The best nightlife spots in Santiago de Cuba

photo by Richard Weil

Santiago de Cuba might be only the second largest city in the country, but when it comes to entertainment value it is nothing less than one of the best. Nightlife in Cuba has a special flair and flavor, seasoned with salsa and Caribbean rhythms, and there’s simply nothing that compares to it. If you visit Santiago de Cuba, it’s not just the historical and cultural attractions that will distract you, because no one could possible resist the pull of its nightlife. Whatever your tastes – quiet bars, cheery neighborhood pubs or noisy pubs – you can find what you’re looking for in Santiago. Here are some of the best nightlife spots in Santiago de Cuba.

Casa de la Trova

Casa de la Trova is nothing less than legendary when it comes to live music venues in Santiago de Cuba. The hot rhythms of salsa and other Caribbean styles is infused in the walls, and although older regulars complain that the venue has lost much of its character in the past decades, this is still the archetypical Cuban nightlife spot for a newcomer.

Cafe Cantante

Whether you are just starting your evening with a few drinks or if you want to settle down in one spot for the night, Cafe Cantante is the ideal place. This is a very much traditional Cuban nightclubs, laid back and unpretentious, with live music and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The local acts are so beloved by the public that there are rarely occasions when the guests don’t start singing with the bands, or even go up on the stage and become performers themselves.

Club El Iris

If you are not in the mood for tradition but you still want something typically Cuban, head to Club El Iris, one of the loudest, hottest and most alluring nightclubs in the city. The entrance is signalled by a conventional neon-lit sign, but El Iris is anything by conventional. For drinking and dancing and getting lost in the crowd there are no better nightlife spots in Santiago de Cuba.

Club 300

When the night is young and you are in the mood for some smooth jazz music, you should have a drink or two at Club 300, a dark and alluring clubs where you can listen to Cuban jazz bands. The audience is mostly made up of jazz afficionados, but the atmosphere is far from snobbish. The club is open until 4 in the morning, and the mood usually gets livelier as morning approaches.

San Pedro del Mar

San Pedro del Mar is one of the most traditional clubs in the city, where there are cabaret shows that have become very famous in the city. The ambiance is unique, as the club was built on a rocky terrace jutting out above the sea, and the food and drink selections are varied and interesting. Have your pick of Cuban cocktails and mingle with the stylish crowd of the city.

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