Open since December, Yu Yu is a young spot, but it's located in one of the oldest parts of the city. The surrounding architecture is French-inspired, and the streets are wide, residential and, amusingly, named after European cities. I'd visited the club a few times before, most recently for a transcendental performance by DJ Fati (AKA RAMZi). For that night, back in February, I arrived at midnight, shortly after the club opened. This time, I arrived at around 2 AM.
Descending the stairs, I passed through a series of small rooms to get to the source of the music. The crowd felt very different from the last time I came, with lots of open blazers and collared shirts. Everyone was jerking to a thumping bassline, but I couldn't see the DJ. After a few seconds, Evan Baggs popped his head up from below the decks, vinyl in hand. He placed the record down and cued it up, smiling to himself as he made a smooth-as-silk transition.
With a maximum capacity of 130, everything at Yu Yu is intimate. As I swapped words and lighters with strangers on the ground floor patio upstairs, I discovered it was a lot of people's first time there. Someone invited me for tacos. No more than 30 people fit on the dance floor at a time. For bigger crowds, the adjoining rooms, equally small, can also become dance floors. In there, the walls were lined with short rows of cinema seats, handy for catching your breath during a long night of dancing, but also a nod to the venue's other cultural offering: film screenings.
As the rhythms grew more dynamic, I descended back into the basement. Baggs's sound was intergalactic, with space invader synths flying over skeletal beats. Two votive candles, both emblazoned with the image of Our Lady Of Guadalupe, burned behind the booth. There we all were: the DJ was smiling, I was smiling and when I looked over at the stranger dancing next to me, he was smiling, too.