Review | The (new) Spot: Sex, Songs, Sports, & Smoke

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Wednesday, March 09, 2016 

under Food by Claudio Grillenzoni



The very good music played by the Filipino band

The location in the heart of the city

The chilled atmosphere

It's smoker friendly


Cons (?):

It's smoker friendly



In journalism the so-called "rule of 4s" claims to reveal the success for any publication or a media company: Sports, Sex, Silver (money) and Shed blood (crime news). We jokingly like to think The Spot (maybe not by coincidence a place starting with "S") seems to follow this success path, while adding a further S for "Songs".

In fact The Spot is one of Shanghai's most popular places to watch sports broadcasts live on big screens (the place has four big ones scattered about the main room); to listen good music; to have some food from the famous burgers-and-wienerschnitzel school of cuisine; to drink some Bloody Mary cocktails (I hope you didn't expect real bloodshed!); and, while you're there, make some nice encounters for the late night. All the ingredients for a successful and fun hang-out are to be found here. 

Recently The Spot has been relocated from its historical post on Tongren Road to a new and revamped space, still on the same road, but 50 meters down in the direction of Nanjing West Road (what was before Malone Bar, belonging to the same group as The Spot, and now sadly closed). So basically, the address is different, the premise has been renewed, the soul of the bar is exactly the same.

Reaching the new location, right after crossing the ample veranda, what first stands out is the open kitchen, which resembles an American drive-through with the big grill spitting fire and delicious whole (or half) roasted chicken (100 RMB the whole, 55 RMB for half).

Entering the main door, the space is divided into two floors. The ground floor starts with a cute Art Decò Cinema style cashier like something out of Chicago at the beginning of the 20th Century (including the anti-thief bars), and after the parade of stools and tables along the bar counter, it ends with a stage floor where every evening (at 9 pm on working days and 10 pm during weekends) a talented Filipino band gets the audience rock-and-rolling and tapping their feet (most of the songs are 80s and 90s classics). Whether you're interested in sport or in chicken-breast and mashed potatoes, the band itself is worth a visit here.

The second floor has a more private and secluded ambience, with more comfy seats (no stools here) and no people standing, reminding you more of the atmosphere in a cigar bar. 

The personnel are nice, well trained, and they take warmhearted good care of the customers (the majority of them are laowai). And one more word about the food: in these kinds of sport bars, the food is usually an accidental snack of last resort or a salty excuse to trigger the elbow to guzzle down more pints of beer. At The Spot, though, the food is not bad at all: you can get big and tasty salads (60 RMB), dishes of South-Asian cuisine, American and German classics such as burgers (80 RMB), steaks (tenderloin at 110 RMB), or schnitzel (70 RMB), and of course the ubiquitous pizza as well (between 60 and 100 RMB). During Monday and at lunch there are set menus.

The only cons (or depending on the person, more pros), is that it's a very smoker-friendly atmosphere. It's not unusual to find yourself next to a table of "chimney customers." So if you are one of those who welcomed the anti-smoking regulation, here it might feel like looking through a window to the past. But if you are one of those health-conscious people you probably wouldn't have any interest in going to a place like The Spot in the first place. 

It might be that the sixth S that makes The Spot perfect or terrible for you is actually "Smoke."



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