“For many Bulgarians, Yalta is where it all started,” explains Kliment Yonchev, one of the main men behind Sofia’s famous nightspot. Far from a marketing line, when you take into account this club’s history, he has a point.
Following a re-opening in 2005, partying at Yalta became more akin to a session in someone’s home. Everything from the furniture and floorplan to lights and speaker stacks gives the impression of a private shindig, as wild as it is personal. Add to this a backstory that began when the first revellers passed through its doors in 1959, saw the arrival of electronic music in the country, circa 1989, not to mention Bulgaria’s first international DJ booking three years on, and you realise how special the place is.
Bringing things up to date, Yalta currently focusses on the underground, and its main room is now more reminiscent of an industrial hall, with bookings to match. Local residents — Liubo Ursiny, Stefan Popov, Runo and Philip Chernikov — have control on Fridays, with guests like NOIR, Blond:ish, Dixon, Tiga, Roger Sanchez, Ricardo Villalobos, Guy J, Subb-An and Deep Dish joining every Saturday. Or at least that’s how the last 12 months have looked.