WHEN Charles Clothier opened Arcos Bar in April of 2015, he hoped to bring something more ‘upmarket’ to the Torremolinos bar scene.
Inspired by the pubs in his native London, Clothier envisioned Arcos as both smart and laid-back, a place with a great atmosphere and even better drinks.
“Everyone is welcome here,” Clothier says. “Gays, lesbians, people from all over. Everyone.”
To the delight of Clothier and his partner, Arcos has quickly become one of the most popular spots in town – which says a lot, as Torremolinos is famous for its vibrant nightlife and LGBT-friendly locales.
And thanks to several high-profile visitors in recent weeks, Arcos’ star continues to rise.
Weeks ago, the producers of ITV’s new reality television series, Life on Marbs, approached Clothier and requested permission to film an episode of the show in Arcos.
“I didn’t think much of it; I thought it’d be one man with a camera,” says Clothier.
He was therefore amazed when carload after snazzy carload of cast and crew members arrived on his doorstep.
“They had all their own lighting, they played their own music,” Clothier says. “It was really something.”
The show following the exploits of more than a dozen wealthy expats summering in southern Spain premieres on July 22. The episode filmed at Arcos airs in August.
According to Clothier, the plot centres on a rendezvous between a gay cast member and a romantic interest.
It is only fitting that such an episode should be set in Torremolinos, a longtime international destination for LGBT tourists. The Olive Press recently dubbed the city ‘LGBT capital of the Costa del Sol’.
But Clothier is quick to point out that Arcos is not a ‘gay bar’. He wants people of all sexual orientation to feel welcome there.
And if the rave reviews published on websites like TripAdvisor are any indication, just about everyone who visits Arcos leaves happy. Customers gush about the bar’s ‘fabulous hosts’, ‘brilliant atmosphere’ and ‘cocktails to die for’.
Clothier suspects it is these attributes, together with Arcos’ chic modern decor, that led to an encounter with another celebrity just days after the Life on Marbs shoot.
“It all happened so fast,” Clothier says. “They asked, ‘Do you mind if we take some pictures in your bar?’ And in walks Miss World Malaga, tiara and all.”
Clothier is still unsure of what brought the recently crowned 19-year-old Maria Ruiz to Torremolinos.
One thing, however, is certain: Between Ruiz’s appearance, the Life on Marbs shoot and the bar’s stellar reputation among visitors and locals alike, a visit to Arcos has to be tried.