Mojitos & Salsa: Top Nightlife Experiences in Cuba

At night, Cuba comes alive with the sounds of mojito glasses clinking, salsa music, and Afro-Cuban jazz. Whether you’re a foodie, cocktail connoisseur, or music lover, get ready to party it up in Cuba.

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Photo © Evie Cheung

Notable Restaurants in Cuba

In Cuba, an independently-owned restaurant is called a paladar. There are many notable ones, particularly in the larger cities.

Dining Out in Havana

Havana easily dominates the restaurant scene in Cuba. You’ll find a unique experience at La Guarida, one of the most famous paladares. It’s a magical space in a beautifully decaying building, which also has a rooftop with an excellent view of the city.

Staircase leading up to restaurant La Guarida. Photo credit: Evie Cheung
The view from restaurant La Guarida’s rooftop. Photo credit: Evie Cheung

Doña Eutemia in Old Havana, and San Cristobal Paladar in Central Havana are also great places to experience a cosy atmosphere with delicious food.

If you’re looking for a modern vibe, book a table at El Cocinero or Atelier, both in Vedado.

Trinidad Top Eats

If you’re headed to Trinidad, go to Cafe Don Pepe for some great Cuban food and an art-filled, lush ambience.

If you want a unique experience, pay a visit to Sol Ananda; it’s like dining in a museum with a diverse menu.

Restaurants in Santiago de Cuba

Venturing to the opposite end of the country? Don’t miss out on Restaurante Aurora and El Palenquito.

Because these restaurants are so popular, be sure to book a reservation in advance.

The Best Bars in Cuba

Bars in Havana

For a classic Cuban night out in Havana, visit the tree-lined patio at Hotel Nacional, which will bring you back to another era of history.

If you want to follow in Hemingway’s footsteps, order a daiquiri at El Floridita in Old Havana.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, head to Cafe Madrigal. Located on a quiet street in Vedado, it will take you by surprise. The walls here are covered with artistic posters and historical relics. Enjoy Cuban rum and tapas at this magical place.

Unique Bars in Other Cuban Cities

A few other notable spots outside of Havana are Casa de la Musica in Trinidad, where you can enjoy salsa and Afro-Cuban tunes al fresco, and Cafe Santiago Nightclub in Cuba, which starts off as a fashion show before turning into a lively disco.

Unique Nightlife Experiences Only in Cuba

Fabrica de Arte Cubano

Experience the new age of Cuban nightlife at Fabrica de Arte Cubano (FAC). This is an old factory space that has been converted into a cultural center, filled with art galleries showcasing artists around the world.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the space turns into a nightlife hotspot, with dancing, DJs, and live performances.

Fabrica de Arte Cubano - the interior of one the main art gallery / performance hall. Photo credit: Evie Cheung

Jazz & Mojitos

Cuba is famous for jazz, and the best place to go is La Zorra y el Cuervo in Vedado.

Every year, Cuba also has a jazz festival in January, which travels through Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad.

Buena Vista Social Club

Though the original Buena Vista Social Club – popular with musicians and dancers in the 1940s – is no more, you can still see a newer version of the wonderful performance.

Spontaneous Salsa in the Streets

Of course, we can’t talk about Cuban nightlife without mentioning the impromptu dance parties in the streets.

On weekend nights, you’ll find that many locals will start their own salsa parties in the street and town squares – so don’t be shy and join in!

Heading to Cuba? Download our FREE Insider’s Guide!

Put down the cigars and step out of the vintage cars! Explore historical sites of revolution, taste peso food, or go diving among vibrant marine life.

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