GUIDE TO AFTER-DARK
[REF: Cabaret Yearbook, Winter Resort Number, Volume One, poss 1956, p68]
GUIDE TO AFTER-DARK HAVANA
THE BIG THREE
, Truffin Ave.
& Linea (B-4544). This claims to be the largest and most
beautiful night club in the world. Located on what was once an
extensive private estate, Tropicana has two complete sets of stages,
table areas and dance floors. If the weather is fine, the outdoor
area is used; otherwise everyone moves to the indoor area. Tall
palm trees growing among the tables lend the proper tropical atmosphere
and blend well with the ultra-modernistic architecture. Shows
include 50-dancer chorus lines which often branch out into the
trees. Rhythms and costumes are colorfully native (voodoo is a
frequent theme.) Top names often star. Minimum at tables is
$4.50 per person, but this can be avoided by sitting at bar which has
adequate view of stage.
, 23rd St & P
(U-5207). Montmartre is the only major Havana night club that is
entirely indoors. It is more conveniently located (in the Vedado
section) than Tropicana, which is a 20-minute ride from the center of
Havana. Montmartre, which used to confine its shows to a series
of acts, now also goes in for large-scale productions, directed by an
American. Name acts are frequently imported (most recent: Los
Chavales de Espana). There is a $4.50 minimum at the tables, but
none at the two bars (both of which afford a view of the stage).
, Arroyo Arenas
Highway (BO-7979). Usually run by Americans, San Souci is located
in a Spanish-type villa. Stage, dance floor and tables are under
the moonlight. Shows, like at the other Big Three nightclubs, are
production numbers with name acts. Good-looking U.S. show girls
are an added attraction. Sans Souci, as well as Tropicana and
Montmartre, has a gambling room with roulette, craps and chemin de fer,
etc. Located even further out than Tropicana, Sans Souci usually
opens only for the winter season.
, Rancho Boyeros
Highway (I-5072). About 15 minutes from Havana, the Bambu is
located in rustic surroundings. Show consists of local talent.
, Fifth Avenue &
C (B-7794). This is located in Havana's Coney Island area.
Genuine native rhythms (rumba, mambo, cha-cha-cha) are played by small
orchestras and danced to by a class of people that are not particularly
inhibited. These often provide a better show than the show on
, Fifth Ave.
& C (B-7807). It is a few steps to walk from the Panchin to
the Pennsylvania and get more of the same atmosphere. Teachers
from U.S. dancing schools often come to these places to learn the
latest local dances.
, San Rafael
& Prado (M-9296). A cozy place off tourist-traveled Prado
Boulevard, with dance music and a show consisting of singers and rumba
, Zanja # 205
(W-9497). Located in Chinatown, the old, hot and uncomfortable
Shanghai Theater has the only public burlesque in Havana. Girls
strip completely (no G-strings). This theater is probably one of
the few places in the world which openly shows pornographic
movies. Admission is $1.25, but varies according to the location
of the seats in the big old Havana theater.
Taberna San Roman
Pedro & Oficios (M-4460). Cured meats hang from the ceiling,
and wine jugs are on shelves along the walls. The walls are also
decorated with bull-fighting posters from Spain. A band provides
dance music, and on Saturday nights the Spanish equivalent of a jam
session gets under way. Customers make impromptu music and
someone usually plays a bagpipe (Spanish, not Scottish). Well off
the beaten tourist track.
, Aramburu # 366
(U-9729). Spanish music, singing and dancing. Customers try
to drink wine by pouring it in a thin stream from Andalusian jugs
directly into their mouths. After drinking enough wine, many of
the customers participate in the informal floor show.
& Prado (W-9452). The Tasca is decorated to resemble a
Spanish bandit's cave. Guitarists, singers, pianists and dancers
make up the show and also provide music for dancing by customers.
, 21 St & O
(U-8981). The Arboleda Room provides a quite place to enjoy good
liquor. A pianist provides pleasant music.
, Prado #225 (M-9961). The Carnival Room has miniature shows (usually a singer and an accompanist).
, G St. & Calzada (F-6622). The Chez Merito provides a trio of musicians.
, Obispo &
Monserrate (M-5031). The Floridita (Formerly known as La Florida)
claims to have originated the daiquiri (named after a Cuban
river). It has developed daiquiri-making into an art, and
provides half a dozen different types. Most famous daiquiri
customer at Floridita: Ernest Hemingway, who uses a special out-sized
glass. The place also has an excellent restaurant.
Johnny's Dream Club
, on the
Almendares River. Johnny's is noted for its fluorescent murals
and tables located on several tiers and so enclosed that they provide
adequate privacy for lovers. There is a dance floor (to recorded
music) and a simple show (singer, pianist). This place is owned
by the same Johnny who owns Johnny's Bar (with "bar" girls) and
, Seventh Ave.
& La Copa. Tony Gorody provides some of the most pleasant
piano-playing in Havana, fine for listening or dancing. A haunt
for local Americans who avoid strictly tourist spots.
, Prado #521
(M-4888). El Dorado and other nearby cafes opposite the Capitolio
lend a Parisian air to the city. Tables are in the open-air on
Prado Boulevard. El Dorado has an all-girl orchestra for
, Agramonte #
252 (M-4178). This is a mecca for tourists, but few locals (Cuban
or American) go here. Sandwiches are excellent, and a small
musical group plays.
, Bernaza 1 (M-4811). Piano music, and fine chicken and steaks.
, Paseo &
First St. Customers can sit on an outdoor terrace, drink, watch outdoor
movies and be cooled by sea breezes from the ocean.
, Oficios #164
(A-7324). The Colonial uses local talent, frequently risque, to
please the tourist trade upon which this place lives. Prices are
tourist-aimed, with a minimum of $1.50 per person at the tables.
Highway (X-3019). Risque shows and private rooms for a price keep this
place closed whenever the authorities decide to crack down.
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