There are numerous things that Havana does well, and chief amongst these are the sheer number of great bars offering thoroughly delicious drinks. You’ve probably had a mojito or two before, but it always tastes better at the source. There’s something about evenings in Havana that makes them perfectly suited for enjoying a drink. The sun has gone down but the warm sultry feeling lingers, and you can’t think of anywhere you’d rather be than sipping an elegantly flavoured cocktail in a memorable setting. You’re kind of spoiled for choice when it comes to places to drink in Havana, and you might stumble upon some hidden gem while taking a walk. Having said that, it’s often better to know where to go, and so let’s take a look at some of the best bars in Havana…
1. Will You Pay Peanuts? El Cocinero
Cuba’s less than brilliant economy has had some unexpected benefits for the nightlife. El Cocinero is a truly chic place to enjoy a drink, and is in fact located at a former peanut factory. The days of shelling and roasting are long gone, but remember that this is a stylish place, so while you’ll have fun, please don’t go… nuts (sorry).
Located on Calle 26 (between Calles 11 and 13), Vedado.
2. Will You Strike Oil? La Fábrica De Arte Cubano
In another disused factory, you’ll find the truly amazing La Fábrica De Arte Cubano. The venue used to make oil, and now it’s a multi-use arts facility. It actually has several different bars, while also hosting a number of exhibitions, so you can have a number of drinks while feeling cultural. Be sure to get here early, since there’s often a wait to get inside.
Located on the corner of Calle 26 and Calle 11, Vedado.
3. Say Hi to Hemingway at El Floridita
Of course you can’t literally say hi to Hemingway, since he died in 1961. You can, however, say hello to the statue of him (which is life-sized) that takes pride of place at El Floridita, which was his favourite Havana watering hole. Have a daiquiri and pay your respects, but you might want to do it in the afternoon so you can beat the evening crowds. Yeah, the place is a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s still one of the best bars in Havana.
Located at Calle Obispo 557, Old Havana.
4. Music and Madness at One of the Best Bars in Havana: Bodeguita del Medio
If you want a quiet night out, then Bodeguita del Medio probably isn’t the place for you. But if you want a place brimming with life and music, you should probably pay a visit. You might notice the interior design relies heavily on graffiti. It’s really not a big deal to doodle on the wall here, just so long as you don’t draw anything offensive.
Located at Empedrado 207, Old Havana.
5. Refined and Regal: Alameda Bar
If you do in fact want a quiet night out, you should most certainly check out the Alameda Bar. It’s located inside the rather posh Parque Central Hotel, and attracts a more refined crowd. It’s definitely the place for you if you’re not a fan of shouting above the music in order to have a conversation.
Located at Neptuno e/ Paseo del Prado y Zulueta, Old Havana.
6. Grab a Bargain at La Fuente
Some of these best bars in Havana have prices that might not be so appealing, but this is definitely not the case at La Fuente. It’s a rather basic open air bar arranged around a small fountain, and is a relaxed place where the locals far outnumber the visitors. Pace yourself, because your money will go very far at this place…
Located on Calle 13, esquina a Presidentes, Vedado.
7. A Major Mojito at Casa del Escabeche
A small bar that attracts big crowds, you will be very lucky if you can find a table at Casa del Escabeche. There’s an amazing house band that plays every afternoon, and the mojito selection is second to none, which is really saying something in this city. You can request an extra strong mojito, which contains rather a lot of alcohol. You might have a sore head the next day, but it’s worth it to spend an evening at one of the best bars in Havana.
Located at Calle Obispo 505, Old Havana.
8. Enjoy the View from the Hotel Inglaterra
While the hotel itself doesn’t have the best reputation, you don’t need to sleep there. Get into the elevator and head for the roof, where a rooftop bar is open each night from 9pm. Have a drink while taking in the view and enjoying the breeze.
Located at Paseo del Prado 416, San Rafael y San Miguel, Old Havana.