It’s more of the live-music-in-a-bar variety. Don’t forget the excellent flamenco shows in Meson de la Flota.
(Brasil betweenBernaza & Cristo 1pm-midnight) While rich tourists toast in the Bodeguita del Medio, poorer Cubans and foreign backpackers pay peanuts (CUC$2) for cocktails in their own bohemian alternative. It’s small, clamorous, graffiti ridden dive-bar where the music rocks.
La Bodeguita del Medio
(Empedrado no.207 11am-midnight) Made famous thanks to the rum-swilling exploits of Ernest Hemingway, this is Havana’s most celebrated bar. Past visitors have included Fidel Castro, Harry Belafonte and Nat King Cole.
Sloppy Joe’s Bar
(Corner of Agramonte & Animas) Opened in 1919, it became notorious for a thirsty contingent of Americans who frequented Havana during the prohibition era. The bar’s reputation continued to grow in the 1930s and 1940s and lots of celebrities like Hemingway, Frank Sinatra and Graham Greene were clients. it closed in the 1960s and in 2013 it reopened as a cleaner version of its sloppy predecessor and a favorite with a new generation of tourists.
Casa de la Musica
(Centro Habana) (Av. De Italia between Concordia & Neptuno, admission CUC$5-25) One of the most popular nightclubs and live music venues. Of the City’s two Casas de la Musica, this Centro Habana versión is a little edgier than its Miramar counterpart with big salsa bands.
El Gato Tuerto
(Calle O No. 14 between 17 & 19, drink mínimum CUC$5 from noon to 6am) The “one-eyed cat” is a nexus for karaoke-crazy baby-boomers who come here to knock out rum Fueled renditions of traditional Cuban boleros. It’s hidden just off the Malecon in a quirky two story house with turtles swimming in a front pool. The upper floor is taken up by a restaurant, while down below late-night revelers raise the roof in a chic nightclub.
(Calle 72 No. 4504 Marianao, 10pm) This world-famous place opened in 1939 and was one of the few bastions of Havana’s Las Vegas style nightlife. Immortalized in Graham Greene’s 1958 classic Our Man in Havana, this open-air cabaret tickets go for a slightly less than CUC$75.