It isn’t until the sun goes down that Havana really comes alive. The music gets louder. Streets get more crowded, and pockets of the city wake up for a night of partying.
While Old Havana tends to shut down around midnight, parts of Vedado and Miramar continue thumping into early the next morning. In Vedado, a sprawling multimedia arts complex has taken over a former oil factory and become the defining feature of Havana nightlife.
Meanwhile, there are jazz clubs, hole-in-the-wall spots, and countless mojitos to be found across the city. From live performances to dance clubs, bars, and more, here’s where to go after dark in Havana.
Floridita is a restaurant and cocktail bar in Old Havana. If you've been in Havana for more than 24 hours, you'll surely be familiar with its iconic sign. This bar is best known for its daiquiris and for being a favorite haunt of author Ernest Hemingway. El Floridita traces its roots to 1817, and one of its bartenders is credited with inventing the frozen daiquiris in the 1930s. Nowadays, you can sip your daiquiri next to a life-size bronze statue of Hemingway at his favorite spot at the bar.
La Zorra y el Cuervo
La Zorra y el Cuervo is the Havana jazz club of your daydreams. This is the kind of intimate basement jazz bar with low ceilings you might expect to find tucked quietly into a Havana street. Expect to see a jazz superstar regardless of when you're visiting, but shhh...! Talking during the show is frowned upon.
El Gato Tuerto
If dinner, drinks, and mind-blowing live music is your idea of an epic vacation night out, head straight to El Gato Tuerto. This restaurant and live music venue combo have been open for nearly 20 years. You'll find a restaurant with a sea view upstairs and an eclectic menu of live music downstairs. Don’t be surprised to catch opera singers or acoustic bands or to be blown away at the world-class performance you get for just a few dollars.
If you're looking for an upscale dinner and a show, head to the Jazz Café in Galerias de Paseo. It's a jazz supper club, but without the intimate setting you might expect. It’s a favorite among Cuba's top jazz musicians, but you’ll want to bring a sweater—Jazz Café is also known for its freezing air conditioning.
If you’re looking for a salsa night, look no further than Hotel Florida, where just about every night is salsa night. Salsa clubs aren't as ubiquitous as you might expect in Havana, but Hotel Florida is a solid bet for a night of salsa dancing in Cuba's capital. It's got one of the most reasonable cover charges in Havana and is a great venue for showing off new moves picked up after salsa class.
The Tropicana is a cabaret located in a six-acre tropical garden paradise. It opened its doors in Dec. 1939 and has since become something of a legend. It brings together 200 performers for a Las Vegas-style Cuban dance extravaganza with a gorgeous backdrop. Most performances are held outdoors, but the Tropicana now has an indoor performance area as well. The Tropicana show is among the pricier nights you can have out in Havana and one that’s geared squarely toward tourists.
Cervecería Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco
The craft beer movement has most definitely made it to Havana. Cervecería Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco is a place where Cuba's two leading national beers—Cristal and Bucanero—have to take a backseat to three craft brews on tap, which include a light ale, an amber, and a dark option. This is a big open brewery space where drinkers can choose their own glassware in addition to their brew.
Cafe Fortuna Joe
For even more of a blast from the past, find your way to Cafe Fortuna Joe in Havana’s Miramar neighborhood. You’ll find a spacious patio with a rowboat you can sit in a while enjoying your tropical cocktails and an interior filled with all sorts of antiques. There’s even a wall of typewriters, a carriage, and, of course, a classic car.
Casa de la Musica
Two Casa de la Musica locations—one in Miramar and the other in Centro Habana—are among the city’s top places for live music. Whether it’s reggaeton, electronica, or something else you’re looking for, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here. Do check performance schedules in advance.
Sloppy Joe’s Bar
Sloppy Joe's is a Havana icon that was a magnet for American celebrities and tourists in the 1940s and 1950s. The Los Angeles Times once dubbed it among the most famous bars in the world, but the Cuban Revolution and an American trade embargo sent business into a nosedive. A fire closed the bar in the 1960s, but after a restoration project to return it to its 1950s glory, Sloppy Joe’s reopened in 2013.
Café Teatro Bertolt Brecht
This is one of Havana's hottest and most affordable nights out. This is a place for MTV Unplugged style live performances with a fun vibe. Ceilings are low in this basement venue, '50s style reigns supreme, and tables are hard to come by if you don't get there early.
Channel your inner artist at the intimate Cafe Madrigal. Its brick walls are lined with art, old radios, and TVs, and the vibe is more gathering space and basement bar. It’s the perfect place for a quiet drink in Vedado.
Most nights of the week, you’ll find a live band outside at the Cafe Bohemia in Old Havana’s Plaza Vieja. If you’re looking for a Buena Vista Social Club-style evening in one of Havana’s most charming public plazas, this is the place for you. Come early, though. Performances can wrap up around 10 p.m.
Fábrica de Arte Cubano
If you want to experience a Havana night like none other, Fábrica de Arte Cubano is the place to do it. Fábrica de Arte Cubano is the place to be in Havana. It’s where the city’s most fashionable residents gather to eat, drink, dance, and browse an ever-changing collection of art.
Fábrica de Arte Cubano occupies the former site of an oil manufacturer. It’s a sprawling venue with several stages for live performances, multiple dance floors, and a seemingly never-ending collection of galleries. It’s got a number of bars, a gourmet snack stand, and a sit-down restaurant. Visitors collect a card when they enter, track their purchases throughout the evening and pay when they exit.
Fábrica offers the best cultural experience you can have in Havana nowadays. It’s definitely worth waiting in line for, especially since the exhibits also dot the outside of the property.