Opened in 1939, Havana’s world-famous Tropicana is often top on the Havana hit list. Immortalised in Graham Greene’s 1958 Our Man in Havana; this open-air cabaret remains much the same since the 50s. With magnificently costumed salsa dancers, live music, palm trees and flashing lights, the Tropicana’s floorshow is sure to dazzle even the most cynical of travellers.
La Casa de la Música
One of Cuba’s best and most popular venues, La Casa de la Música is frequented by both Cubans and visitors alike. With performances from some of Cuba’s biggest bands, La Casa de la Música is the perfect place to test your salsa skills. Best of all, there are numerous Casas de la Música sprinkled throughout the island, Havana even has two: one in Centro Habana and one in Miramar. The Centro Habana Casa is renowned as the more edgy of the two so make your choice accordingly.
Salón Rosado de la Tropical
For anyone who wants a younger, wilder Cuban music experience Salón Rosado is perfect. With live performances from some of the hottest bands on Havana’s music scene, Salón Rosado is loved by both visitors and Cubans alike. Dedicated to the memory of Beny Moré – Cuba’s famous singer in the 1950s – Salón Rosado is sure to be sizzling.
Home to Cuba’s second best Tropicana-style floorshow – Havana’s Tropicana is evidently first – Cabaret Continental is Varadero’s hottest spot for cabaret-style entertainment. After the fantastically elaborate floorshow, the Cabaret Continental houses a disco ensuring entertainment throughout the night.
The Beatles Bar
Dedicated to the formerly-banned Beatles, the Beatles Bar embraces the spirit of the swinging ‘60s. Although it is not just ‘60s classics played here, live bands cover numerous Rock ‘n’ Roll heroes, including: Pink Floyd, the Stones, R.E.M., U2, Queen, and of course the Beatles. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays tend to be the best nights for live bands so be sure to drop by then.
Palenque de los Congos Reales
Trinidad’s best spot for any lover of rumba. African rhythms, rumba drums, salsa dancing, crooning trova performers and fantastic fire-eating dancers, Palenque de los Congos Reales is one of Cuba’s most energetic venues. Arrive early to ensure a good seat, although the shows tend to start after ten.
Casa de la Trova
A haven for anyone longing to hear traditional Cuban music – or Trova – Santiago de Cuba’s Casa de la Trova is always overflowing with Cuban music. Days are filled with soft crooners and Spanish guitar, while nights tend to be fierier and faster. There are Casas de la Trova in Holguín, Baracoa, and Trinidad, so no need to worry if you choose to skip Santiago.
Anyone looking for something different in Santa Clara should drop by Club Mejunje. An eclectic mix of fiery salsa dancing, traditional Cuban crooners, and children’s theatre, Club Mejenje genuinely has something to offer everyone. Set in the beautiful ruins of an old roofless building, Club Mejunje is also home to Cuba’s only official drag show – every Saturday night!