings each day: one at 12:15 PM and the other at 2:30 PM. And we are in the process of developing a more sophisticated menu that will really showcase our kitchens at both Rise and The Spot!


I have been to drag brunch there many times, and loved it! What is your favorite number from the brunch, I have so many I don’t know if I can pick just one, lol, but I will put you on…the spot. 

I love Holly Box-Springs’s Kathy Griffin number. She tells this hilarious story about how Celine Dion met her husband, and it’s comedic gold!

Holly Box-Springs. Kathy Griffin. Celene Dion. All of those make me so happy! What does the future have in store for The Spot?

Right now, The Spot’s liquor license requires it to close by 2 AM every day. I’m hoping to get that changed so we can stay open later on the weekends, like many of our neighboring venues! Our customers aren’t ready to call it an early night on Fridays and Saturdays, so we’d like to be there for the night owls! Another thing we’re hoping to start soon at The Spot is a piano night. Stay tuned for more on that!



Looking forward to that piano night! We are going to let you go I am sure you have a lot to take care of this morning. Last thing how does The Spot celebrate Pride weekend?

For pride weekend not only do we have extended DJ hours but get ready for surprise pop up numbers by some of the best performers in NYC.


AWESOME! Thanks again Ted. Happy Pride Instincters!


1 thought on “Read Our Exclusive Interview With ‘The Spot’ Owner, Ted Arenas”

  1. Nice to see a gay bar being featured on the site. Looks like it’s packed with a ton of good looking gay guys. Hope I will be in the area soon to visit it.


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