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The Spotlight to shine a new light

A street sign marking the entrance of The

A street sign marking the entrance of The Spotlight in Amityville. (Oct. 12, 2012) (Credit: Ian J. Stark)

Using some vintage magazines, distinctive ideas and new management, the bar formerly known as Broadway in Amityville has changed names – and looks to implement a fresh personality as well, but without sacrificing the openness toward unique happenings expected at this location.

As of Oct. 4, 2012, 198 Broadway in Amityville’s shopping district changed its name to The Spotlight. It kicked things off with a new wave music party, which at first glance doesn’t sound all that different from what used to go on at this venue, as in evenings often featured bands and DJs that played alternative and underground types of music. But upon entering, one can see – while still a work in progress – that a renewed attitude is already in place.

During its days as Broadway, décor wasn’t exactly a priority. The walls were a combination of faded paint, ancient wallpaper left from previous tenants and some stickers stuck here and there. It wasn’t the biggest of issues, as the space was primarily used for the aforementioned unconventional parties (such as heavy metal shows, dubstep nights and hip-hop performances), so the niche audiences in attendance were generally willing to accept the sparse scenery.

But now, under the guidance of new manager Pete Motive (also a photographer and drummer; originally from Port Jefferson), the look and sound has begun a radical transformation. The audio system has been rewired, the walls have been painted, the bar has been sanded and a new sign is expected soon for the marquee. In addition, Motive has taken his love for antique items and added some of the most unusual bar trappings anywhere on Long Island.

Sit at the tap mantle, and find such reading material as a ribald party joke book from the 1970s and the pre-teen educational manual “Mr. Wizard's 400 Experiments in Science” – not to mention a stack of “Boys’ Life” magazines from the 1950s and Suffolk County travel atlases from the late 1960s. A super 8-format copy of the sci-fi sequel “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” and random photos of actress Sharon Stone, taken early in her career, are also within reach. But perhaps the most interesting novelty is an aged cash register Motive found buried deep in the building’s basement: it dates back to the 1940s, and is believed to be the cash-counting device used by the original business.

Customers are more than welcome to poke through the ephemerae, or to peruse the small library of books shelved along one of The Spotlight’s rear walls, a hodge-podge of a collection that ranges from Anne Rice novels to a chemistry college textbook. Of course, this is still a bar, so if a cocktail is in order, the bar now serves such concoctions as the Top Gun (vodka, run, triple sec, amaretto, Southern Comfort liqueur, cranberry, orange juice), Skittles (a combination of berry-flavored vodkas, Sprite, cranberry) and Itauan Coffee (espresso, white chocolate, vanilla vodka). Then again, those who’d rather consume caffeine over coffee can take heart as a coffee bar is scheduled to be set up in the near future.

The doors will soon open at noon, with the expectation that Spotlight is to become a daytime gallery for local artists. Live music and DJs will continue to find performance space (during which the art will be removed from the walls to keep everything safe), and according to manager Motive almost anything will be possible when it comes to events -- so anyone who’d like to know what’s coming up, be sure to check The Spotlight on Facebook (facebook.com/spotlight.lounge.1). (Upcoming events: Boston metal-core band Ice Nine Kills plays on Tuesday, Oct. 16; hard rockers Sirens and Sailors are set for Wednesday, Oct. 24; a three-day Halloween bash is set for Oct. 26-28).

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