Havana has a wonderful music and cocktail history. Make sure you stop in at one of the historic bars for a Mojito or Daiquiri, attend a jazz performance or one featuring the musicians from the Buena Vista Social Club or see a cabaret show.
Two of the historic bars include La Floridita and Sloppy Joe’s. La Floridita, from 1817, is known for its Daiquiris that Hemingway liked. It is a colorful bar and restaurant that still looks like Hemingway could walk right through the door. Obispo #557.
Sloppy Joe’s was an historic bar from the 1930’s that was closed in 1959 but recently reopened. It has a classic interior and is a great spot for a drink. Calle Zulueta #252.
Restaurant Cafe Taberna: This is a restaurant and bar which features the music of the famed Buena Vista Social Club nightly. The highlight is seeing some of the older performers. Calle Mercaderes #531 at Teniente Rey.
Cabaret Parisien: Located in a showroom at the Hotel Nacional, I totally enjoyed the show with music, dance and colorful costumes. Dinner is available, but I would go to a nearby paladar and then come to the hotel for the show.
La Zorra y El Cuervo Jazz Club: This is a fun local jazz club with nightly music from 10pm to 2am. It is in Vedado, a short walk from the Hotel Nacional and other hotels. Avenida 23 entre N y O.
Another must is the famous Cabaret Tropicana which opened in 1939. More than 200 dancers perform during its 1950’s style cabaret show. This is not to be missed as it looks like a scene out of old Havana. It is open air and it is a spectacular setting. I enjoyed it on my first trip in 2009. It is somewhat expensive and can include dinner with your package. I would however skip the dinner, go to a local paladar and attend the show after dinner.
Museo del Ron Havana Club: This is a fun tour to learn the history and the process of how rum is produced. The best is the tasting at the end. Avenida del Puerto #262 esq. Sol. They have a store where you can buy their products as well a bar where you can enjoy a cocktail and listen to live music.
el Cocinero: A new gourmet restaurant featuring really good food. I loved the grilled pork with corn/coconut sauce, rice, salad with dried fruits and cheese, coconut flan, curried lamb and more. They have a lovely patio off the dining room and a very large hip rooftop terrace and lounge/bar. I highly recommend it. Make sure to go next door to Fabrica de Arte Cubano / FAC, a wonderful venue for art, film, cocktails, music and more. Calle 26, entre 11 y 13 in Vedado.