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I Like the Daylife

A pop-up dance club offers a place to party before work

Author Nicole Pajer Illustration Marc Rosenthal


LOA ANGELES – It’s 6:30 on a Wednesday morning, in a Downtown Los Angeles warehouse, and a man in a giraffe suit is bobbing his head to booming drum-and-bass. Outside, the streets are clogged with commuters, but in here it’s party time. “I’m just trying to have fun,” says a young man named Alex Becker, his smart shirt translucent with sweat.

This pre-work shindig, known as Daybreaker, was founded a couple of years ago in New York City, and it has since become a thing.

The event pops up every couple of weeks in venues across the world, from London to São Paulo to Tel Aviv. And, so far, these events seem to suggest that nightlife can be a lot more fun when it doesn’t happen at night.

“We’ve had a 200-person hug spontaneously happen on the dance floor,” says co-founder Radha Agrawal.

“We’ve had 900 people on a boat singing ‘Let It Be.’”

LA, meanwhile, has added its own spin to the affair. Not far from giraffe guy, a tank-topped man pumps a barbell over his head while trading moves with an acrobatic break-dancer. A group of girls, some in full nightclub attire, belt out “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” A horn section pops up to accompany the crowd. Everybody, explains one reveler, is “buzzed on life.”

At 8:30, the music stops, and people drift to the exit. “I have a change of clothes in the car,” says EB Krawczyk. “I’m not going to work looking like this.” Her friend, Uchenna Fox, is less prepared. “As you can see, I didn’t get the memo,” he says, doing a quick pit-check. “I’m going straight to a meeting at Disney. It’s going to be interesting.”

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