After an immersive experience of the colorful Cuban culture and history, soak in the neighborhood nightlife ala Ernest Hemingway—by sampling its finest drinks. After all, the country is famous for cocktail creations, from fruity daiquiris to more hardcore elixirs like the Cuba Libre.
Speaking of the daiquiri, it was first concocted in El Floridita, an old bar and fish restaurant on Bishop Street that survived the Revolution thanks to its world-renowned regular, Hemingway. Bartenders still serve drinks in red coats, as a nod to the Regency era. Good live bands add to the relaxed ambiance.
There’s a life-sized sculpture of Hemingway at the bar. Other writers like Ezra Pound and Graham Greene patronized the place as well. Bishop Street itself is chockfull of interesting stores, making Floridita an excellent place to start a barhopping spree.
One more Hemingway favorite, La Bodeguita, is known to serve the best mojito—another Cuban invention. It’s slightly cheaper than the Floridita.
Before the night gets heavier with mightier drinks, like a grumbling stomach with cheap tapas at El Chanchullero, a popular dive festooned with graffiti. It’s open until 1 am, an hour later than most bars.
El Meson de la Flota
The majority of bistros with live music aren’t in Old Havana. Some spots like El Meson de la Flota, however, serve a good dose of lively music, apart from more tapas. The hostel usually plays flamenco music.
Late Night Stop
Many recommend capping the night with one last party drink on Malecon. The gas station here serves sodas and beers 24/7, along with some light ham-and-cheese sandwiches.
Who forgot to score Cuban cigars? A good place to pick up a few the next morning is the once grandiose Hostal Conde de Vilanueva. Take a puff in the courtyard and say hello to the peacock of the house.