Havana certainly loves their nightlife and practically every restaurant and even hotel in the city has live music. House bands are the norm and usually older music is what’s being played.
Hotel Nacional is not just a hotel, but also offers live music including popular talent like OmaraPortuondo, while La Zorra y el Cuervo,La Rampa has the unique distinction of being just under street level. They like jazz and funky oldies. La Tropical is one of the largest places to party and it can hold thousands of people. It often advertises out in public reminding visitors what acts are coming to play.
The Casa de la Musica de Centro Habanais one of the rowdiest clubs in the city and is a bit on the expensive side. Live shows happen between 4pm and 11pm and then it turns into a disco club after 1am and until the morning. You can have a drink and enjoy a live show complete with gyrating backup dancers. There are two bars and a dance floor to keep everyone busy. The entrance fee is approximately 5-10 CUCs. Salsa is a favourite type of music. Rumour has it a lot of sex workers visit here, so don’t be alarmed if the company seems unusually friendly.
The El Floridita bar has historical value, as it was a famed spot for writer Ernest Hemmingway. There is even a monument here depicting his likeness. It’s an old timey place, and looks and behaves much the same as it did when Hemmingway was alive and killing with his pen. The La Zorra y el Cuervo club offers Latin version of Jazz music. This is the smaller venue when compared to other clubs, but it has a nice laid back atmosphere to it.
The Malecon is the biggest and most happening place in town, and boasts amazing scenery. There are singers here that will entertain you, not to mention women of the night. It is certainly not laid back, but it is a heavy favourite for younger visitors and locals.
The Museo del Ronis a nice in between of partying and relaxing; it has a 1950s Cuban music show called Buena Vista, which comes with dinner for a 50 CUC price. The Pico Blanco is another young club that loves salsa and reggueton, not to mention Cuban karaoke which is a bit of silly fun. It also has a great view of the city and no smoking, for health conscious travellers, which is a nice change.
The Tropicana Showis pricy at 90CUC but gives you plenty to look at, with a cabaret show and live music in an outdoor location. After the show, there is dancing. It’s very funny and exciting if you get to sit up close and see the skirts twirling live and up close. Note that taking pictures or video footage costs extra. Remember, always take electronic receipts with you to prove that you own it. The Hotel Nacional, mentioned earlier, it should be noted, has its own cabaret show. Cabarets are just as important to the nightlife in Havana as is the music and cocktails.
Havana is rowdy when it comes to partying but one thing you will not find is any blatantly sexual advertising. Prostitution, despite being commonly practiced, is illegal as is pornography. There are also no strip clubs or go-go bars in Havana; the cabarets will have to tide you over. There are other cities in the Caribbean that offer more in the way of adult entertainment, but don’t risk doing anything questionable when visiting Havana, the most-closely guarded part of the country.
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