The Garden State has always had a thriving LGBTQ+ community, and spaces like Paradise and the city of Asbury Park have become the home base for the community throughout the year. Now, The 244 Spot in South Amboy is offering an alternative for people and they opened up this past week to a bang! I sat down with Bar Manager Chip Luck to chat about what The 244 Spot wants to offer the LGBTQ+ community, the events they’ll have starting throughout the week, and whether or not we can expect to see a Miss 244 Spot pageant at some point…
Michael Cook: What is different about The 244 Spot in comparison to other LGBTQ spaces like Paradise & Georgies?
Chip Luck: The only difference really is that this is more Central New Jersey than anywhere else. It’s more accessible for people from New Brunswick and Staten Island and they don’t have to travel all the way to Asbury Park. If you’re in the Woodbridge area, it’s a forty five minute commute to either Asbury Park or to New York City. That’s what makes this space more convenient.
Space-wise, it’s a small spot, along the lines of Georgies. Unfortunately we are only allowed around one hundred people as it stands right now. It’s a cute and intimate place.
MC: What is the general vibe of the space going to be like? Can we expect drag shows and perhaps a dance floor?
CL: We do have a small dance floor and it’s a lounge/dance type of vibe. The bar seats twenty-two in the main room and the back room has a pool table, tables, couches, and a dance floor with the DJ booth. We are going to be everything and we aren’t sticking to one theme; it will be something different every night.
MC: Who is behind the idea for The 244 Spot?
CL: The people that owned the bar wanted to make it into a gay bar. They’ve been in the bar business for a while and they had an Irish pub before that. They thought the community needed a gay bar in the area to go to.
MC: There were reports that the former owners of the famed Colosseum that were involved in this new venture…
CL: It’s not the owners of the Colosseum….
MC: How will you incorporate drag into The 244 Spot?
CL We will be bringing back Drag Attack from Colosseum. It’s going to be a competition every Tuesday with a maximum of six girls competing at a time, only because it’s a small place we can’t bring in that many people. We’re going to max out at six and Chantel Curtis is going to be hosting for us.
MC: What else do you have happening during the week?
CL: Sunday night is going to be a Martini night, a more lounge-y type pf night. We will have a lot more special martinis that we don’t normally carry during the week since they’re more intricate to make. Monday night is going to be alternating, every Monday something different. The first Monday will be leather night, the second Monday will be bear night, another Monday will be trans night. We’re not sure of the exact line up yet, but that is what is happening on Mondays. I have some people who have already contacted me who belong to different groups who love that idea.
Tuesday is Drag Attack, and Wednesday we plan on doing a bingo/trivia with a drag queen that we bring in with some fun prizes. Thursday night will be karaoke night, while Friday will be Latin night, a Latin DJ with music. Saturday night will be dance night, where we have the dance floor open for house music. We want to give everyone the chance to come out to do what they want and we don’t want to repeat the same stuff over and over.
MC: Any particular DJ’s that you have confirmed as of yet?
CL: We’re still finalizing the lineup, but I’ve talked to DJ Phillip James and with Tall Speedy. We won’t be kicking off out nightly events until the first of November though
MC: The vibe of the space and the events you are describing does sound very much like the Colosseum used to be. Is that by design?
CL: That’s because of me (laughs). I took things from when I worked at the Colosseum and The Den and when I was in Allentown that worked at all of these places and brought them into one. My feeling is, if it doesn’t work after three to six months I’ll change it up and put something else on that night.
MC: What did that space where The 244 Spot used to be?
CL: The original name of it was Mike’s Tavern, then it was Danny Boys. Now it’s the 244 Spot. It’s up behind Sacred Heart school off of North Stevens. It’s more of a residential area, unfortunately it’s street parking and we don’t have a parking lot.
MC: How was the reaction from the area been to having an LGBTQ-geared venue opening been?
CL: No one has said anything negative, although I have heard that someone in town hall was really excited that an LGBTQ+ bar was coming to South Amboy.
MC: Do you think you would do a Miss 244 Spot pageant perhaps?
CL: Probably not since it’s such a small spot. I’d rather the queens come in and perform, and make their tips. Unfortunately, a pageant would not be worth it, not now at least.
MC: Six months from now, how do you envision the business expanding and thriving?
CL I just want it to be busy even single night and having people come out and enjoy themselves. Having them feel welcome and safe. We’re not going cover charges except for Friday and Saturday night and that is going to be five dollars. I am keeping it very low and that is for helping me pay for the DJ’s on the weekend. I’m not thinking too far ahead, I am thinking about what we’re doing now and I want this to be a place that is really happening up here. I am hoping that if this does take off, maybe six seven months down the road, then maybe they would think that we should start looking for a bigger place!
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