The variety of nightlife in the Cuban capital of Havana aims to please all personal tastes and budgets. In general, the party starts at ten o’clock in the evening and goes deep into the night.
El Gato Tuerto
Situated just off El Malecon behind La Paragua on Calle O this nightclub offers live music performed by jazz players, boleros, tenors or Cuban troubadours, who all interact with the audience. On the second floor, a discreet restaurant opens its doors with a refined menu and a beautiful view of the modern part of the city. In general, the dinner crowd heads down the watch show which starts at 11 pm.
El Habana Café
Set in the style of the 50s, this authentic pre-missile-crisis restaurant has a small museum of classic cars, motorcycles and even one of the first airplanes from the Cuban air fleet.
The music scene focuses recorded and live music, performed by well-known Spanish bands and singers. Salsa and choreography dance are also featured, along with some magic or comedy depending on the night’s lineup card.
The café is located inside the Meliá Cohíba Hotel at the end of Avenida Paseo and Calle 1ra before you reach El Malecon.
One of the most famous bars in Havana, that is known to be the “birthplace of the daiquiri”. Inside you’ll find a 1950’s style atmosphere and wonderful food and cocktail menus. The selections are a bit expensive, but that is the price you pay for history. The place is always full of tourists and is one of those must-visit places in Havana.
You’ll find it located on the corner of Avenida Bélgica and Calle Obispo which is just a street over from Parque Central.
La Bodeguita del Medio
A traditional restaurant bar with well-designed spaces and a very bohemian atmosphere. Here you can find some of the best mojitos in town as well as enjoy a typical Cuban menu. With it also being one of Hemmingway’s favorite spots, complete with photo taking tourists, the prices can be a bit pricey.
The location is very close to the La Catedral de la Virgen María on Calle Empedrado (No. 206) between Calle Cuba and Calle San Igancio.
Formerly known as Sarao’s, Olala is a fashionable, culture project bar that has been visited by celebrities such as Katy Perry and Usher. They are known to be selective and secure and offer a balance between international club ambiance and Cuban cultural. They have three live shows a week with musicians and dancers who interact with the audience. After the show finishes, a DJ playing recent national and international music takes over.
Olala is open 10:00 pm to 3:00 am and can be found near the Museo de Artes Decorativas on the corner of Calle 17 and Calle E in Vedado.
La Zorra y el Cuervo
As far Jazz venues go, this is the cream of the crop in Havana. A red UK phone booth marks the spot and leads you down into a dark and intimate, subterranean lounge. Excellent acoustics and a charming bar add to both the ambiance and the exhilarating performances. Dinner is offered along with the music but the latter mostly outshines the food.
The club is located at the corner of Calle O and Avenida 23 in Vedado
Casa de la Musica de Centro
As live music venue that is one of the best places in Havana to see salsa bands play. When bigger bands are in the lineup, the cover charge goes up dramatically but so does the frantic energy within. When less popular bands play there tends to a bit more space as a lower entry cost. Depending on the band playing the crowd will contain a various mixture of locals and tourists.
You’ll find the club right beside Teator Americana on Calle Galiano between Calle Concordia and Calle Neptuno.
Casa de la Música de Miramar
The sister club of the de Centro location is a little smaller, while also a little posher. It too gets very busy when live bands perform. On the highest floor is a small room called Diablo TunTun where local groups perform. It mainly only for Cubans and offers more affordable pricing and with a local vibe.
You find both places located across from Parque Lázaro Cárdenas on the corner of Calle 20 and Avenida 35.
The charm of this disco is that has a very large, open garden dance floor. While cruisers tend to get shuttled here, the restaurant is nothing special and there’s not much going on during the day. The live music, the crowd and night open sky are what make it special and worth visiting.
You’ll find it located on Avenida 5ta between Calle 110 and the roundabout at Parque Diversiones.
Havana Jazz Café
A brightly lit, sophisticated jazz club that offers live concerts during dinner. The menu is of Cuban fare and somewhat average, but lower food and drink prices are what attracts tourists most. Local tour guides tend to bring people here due it’s smaller crowds and to offer a jazz experience without the excessive prices found elsewhere.
The cafe is located on the top floor of the Mercado Galerías Paseo, a shopping center on the corner of Calle 1ra and Avenida Paseo, just across from El Malecon.
Salon Rojo del Capri
Its history dates back to the 1950s when it was formerly a casino room of the hotel with links to illegal activities and the Italian-American mafia. After the revolution, the casino was transformed into a cabaret “red room” in the summer of 1961 with famous Cuban dance troupes and singers such as Benny Moré and Fernando Alvarez gracing its stage. Figures like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Robert de Niro have all been mentioned to have passed through at some time.
In late 2013, the Cabaret “Red Room” of the Hotel Capri was re-opened and has once again become a classic of the Cuban night. The shows contain a mix of renowned local artists that bring the audience back to a special time in history.
The cabaret is located in Vedado on the corner of Calle 21 and Calle N just beside the Hotel Capri.