ACAPULCO, Mexico – The Baby’O nightclub remains a fixture of Acapulco’s entertainment scene and still strives to preserve the old glamour of that Mexican Pacific resort city, whose violent crime problems have tarnished its reputation in recent years.
“There is only one Acapulco, there is only one Baby’O,” is the motto that greets visitors to this cave-like, 700-person capacity establishment, which once attracted foreign celebrities such as Geena Davis, Tony Curtis, Julio Iglesias, Elizabeth Taylor and Sylvestor Stallone.
Mexican singer Luis Miguel also “was a Baby’O fan at the beginning of his career; he used to come over all the time,” the club’s marketing manager, Carlos Hernandez, recalls.
Baby’O was founded in 1976 by two young men who had spent their vacations on the coast of Guerrero state since they were children and named the establishment after a Dean Martin song. Nightclubs were becoming fashionable at that time, and Acapulco was no exception.
Unlike in other tourist destinations like Cancun, where people can go to nightclubs in sandals, Bermuda shorts and T-shirts, Baby’O strives to preserve the glamour of yesteryear and requires its customers to conform to a dress code, Hernandez said.
Baby’O has maintained those high standards even as its clientele has changed markedly from the days when Acapulco was Mexico’s leading tourist attraction and a magnet for beach-going Hollywood stars.
Drug-related violence has been the biggest factor in the city’s decline, with Acapulco ranking in 2016 as the world’s second-most violent city after Caracas by Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice (CCSP-JP).
A constant stream of news stories about violent crime has affected all business establishments in the city and forced the owners of Baby’O to go to great lengths and spend heavily to keep the nightclub open, Hernandez said.
Even so, the marketing manager said he remained hopeful that things could change and that Acapulco would regain its former stature as a tourist mecca.