Numerous: Old Havana - tame bars, too much street hustle
There's a lot of places to get a drink in Havana Old Town. Its all very tame stuff though and starts to wind down after evening meal. There's nothing open especially late. This part of the world doesn't seem to attract a crowd that would be interested in staying out late anyway. The Cafe Paris seemed to be one of the busier places when I went by but it was all sit down for a drink and listen to the band before heading off to bed around 11.30 - midnight.
There's a lot of hassle and hustle from whores and pimps and it can get quite wearing. I know there's people who go there just for that but if it isn't your thing its a pain fending off the approaches what feels like all the time. Even some of the waiters who try to egg you into their restaurants, when they see you aren't interested in food, they start offering you 'chickas, very good girl'. Demoralising.
Vedado area: Packed Saturday night with a young crowd
I took a look up in Vedado on a Saturday evening. The area where Malecon meets the main drag that runs into Vedado (La Rampa) was packed with Cuban teenagers playing their music and cruising round in cars, not unlike lots of places in the world. It was interesting watching one guy with the sound belting out of the sound system in the boot of a 40 year old lada that looked like it would barely start (as so many Cuban cars appear but they all seems to start in one way or another). This was all people drinking and hanging around on the street.
I've no idea what any of the bars around here are like, I'm too old for this crowd so I left them to it.
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Live Music places: Live music
Most places have music in habana veija, which is ok at first but im not a big cuban music fan so got a little tired of it however it was still pleasant.
we went in:
-Patio Amarillo - live music, pretty dead inside, 3 CUC for a cuba libre.
-La Dichosa-on Obsipo-small place but gets busy, one of the better places we went in. music was good and its a friendly place. 3 CUC for cuba libre.
-Cafe Paris-full of tourists, live music - its ok but its all about the music. its got nice seats outside for people watching. the dearest cuba libre we paid for at 4 CUC shows its touristy.
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Sala Atril: Sala Atril
This is where the kids of the Nomenclatura go to party. Notice the kids in Disigner clothes paid for by officials in the suposedly classless society.
Nonetheless, smoe of the best young talent play here. I particularly recomend X Alfonso and my favorite, Kelvis Ochoa. You can pas by the theater and look for the list of Thursday through Sunday shows each week.
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Club Karachi: Cuban reggae, hip hop & R&B
If you want a more authentic Cuban experience, you will likely be the only Yuma in this club. It is mostly an Afro-Cuban hanging, a dark, smoky and small club with some tables and DJ music with a dance-floor. You are sure to see fantastic Afro-Cuban dancing and may be invited yourself! The music is primarily reggae and rap/hip hop and the entrance and drinks are in pesos nacionales. It makes for a cheap night!
Dress Code: More casual than most CUC nightclubs
Club at Hotel Panamericano: Whats better than $25 bottle service? A $10 one!
This is a hotel club in Cojimar (closer to the Playas del Este across from the harbour of downtown Havana) but we had a GREAT time at this club.
It opens at 10 pm and the first 50 women in the club get in for free- but you will have to fight the ferocious Cubanas to be able to do so! For the rest of us slow-pokes, it was a 5 CUC admission including 5 CUC of consumption. A bottle of rum costs 7 CUC and it is 1 CUC each for Coke. We grabbed a table and started to drink. The music started off as spanish balads but soon turned into reggaeton and salsa and then, around midnight, a fabulous Cuban reggaeton band came on to play with a beautiful female singer.
The vibe was VERY Cuban and very fun.
Pictures to come
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La Floridita: Hemingway's Hot Spot
One of my "had to do"'s while in Havana was to sip a daiquiri in this infamous old haunt of Ernest Hemingway. This was Hemingway's favourite drink, though rumour has it that not only was he an alcoholic but that he was also a diabetic!
I came upon the bar quite by accident when wandering the old town of Havana, and the first thing that surprised me was the old plastic backlit sign over the building advertising "La Floridita." As so much effort has gone into renovating Old Havana I was expecting something perhaps a little different.
However, as soon as the smartly dressed doorman opened the glass dors to admit me I knew I had entered someplace special. The exterior belies the comfort and style of the interior, which is crowded with tourists sipping daiquiris. Almost nobody seems to drink anything else!
Smartly dressed men in suits go around with humidors selling the best Cuban cigars. A band plays rhythmic caribbean music and everyone is right into the swing of things. They take requests, too.
A big bronze statue of Hemingway stands in the corner by the bar and people pose for pics beside the infamous author.
There's a restaurant at the back behind heavy velvet drapes, and I wished I had a reservation.
Altogether a place I am longing to go back to.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
- Food and Dining
Bars, Bars: and more Bars
Most of the Havana spots can be split into 3 categories - hotel bars, nightclub "shows" and smaller bars that are little more than a basic room. The latter can be pretty depressing places before the live music starts with sparse furniture, bland decoration and a few tacky pictures. With the band in full swing they come alive, although the crowd generally remains pretty passive no matter how good the music gets.
In Habana Vieja the two parallel streets of Obispo & O'Reilly, that run from Parque Central to the Canal de Entrada are good starting points, with Lluvia de Oro & Cafe Paris two of the better bars you’ll find. Café Paris was definitely the superior of the two with regard atmosphere & music.
Back at Parque Central, stop off at Hotel Inglaterra for some rum on their street terrace, again with full band, normally with quite a crowd listening in for free. Drink up, then have another on their roof top bar with fantastic night views of the illuminated Capitolio.
The bar at NH Parque Central didn’t have a band, but makes up for it as probably the classiest drink you’ll have on this side of town, and with cocktails only 4 – 5 CUC’s is worth a look.
Dress Code: NoneRelated to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
- Beer Tasting
I went to the Jazz-Cafe on a thursday and there was a big band playing and the music was fantastic.Different groups every night starting at 11pm.you pay 10$ in and can drink for that money all night.
Dress Code: anything goes..but its quiet cool in there..Related to:
- Women's Travel
the only one who miss Havana night life
We spent in Havana only two days and we walked a lot. On evening we watched the sun set and listen to local musicians. Then we came back (around 10 pm) back to casa particular and had no energy to go anywhere else. We missed the main attraction of Havana. Well, thats a reason to come back
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Live music: Cuban music in Habana AND Ghent-Belgium
Ghent - yes Ghent in Belgium.Invited by Ingrid, my travelling partner in Cuban Areas
The publicity that there was a performance of a Cuban Group made me curious. I went there with my Cuba travel partner Ingrid to see the live music of "Septeto Nacional Ignacio Pineiro" They made a tour 'April 2006- accross Europe - Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Germany and Norway.
We both enjoyed the show, definately.Cuba memories .... Habana, Santiago de Cuba...
This oldest Cuban "Son" group ( founded in 1927 by the "Pope" of Cuban son Ignacio Pineiro ) was nominated for the famous Grammy award in 2004.
Dress Code: LeisureRelated to:
- Theater Travel
Sala Macumba: Dance salsa all night
This club is recommended only when it presents live music. Many of the top Timba and Salsa groups play here, but call first to verify schedules. The pretty venue is a series of large, canopied outdoor dancing and stage areas, each with its own bar, in a tropical ambience with lush gardens everywhere. There is also a large pool and a number of upscale (for Cuba ) shops for fashion, jewelry, and gifts. Unfortunately, the night I was there, no live music was playing. Instead, a karaoke show was the main event in which a cheesy MC would invite individuals from the audience to sing along with the latest Latin American pop hits with lyrics projected on to a large screen in front of the dance floor. The singers, who appeared to be Latin American and Spanish tourists, were awful and it made the $15 cover charge all the more painful. This club is also quite far from the Havana population center and therefore Cubans form a relatively small proportion of the crowd, even for live performances. Expect cover charges of at least $15 on live music nightsRelated to:
- Women's Travel
Hotel Nacional: Live Music at the Hotel Nacional
I'm not sure how often these things take place, but while we were there our hotel's travel agent let us know that a gig featuring members of Compay Segundo's band would be playing at the Hotel Nacional. We booked our tickets and checked it out.
The night was a lot of fun. There was plenty of audience participation, a whole bunch of Buena Vista Social Club classics played and a good time had by all. Mojitos were enjoyed and the live music was pumping.
A definite must-see while you're in town.
Dress Code: No dress code. We looked like derelict backpackers, and although we looked out of place, nobody said anything to us.
Night clubbing on 23rd
23 street is the most well known street in Havana. It has the majority of night clubs, bars, cinemas, hotels with their clubs and disos and other places where U can spend a wonderfull night.
Before entering any club, like jazz club La Zorra y el Cuervo or maybe have some drink in the CPI bar down the street U can walk the street from G street till the malecon and U´ll see many different people walking around, hippies, rapers, gays, lesbians, people going back tro their houses after a day of hard work and many others.
Don´t lose the oppotunity of taking a snapshot of out night life in Havana.
Dress Code: ...walking in the streets doesn´t requiere a dress code, isn´t.. :)Related to:
- School Holidays
Jazz Cafe: Jazz lover? This is your place...Jazz Cafe
I love havana at night. It has something weird, something I can't describe but makes me a creature of the night.
I like very much jazz music. If U too, this place will be one of your prefered in Havana. The overall design and modern atmosfere distinguish this classical Jazz bar with a view of the Malecon. It´s worth noting the frequent appearances of the saxophonist Cesar Lopez and the Habana Ensemble, Top Secret with trumpeter El Greco, and Oscar Valdes with Diakara . You can also often catch the flute and clarinet virtuoso Javier Zalba, guitarist Elmer Ferrer whose sound is somewhere between Metheny and Scoffied, pianists Robertico Fonseca or Bellita, and the talented Bobby Carcasses sometimes with his son Roberto Carcasses, a talented pianist.
Opens every day Restaurant-Bar 12 noon. Nights 9pm-2am. Show begins at 11pm until 1am
Dress Code: Casual, no shortsRelated to:
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