A sprinkle of Jazz, a dollop of community and a dash of Latin flare

Beyu Caffe owner, Dorian Bolden (left), spends some time with his guests (Staff photo by Elle Kehres)

What started off as a simple idea for a coffee shop with soothing background music has morphed into a full-blown restaurant, café, cocktail bar and music venue.

Nestled into his chair at Beyu Caffe, Dorian Bolden tried to figure out whether his cappuccino was, in fact, his second or third cup of the day.

Bolden, a Duke graduate, opened Beyu Caffe in 2005. Since then, it has become a constant presence in the Durham community.

“Our mission at Beyu Caffe is to be the ultimate community gathering place,” Bolden said.

A shot of the main stage at Beyu Caffe (Staff photo by Elle Kehres)

Beyu Caffe hosts events almost every night of the week—most of them musically inclined—but it wasn’t always that way.

Bolden said that while it can be difficult incorporating so much of the music and community aspect into his venue, it’s worth it—especially when he saw how popular the events were becoming.

“The music and community part really took off,” Bolden said. “I became fascinated with the musicians and their passion. The quality of the music justified the cost.”

One of the events that Beyu Caffe holds is Latin Vibe, where every Thursday is full of live music and dancing. It also features an energetic mix of Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba.

Brandon LaRue is a regular participant at Beyu’s Latin Vibe event.

“Beyu is my favorite place to dance,” LaRue said. “It has a really warm atmosphere, and it’s just big enough to give you that party feeling without it being too crowded to dance. It’s the only Latin social with live music that I’ve been to, and the band really brings the room to life.”

Larue also said that whether or not you’re an experienced dancer or a novice, this Beyu event can be for you.

“You’ll see dancers of all levels at Beyu, from people whose first time touching a dance floor was the free lesson before the event, all the way up to amazing dancers like the Cobo brothers themselves,” Larue said.

James Cobo practicing his dance moves (Staff photo by Elle Kehres)

James Cobo of the CoboBrothers Dance Company is the driving force behind Latin Vibe at Beyu. Cobo reached out to Bolden about hosting a Latin dance event last December. The event was turned into a reality in February.

Cobo knew he wanted to hold his event at Beyu after his first visit.

“Immediately, when I walked inside, I was drawn to that place,” Cobo said. “I loved the brick walls, the wooden floor and, quite frankly, I loved the staff members. They had a really special vibe that I connected with.”

Cobo said that he really wanted to emphasize the music and the talent that the musicians showcased. He said he went out of his way to contact some of the best talent in the area.

“They had the capacity for the live music and I brought in the dancers for the space—so together it was the perfect partnership,” Cobo said.

For Bolden, the Latin Vibe event means incorporating a different part of the community into his venue—even if dancing isn’t his forte.

“Latin Vibe adds a great level of depth to who we are,” Bolden said.