A guide to nightlife in Havana

A holiday to Havana boasts its very own brand of hedonism, invigorated by the astonishing live music and dance shows. The government has invested heavily in the arts, with popular Cuban music thriving. And with the country opening up, its optimism is coming out in new ventures joining the scene. Many restaurants are also bars and nightclubs, while some famous clubs are in the Havana hotels. One thing is for sure – a night out in Cuba won’t be like anything you’ve ever experienced.

Hang out where Ernest Hemingway drank at El Floridita

Begin your night of revelry at the 18th century El Floridita. Located in the oldest part of town, this fish restaurant and bar is famous for its frozen daiquiris, which were invented by the owner in the early 1930s. It’s also famous for being a hang out of American author Ernest Hemingway, hence the life-size bronze bust of him that can be found inside.

Trendy Espacios bar and tapas restaurant

Espacios is a tapas restaurant and bar that attracts a trendy crowd. Outside on the patio there is plenty of space to enjoy the good selection of drinks that includes cocktails and straight rums, tequilas and beers. Indoors is cosy with colourful art adorning the walls – this place offers a real sense of Cuban life.

Enjoy the jazz sounds at Prive Lounge

You could easily miss this jazz venue, which is located in the residential area of Vedado. The mellow and cosy Prive lounge was inaugural in Cuba’s privatising scene and it’s a popular spot with many young jazz artists who perform here over the weekends. Their saying is ‘Nunca est tarde’, translated as ‘It’s never too late.

Dance in a colonial mansion at Club 1830

If you want to give salsa a go on your Havana holidays, friendly locals are willing to show you the moves at Club 1830. You might think you’ve taken a wrong turn when you arrive and find yourself in a colonial mansion. But once inside you’ll discover a fabulous venue that includes an outdoor garden facing the sea.

Big salsa nights at Casa de la Musica Centro Habana

There are two Casa de la Musica vanues in Cuba, but the one in central Havana is considered a little edgier than its counterpart in Miramar. Big and popular salsa bands perform here, including Bamboleo and Los Van Van, and it’s worth paying the extra charge to see them. Head here for a lively and exciting experience.

A Las Vegas style show at Tropicana Cabaret

Established in 1939, Tropicana Cabaret is a club and show venue that’s always popular with tourists who want to experience a Cuban show. Set outdoors in the natural environment of a forest, against the backdrop of royal palms, mango trees and cedar, this place offers some true Las Vegas style.

An authentic Cuban show at Cabaret Parisien

Located in the Hotel Nacional de Cuba’s beautiful 1930s building is the remarkable Cabaret Parisien. To carry on the theme, you might want to hire an old American car to drop you off in style. The package deal includes dinner and drinks, which can be enjoyed while you watch the colourful, exuberant and authentic cabaret show.

Dance under the stars at Turquino at Tryp Habana Libre

Tryp Habana Libre is one of the biggest hotels in Cuba, located in the centre of this vibrant city. Sitting on the 25th floor is the remarkable Turquino nightclub with a retractable roof, which gives you the chance to dance under the stars overlooking the Cuban capital and the Caribbean Sea.

Slick performances at Valde's Jazz

This jazz bar is owned by Cuban jazz star Lazaro Valdes. Well-known local jazz and salsa musicians regularly perform here, with gigs every night. It’s a slick venue located in the Vedado area with moody lighting and a dome over the stage to improve the acoustics. It attracts a slightly older crowd, and cigar smokers will have to excuse themselves to the patio outside.

Hangout with the hipsters at El Chanchullero

This bar is located in Old Havana. It’s an artsy venue with wooden tables and a sign on the door that says ‘Hemingway was never here’. Another sign says ‘no WiFi, please speak to one another’. Arrive early as this bar gets packed – the awesome food served here is just one of the reasons.