Photo by Alex Palomino
Where to drink, dance, and stay up all night in Cuba.
Nightlife in Cuba isn’t just about drinking—it’s about celebrating life. These five spots will get that party started.
Drink Like Hemingway
El Floridita is a tourist spot but not a tourist trap. It remains legendary for two reasons: It was the watering hole of choice for literary icons Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, and Ezra Pound during their stays in Havana, and it’s credited as the birthplace of the frozen daiquiri. (The drink was supposedly invented by one of El Floridita’s bartenders in 1914.)
Have a Throwback Cinematic Experience
As we did in the days before Fandango, find a local paper and check the movie listings. Havana’s passionate cinephiles flock to the city’s beautiful theaters, like Teatro America or Riviera, for everything from superhero blockbusters to the latest Palme d’Or winner from Cannes. No habla Español? Try the Chaplin. It specializes in throwback American films that aren’t dubbed.
Crash a Backyard Fiesta
Casa de la Amistad, a restaurant housed in a large pink mansion, throws concerts every Saturday and Sunday night in its backyard. Most live acts play ’90s jams and you’d be hard-pressed to find more impressive imitations of Kurt Cobain, Bono, and Sting than those of a Cuban cover band singer. The local move is to show up with a bottle of Havana Club rum, mix it with tonic, and dance like you’re many drinks deep at a wedding.
Spend a Night at the Museum
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Fábrica de Arte is not just a cocktail bar. It’s also a venue for just about any kind of art. You can grab a mojito and then wander among photography, sculpture, film, and performance art exhibits before dancing to live music. Show up early, around 9 p.m., or you’ll wait in a line that wraps around the block.
Join the Five-Mile-Long Block Party
On weekend nights, nearly every foot of the Malecón, the city’s seawall and boardwalk, is populated by Cubans cutting loose. You’ll find teens blasting Rihanna from their phones, elderly lovers dancing the rumba, and everyone, again, drinking bottles of rum like it’s water. Pair yours with an easy intro to the country’s legendary cigars: a skinny Cohiba Panetela, available at any smoke shop. It has a creamy vanilla exhale and mellow high that’ll make the city glow even brighter.
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