January 12, 2015
One of the world’s most vibrant salsa-dancing destinations, Havana is the perfect place to party the night away. Cuba’s largest city – with over two million residents – offers the liveliest, most energetic salsa clubs on the planet (with some of the best rum you’re ever likely to try). Here’s our guide to dancing salsa in Havana – if you’re lucky you may even be shown a few moves by the locals”¦
Tucked away below Teatro Nacional, Café Cantante Mi Habana may not be the easiest place to find, but once you’ve made it to this buoyant basement club, brace yourself for a night of non-stop dancing and expertly crafted cocktails. Known for its diverse range of clientele – from local musicians to excited tourists, ranging from anywhere between 20-50 years old – the Cuban nightlife haunt hosts top live bands, along with regular matinée salsa discos. With the music (and the rum) flowing until 4am, Café Cantante Mi Habana offers the genuine Cuban salsa experience, all for a 25 CUC cover charge.
Avenida Paseo, La Habana
La Casa de la MÃºsica offers not one, but two of Havana’s most popular salsa dancing clubs – the older, more established branch in the Miramar district, with the newer and larger venue situated in Central Habana. Both clubs are widely regarded as the ultimate venues to dance salsa in Havana, attracting the biggest names in Cuban salsa music, with live bands performing most nights throughout the week in a welcoming and energetic atmosphere. On the whole, the venues are largely frequented by local Cubans, although after 11pm every Wednesday the clubs shift to cater to a more tourist-based crowd.
Central Havana: Calle Galiano, entre Neptuno y Concordia
Miramar District: Calle 20, esquina 35, Playa
A vastly popular club amongst local Cubans, Diablo Tun Tun is one of the least-touristy places to dance salsa in Havana, and is largely known for its more sophisticated atmosphere and regular Thursday matinée shows. You can find this well-frequented salsa venue directly above the Miramar Casa de la MÃºsica, and although Diablo Tun Tun is smaller than its downstairs neighbour, the dance floor quickly becomes among the wildest in town. Because the club is situated slightly outside of the main Havana tourist spots, the drinks are served at a very reasonable price compared to some of the downtown clubs.
Calle 20 Esquina a 35, Miramar
Home to the distinguished and legendary dance group, Conjunto FolklÃ³rico Nacional de Cuba, Havana’s El Gran Palenque has been specialising in raucous dance floors since 1997, with a loyal crowd of Cuban regulars creating the boisterous, energetic atmosphere. Each Saturday, Conjunto FolklÃ³rico Nacional de Cuba hosts the SÃ¡bado de la Rumba – a spellbinding show integrated with percussive drumming. With the beats and tunes spilling out onto the street, tourists are often lured in out of curiosity, and more often than not; end up staying for the rest of the night.
Calle 4, between Calzada and Avenida 5, Vedado
When La Cecilia gets going, it really gets going! One of the city’s largest outdoor music venues, the club regularly books Cuba’s biggest and most popular live bands. The larger events tend to attract thousands of party-going locals, arguably being the most popular and well-attended club in Havana. However, even with less established acts on the bill La Cecilia is notorious for being one of Havana’s leading nightlife spots, and with a cover charge of between 5 – 10 CUC, it’s no wonder. The only bad thing: well, seeing as it’s an outdoor venue, La Cecilia is closed on rainy nights. Luckily, they are few and far between in Havana.
5ta Avenida y 110
Another of Havana’s outdoor venues, Salon Rosado de la Tropical is brimming with rich musical history. Best known as for its legendary nights in the 1940s, when world-renowned Cuban musician, Arsenio RodrÃguez, would frequently take to the stage, the venue remains a big part of Havana’s live music scene, hosting some of the city’s largest concerts, parties and events. On good nights at Salon Rosado de la Tropical, you’ll find thousands of salsa-goers ready to dance until the early morning – and with the drink prices famously cheap, a few glasses of rum are fairly custom on the dance floor.
Esquina 46, Avenida 41, La Habana, Cuba
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Have you been to Cuba? Where would you go to dance salsa in Havana? Let us know in the comments below.