From classic bars to late-night clubs to impromptu dance parties, the rum flows when the sun goes down.
When the sun sets over the malecón (Havana's iconic seaside walkway), the music begins to play and the rum drinking commences. Havana's vibrant bar culture is one of the main reasons to visit the city. There are rooftop bars with views, old-school jazz haunts, and historic daiquiri destinations. Here, more details on where to drink and dance.
Hotel Ambos Mundos
This grand old hotel has two things going for it: a history as a Hemingway haunt and a terrific rooftop bar. The writer reportedly stayed in room 511 for $1.50 a night in the 1930s while writing For Whom the Bell Tolls, and if you ask nicely, you may be able to see his room, now converted into a museum of sorts. The terrace boasts incredible vistas of the old city, the malecón and the water. 153 Obispo, corner of Mercaderes, Havana Vieja; +53 7 8609529
La Zorra y el Cuervo
This downstairs joint showcase some of the country's best jazz musicians nightly. It resembles an old-school New York basement jazz club and keeps semi-regular hours. Most nights, doors open at 10 p.m., music starts at 11 p.m. and goes until late. Avenida 23, between Calles N and O, Vedado; no phone
La Casa de la Musica
In many Cuban towns, la Casa de la Musica ("the house of music") is the place for nightlife—if you're going dancing, you're going there. That's less true in Havana, where there's more variety, but if you do want to get your salsa on, this place will oblige with some of the best live bands the island offers. Gallano between Concordia and Neptuno, Centro Havana; no phone
This vintage cocktail den doesn't seem like a place where you might find Ernest Hemingway. The coral-colored exterior, the ice cream–parlor pink-and-green interior, the girly strawberry daiquiris—none of it fits the writer's ultra-masculine reputation. But despite all of this, Floridita was one of Hemingway's famous favorites thanks to the bar's potent cocktails. He was there so often that there's a life-size statue of the writer sitting at the bar. It's a touristy but worthwhile stop for some Old Havana nostalgia. 557 Obispo, corner of Monserrate, Havana Vieja; +53 7 867 1299
La Bodeguita del Medio
The question of whether Hemingway actually patronized this place is somewhat contested, but given its proximity to Hotel Ambos Mundos, where he lived for a time, we'll just say he did. Even if the rumors aren't true, plenty of other notable types, from Pablo Neruda to Gabriel García Márquez, regularly drank here. La Bodeguita claims to have invented the mojito, so that's what to order. Drink yours while crowding into the space, decorated with photos of its famous patrons, for lively music and dancing. 207 Empedrado, corner of Aguiar, Havana Vieja; +53 7 62-4498
Fábrica de Arte Cubano
One of the most exciting places in Havana right now is this former factory, now converted to an art space and music venue. Open Thursdays through Sundays from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., there's always something happening, from visual art exhibits to improv to world-class jazz guitar. It's a great place to head when everything in Havana Vieja shuts down. 61 Calle 11, corner of 26, Vedado; +53 7 8382260