view from rooftop bar Roma in Havana Cuba

Guide to Culture Nightlife in Havana, Cuba

If you’re an American traveling to Cuba, there are lots of nightlife options that allow you to explore culture and support Cuban businesses (as required by the travel restrictions) and have some fun at the same time.  Knowing where and when things are happening so you can make a plan ahead of time is the tricky part. That’s why we’re here! 

In this guide we’ll cover everything the discerning traveler needs to know about going out at night in Havana—our favorite spots, how to get around at night, where to find out about shows and performances prior to your trip, and how to book tickets when necessary.

As an American in Cuba, Am I Allowed to Go Out at Night?

Yes, Americans visiting Cuba under Support for the Cuban People (or one of the other travel categories) are authorized—and even encouraged—to explore and engage with Cuban culture by day, and by night. 

Adherence to a daytime schedule of activities is required, but it’s perfectly within the rules to make your own plan during the evenings, whatever that might be. You should make sure you’re avoiding certain government-owned hotels (here’s the U.S. State Department’s official restricted list), but otherwise, there are no rules—you’re off the clock! 

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Is it Safe to Go Out at Night in Havana? 

The simple answer is yes. No city is perfectly safe, but statistically Havana is remarkably safe in comparison to almost any other city in Latin America, and even most cities in the U.S. 

Common sense precautions should be taken—don’t leave purses unattended, don’t flaunt expensive jewelry, and avoid unlit streets if possible—but otherwise, travelers around the world agree that Havana is one of the safest cities, day or night. 

So where should you go out at night for relaxation, enjoyment and cultural stimulation? Okay, without further ado, here are our current favorites: 

Yarini Habana

Yarini is a humble rooftop restaurant by day, but has quickly become one of Havana’s best venues for music and events. With live shows sprinkled throughout the week and DJ sets on weekends, the vibe is alway impeccable and the crowd is always out for a good time. 

Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC)

Equal parts art gallery, multi-use performance space, and live music venue, Fábrica de Arte is a highbrow nightclub built inside a defunct cooking oil factory could only exist in a place like Cuba. A shrine to Cuban artistic and cultural excellence, there is always something mind-blowing going on there. 

It’s only open from Thursday to Sunday and closes for weeks at a time every few months, but if you’re there when it’s open, don’t miss out. 

El Bleco

El Bleco is a relatively new addition to the scene and is much more of a lounge with live DJs every night of the week. The space is immaculately designed with backlit cacti running along the walls behind booth seating and a picturesque view of the malecón waterfront curving into the distance. The location in Cayo Hueso makes it a great spot to walk to if you’re staying at Malecón 663 or Vapor 156 Boutique Hotel or if you’re exploring La Rampa, another popular nightlife area. 

Booking Lodging? Taxis? Activities? Restaurants?

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El Cocinero

Just next door from FAC is the private restaurant El Cocinero, which has a fabulous rooftop dining area and has started hosting live music and DJs on the weekends. 

Malecón 663 Rooftop

This rooftop restaurant sits atop the Malecón 663 Boutique Hotel and has live music and DJs throughout the week.

Club 23 

For those interested in after-hours exploration, Club 23 is the place for a decidedly more underground Cuban culture. Live music, DJ sets, drinks, dancing—the restless spirit of Havana is alive at Club 23. Check out the IG for the latest. 

RYLAC 

RYLAC is a tiny, unassuming bar located in a random, quiet residential area in Vedado, but it attracts a diverse mixture of young Cubans who paint a fascinating picture of contemporary Cuban culture. Plus, on Tuesdays, it becomes a karaoke bar. 

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La Guarida

A legendary private restaurant in it’s own right, La Guarida has multiple rooftop terrace spaces where they host live musical performances. 

Fangio

Located at the Claxon Hotel Boutique in Vedado, Fangio offers a small but delicious menu of fish, pasta, salad and vegetarian dishes. With seating indoors or outdoors in the gardens, front portico or rooftop, this is a great option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They often have live music at night, landing them on our Culture Nightlife Guide as well!

La Zorra y el Cuervo Jazz Club

This venue is government run but not off limits, and books two jazz shows nightly. On any given night, La Zorra y el Cuervo features some of the best jazz you’ve ever seen, performed by an often anonymous group of highly trained local musicians. The vibe is a bit old-school, but that only adds to the experience. 

How to Find Out About Shows and Events

These days, most bars and venues featuring live performances have websites, but almost always, the best way to find out about upcoming shows is through the venue’s Instagram or Facebook page. 

Very often, shows aren’t advertised more than a week or two in advance, so if you’ve begun planning your trip but you’re still months away, you should wait to look into the nightlife options until much closer to your departure date. 

Another way to find out about shows is through the musicians, DJs, and event producers themselves. Here are a few that we follow and like: 

If a show requires tickets to be purchased ahead of time, email or message the venue to find out if it’s possible to pay online, or if an arrangement can be made to reserve spots and pay when you arrive.  Most businesses have a WhatsApp contact number where an English speaking representative will be able to help you. The same goes for DMs through Facebook and Instagram. 

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