Havana is a city teeming with energy, music, dancing, Cuban cigars and rum. Collectively speaking, it’s a pretty great combination. Having had a recent taste of the bar scene in the city, we’ve highlighted a few places everyone must visit at some point during their trip, from iconic staples to the IYKYK.
Vapor y Hornos, Calle Marina. 61 Piso 5 Apto 52 e, La Habana
This one goes top of the list for the sheer reason that I kept wanting to go back the moment I had any free time. Located just off the Malecón, El Bleco resides on the rooftop of an otherwise inconspicuous two-storey building.
With the roof removed in place of an open air balcony, a team of white-tee-and-blue-jeaned staff with moves as great as their hospitality (literally, they’re all dancers), incredible pizzas and even better drinks, it’s the perfect place to watch the sun go down before the bar’s incredible selection of DJs take it all the way home. In a week-long stay, I spent three of my evenings there, and I’ll certainly make it my first port of call when I return.
4JPV+7RC, Teniente Rey, La Habana
From minimalistic designed aesthetics to Cuba rammed into a hole-in-the-wall, El Dandy is quite possibly one of the coolest speakeasy-type bars in Old Havana. The location, once more, is so under the radar you’ll most likely end up walking right past it. But once you enter, it’s as if you’ve been transported to join the coolest cats in Cuba. Looking over the bar is an incredible picture of a Cuban Dandy, presumably the inspiration behind the name. The selection of drinks available are so vast you’ll need to come back a few times, but I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to do that anyway. A fun game we played, whilst downing a few Rum-based drinks, was trying to name all the stickers plastered on the fridges. Seriously, there are some properly rogue ones there—Hamburger S.V. Supporters Club, anyone?
Obrapía 511 e/ Bernaza y, Villegas, La Habana
Melodrama is all that and then some. Dark, seductive, delectable. Go there without any set plans for the rest of the night because you never know what’ll end up happening. It’s a place where people come to enjoy everything life has to offer, without compromise. As far as bars go, the close time is relatively early at 1am, but a lot can happen in that time, especially if you rock up when doors open at 5. Incredible drinks, and a spectacular crowd with live music and heaps more, it’s a bucket list visit, for certain.
4JPV+X36, Obispo, La Habana
If you’ve ever come across anything regarding Cuba and/or Hemingway, El Floridita will likely ring a bell. Originally called La Piña de Plata when it opened in 1817, Floridita was a favourite hangout of Ernest Hemingway when he resided on the island during the ‘40s and ‘50s, and has since been famed for its daiquiris. It may well be one of the biggest tourist attractions in Havana, but the chances are, if you’re visiting Cuba you’re likely coming from afar, so it’s worth checking out regardless. And when you’re done, make sure you pop across the square to La Casa del Habanos Partagás for a post-daiquiri Cuban cigar.
4JP5+W6X, Calle E, La Habana
Bar nocturno en La Habana, Iluxion is where you enter at night and leave as the sun comes up. One of the hottest clubs in the city, the place boasts some of the most incredible DJs in town spinning the best LATAM and international records, whilst musicians—everyone from local rappers to veteran saxophonists—and professional dancers come to do their thing. The crowd varies from the younger set to a couple generations upwards, but one thing’s for sure: when you’re there, the music will enrapture you, so basically, bring comfortable footwear.