CUBA MUSIC

Cuba is the most important source of music in Latin America. The island has produced dance music that has traveled all over the world.
At home music is inseparable from Cuba’s daily life and history.


SALSA/DANCING

Casa de la Musica “Havana”
Galiano and Neptuno, Central Havana.
Ph: 860-8296
Havana’s most popular nightclub. It features top of the line bands. Open every day for two shows. Matinee from 5:00 to 9:00 pm and from 10:00pm to 2:00 am nightly.


Casa de la Musica “Miramar”
Calle 20 and Avenida 35, Miramar.
Ph: 202-6147
Predecessor to Casa de la Musica, Galiano, Miramar maintains its reputation as a quality spot to catch Cuba’s most famous groups, as well as up and coming talent. It’s smaller than Galiano and has a less touristy feel.


Cafe Cantante
Paseo and 39, below Teatro Nacional, Plaza de la Revolution.
Ph: 879-0710
The ambiance of this basement club with its black walls and lack of décor screams dungeon, but don’t let that stop you from putting it at the top of your list of hot spots in Havana to catch the most popular bands. They have almost daily matinees (5:00–9:00pm) and nighttime shows (11:00pm–3:00am).


Café del Hotel Florida
Calle Egido, corner of Obispo, Old Havana)
The small lobby venue of this hotel attracts a mixed crowd of Cubans and foreigners, all intent on dancing salsa non-stop until closing.


Casa de la Amistad
Avenida Paseo between Calles 17 and 19, Vedado
This has always been a great venue to see traditional music. Tuesday night features a Son group and there are usually a lot of good dancers.


La Cecilia
Quinta Avenida (5th Ave) and 110, Miramar.
Ph: 204-1562
Boasts a beautiful outdoor setting with tropical plants and a giant dance floor. Many of Cuba’s premiere salsa groups have performed here.


Delirio Habanero
Paseo # 39, above Teatro Nacional
This bar has a great view of the entire Plaza de la Revolución, including the statue of Jose Martí and monument of Ché. They have salsa bands almost every night and rumba on Sunday afternoons.


Diablo Tun Tun
Calle 20 and 35, Miramar (upstairs from Casa de la Musica)
This is one of Havana’s only true “after hours” bars, staying open until 6:00am.


Jardines de 1830
Malecón and 20, Vedado.
Ph: 273-0568–9
This outdoor club has a garden setting facing the ocean, right on the Malecón. It’s open nightly 10:00pm to 2:00am, but it’s not always salsa. Friday night is a “House Party.” Sunday afternoon is a great day to go.


Salón Rojo
Hotel Capri, Calle 21 corner of N, Vedado.
Ph: 833-3571–72, 833-3747
This club reopened in 2003 and since then has presented a variety of entertainment, including cabaret, comedy, disco and some bands.

MUSIC VENUES - JAZZ

El Gato Tuerto (“One-eyed Cat”)
Calle O between 19 and 21, Vedado.
Ph: 855-2696
This cool bohemian club features different styles of traditional Cuban music from sultry Boleros to Trova. It’s not really a jazz venue, but occasionally features some jazz fusion and has an intimate jazz club feeling.


Jazz Café
Gallerias del Paseo, 1st Avenue and Paseo, 2nd floor, Vedado.
Ph: 855-3475
There are two sets nightly at 8:00 and 11:00pm. You can have dinner and stay for the show.


Quinta y 16 (Casa del Habano – “Cigar House”)
5th Avenue at 16th Street, Miramar
This is one of the hottest spots in Havana to hear a variety of non-traditional music – mainly jazz-based, but with other influences like rock and trova.


La Zorra y el Cuervo (“The Fox and the Crow”)
Calle 23 #156, between O andrising N Vedado.
Ph: 866-2402
This is the most well known jazz club in Havana and the place to hit if you want to catch some of Cuba’s A-list jazz performers. This smoky basement club has a laid back, unpretentious vibe.

CABARET SHOWS

Cabaret Parisién - Hotel Nacional
Calle O corner of 21, Vedado.
Ph: 873 4701
This is a great Cabaret show. It’s just as spectacular as the Tropicana, but on a smaller scale, making it more intimate and easier to see the dancers up-close. They have beautiful costumes and choreography and a wealth of talented dancers. The show starts at 9:00pm. The cover ranges between $35 to $75 depending on if you do the full dinner show or just a few drinks.


Cabaret Tropicana
Calle72 # 4504 between 41 y 45, Marianao.
Ph: 267-1717, 267-1010
This is the original and still reigning Cabaret show in Cuba. The Tropicana, also known as “Paraíso Bajo las Estrellas” (Paradise under the Stars), opened in 1931 and continues to please audiences daily with its 200 musicians and dancers performing under the stars, in the shadow of a lush tropical backdrop. As you may expect, with its Las Vegas Show reputation, the costumes are mind-bogglingly extravagant, dancers writhing down tiers and dropping magically from the sky, the choreography flawlessly executed. The show starts around 10:00pm. You can order tickets by phone from 10:00am to 6:00pm or make a reservation with a travel agency in the lobby of one of the bigger hotels. It’s pricey at $70–90 per person, but includes a bottle of rum and snacks or dinner.


Copa Room
Lobby of Hotel Riviera, Calle Paseo and Malecón, Vedado.
Ph: 833-4051
Formerly known as the Palacio de la Salsa, this club had its high point in the 90s as the most popular venue for big name salsa. The decor dated back to the 50s with its tiers of overstuft red booths and roomy dance floor below. Now the programming is mainly Cabaret shows, alternating with some bands and DJs playing recorded dance music. Thursday through Sunday they have a Cabaret Show with girls in glitzy, vibrant costumes with a DJ following. The late show (with a techno/house feel) starts at midnight and has a $5 cover that attracts a youthful Cuban crowd.


Habana Café
Hotel Melia Cohiba, Avenida Paseo and 3rd, Vedado.
Ph: 833-3636
This venue mainly attracts foreigners and features a nightly variety-type show that includes Cabaret dancers combined with comedy, music and skits. The place has a 1950s décor and for good reason is often said to be the Hard Rock Café of Havana. The ambiance of the club and the show itself cater to the tourist sensibility of what a Cuban show might be like, but still manages to have some authenticity.


Turquino
Havana Libre Hotel, top floor. Vedado.
Ph: 838-4011
The Cabaret Turquino has mixed programming, sometimes featuring bands, but mainly Cabaret shows with a bit of a disco vibe. The club sits on top of the Habana Libre Hotel and with glass windows all around, it has some great views of the city that make it well worth a visit. The roof retracts and you can dance under the stars, it’s open for dancing until 4:00am.