Trap doors, secret staircases, and ancient tombs have never failed to capture our imaginations. What kid hasn't dreamed about entering a wardrobe to discover Narnia, strolling through the Chamber of Secrets, or speeding down a water slide to find One-Eyed Willy's treasure. We eat at Coyo Taco because we're hungry, but nostalgia might be what draws us to the bar's hidden lounge.
Coyo Taco's taqueria/discotheque concept in the heart of Wynwood was both serendipity and a longtime dream of Sven Vogtland's. Along with Alan Drummond and Scott Linquist, Vogtland is part of the Coyo ownership group and the visionary behind its badass sound system and DJ performances that showcase acts such as Walshy Fire of Major Lazer, Flosstradamus, Oscar G, and countless other headliners. As a teen in the late '90s, Vogtland attended boarding school in Boston and frequented a password-protected nightclub called the Loft. At the time, the legendary Armand Van Helden was the resident there, and the two are still friends today.
"We wanted tacos in the front and a cool lounge in the back," Vogtland says. "I wanted to create something like the Loft. I wanted it tight, and premium sound quality was paramount for me. Chef Scott Linquist and I were working together at Barton G. I discussed the Coyo concept with him, and unbeknownst to me, Mexican food was his passion. We already had the concept, but now we had the players to execute the vision. It just came together."
A fan of the scene, former resident at Bardot, and respected DJ in his own right since the '90s, Vogtland knew exactly what he wanted the room to sound like. He covered the walls and ceiling with a special burnt wood imported from Japan for improved acoustics. He outfitted the room with a top-of-the-line Dynacord sound system, a major draw for premier DJs. Fifteen-inch speakers bookend the DJ booth, and subwoofers stand in all four corners of the room.
"I knew what I liked based on where I've played in the past, and I had to have the German Dynacord sound. At first, people thought I wasted money, but now that we've had Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, J Rocc, Rich Medina, and the Murk, Mad Decent, and reggae Wednesday residencies, I think we're onto something."
Walshy Fire debuted his "Rum & Bass" Tuesday residency November 9. Coyo was at capacity, and chatter about cameos from Walshy's friends Diplo, Skrillex, and Justin Bieber circled the room like the line to get in the door snaked around the block. According to our sources, the "Where Are Ü Now" trio peaked inside but decided the room was a bit tight for their couture kicks and bounced. Last week for Miami Art Week during Art Basel, Coyo rolled out Oscar G, Ralph Falcon, Walshy Fire, Dubwise, Yaadcore, Cosmo Baker, Joe Kay, Kon, DJ Moma, and several others. Made-in-Miami dark-beat dance music legends Oscar G and Ralph Falcon pack the house every Monday — all this in a space about the size of the average living room. In a music scene loaded with pyrotechnics, paint-blasting cannons, robots, and CO2 guns, simple lights and loud-as-fuck speakers are refreshing. Along with Trade, Do Not Sit on the Furniture, Electric Pickle, Treehouse, and Bardot, Coyo is a leader in a movement of smaller, more intimate clubs. And Miami is responding — positively.
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"I've never DJed in my own club," Vogtland says. "People say I've bought a Ferrari and am sitting in the back seat, but I'm happy with what we have here. I love to watch people's reaction when they walk into the club for the first time. We wanted to create an unpretentious place with good sound, good music, and reasonable table service. I think we've done it."
Murk Mondays with Oscar G and Friends. 10 p.m. Every Monday at Coyo Taco, 2300 NW Second Ave, Miami; 305-573-8228; coyotaco.com. Admission is free.
Walshy Fire and Friends. 10 p.m. Every Tuesday at Coyo Taco, 2300 NW Second Ave, Miami; 305-573-8228; coyotaco.com. Admission is free.
Dubwise (Reggae Party). 10 p.m. Every Tuesday at Coyo Taco, 2300 NW Second Ave, Miami; 305-573-8228; coyotaco.com. Admission is free.