We’re not going to lie to you. Your Havana trip will be busy. Of course there’s going to be a lot of time for relaxation – to sit by the water and sip a cold beer. But you will definitely be on the go a lot. Whether it’s exploring the sights of Havana and the beautiful towns within striking distance, or indulging your taste buds at one of the city’s amazing seafood joints, your days will be full. You’re probably going to be faced with a dilemma when the sun goes down. Do you get to bed early, ensuring you’re fully rested for the coming day, or do you put on your dancing shoes and paint the town… well, not red, but mojito coloured? Havana has some of the best nightlife on earth, and if you spent all your Cuban evenings in bed, you would certainly regret it once you got home. No matter what kind of evening you’re in the mood for, you’re going to find something in Havana that will grab your interest. So where will you find the best Havana nightlife on offer? Just remember that if you stay out all night, you might not want to do so much exploring the next day…
1. Party with the Hip Young Things at Teatro Bertolt Brecht
Did you ever have to study the political parables of German writer Bertolt Brecht? Doesn’t a night out in a theatre that carries his name sound like a darn good time? Not to worry – the name is somewhat misleading, since the Teatro Bertolt Brecht is in fact one of the hippest places to indulge in some Havana nightlife. It’s where the cool kids of Cuba come to drink and dance to indie beats, from 10pm until 3am, every day except Monday. Put on your trendiest threads and go crazy.
Located at Calles 13 and I, Vedado.
2. Dance with the City Far Beneath Your Feet at El Turquino
For a night out with the best view, you have to head to the Habana Libre Hotel. Catch the elevator to the 25th floor and you’ll arrive at El Turquino. The views are astounding, so it’s best to arrive earlier in the evening before the club fills up. There’s a live band each night, which alternates between traditional Cuban music and bands that cover pop songs. There’s a reasonable cover charge, which is to be expected… with a view like that, they have no shortage of willing customers. A lot of visitors find their way to this club, and on busy nights it can feel like Cubans are in the minority.
Located at the Habana Libre Hotel, Calle M, La Habana.
3. Havana’s Super Club: Welcome to La Cecilia
If the rain is falling, then don’t go to La Cecilia. This mammoth addition to the Havana nightlife scene is almost entirely outdoors, and on warm nights, there can be thousands of people there. When it starts to rain, the place tends to close early. The outdoor nature of the club can make it feel like some kind of gigantic rave, albeit one with traditional Cuban music that eventually gives way to progressive electro with some indie rock thrown into the mix. This is the place to go when you want to have a really big party.
Located at 5ta Avenida y 110, Miramar
4. Stay up All Night at El Diablo Tun Tun
If you kind of like to steer clear of party places populated with tourists, then you should definitely check out the delightfully named El Diablo Tun Tun. It’s right next to another club called Miramar Casa de la Música (which is also worth a visit), but very few foreigners actually make the short trip to El Diablo Tun Tun. It advertises itself as a piano bar, but there aren’t really many piano tunes on offer. There’s generally a live show, followed by a DJ. Thursday nights are beautifully relaxed, although on busy nights the club will stay open until 6am. When you’ve finished partying, you can watch the sun come up over the ocean, since the club is almost right on the water.
Located at Calle 20, corner 35, Miramar.
5. Some of the Best Havana Nightlife Is Free at La Rampa
Sometimes you might be in the mood to party, but not in the mood for an actual club. If you want to see a bit of nightlife, but don’t really want to be crammed inside a hot club, then make your way to La Rampa. It’s another name for Havana’s Calle 23, and when the sun sets over the city, the street comes to life with groups of friends sitting around, drinking a beer or two. There’s not exactly dancing, but larger groups of people give this amazing place the feeling of a street party. It’s just the thing for a chilled party on a steamy Cuban night.
Located on Calle 23, Miramar.