Santa Clara, Cuba: Nightlife

Santa Clara has some great nightlife and entertainment venues to choose from. From enjoying a drink at the legendary La Marquesina dive bar located on the corner of Parque Vidal, under the equally legendary Caridad Theater; to enjoying weekly live concerts at Museo de Artes Decorativas, featuring everything from rock to chachachá.

One of the top spots in town, is Club Mejunje, with a “something for everyone” motto, which includes urban graffiti, poetry reading, gay night, old crooners belting out boleros, children’s theatre and salsa dancing. Club Mejunje is tucked away in the ruins of an old roofless building on Marta Abreu, overgrown by vegetation. This entertainment venue, with an artsy and bohemian vibe, is famous for many things, including the country’s only official drag show.

From October to April, Estadio Sandino located east of the center, hosts regular baseball games, featuring Cuba’s third biggest baseball team, Villa Clara, also known as Las Naranjas (the Oranges).

The El Bar Club Boulevard is a renowned cocktail lounge in Santa Clara. Located on Independencia 225 between Maceo and Unión, it’s the most up-scale joint in town, featuring a popular dance club, live music and the occasional cabaret shows.

Other night venues to visit include, Café Lieraro, a student coffee bar with an extensive library, serving strong espressos; the colonial Casa de la Cultura Juan Marinello that hosts occasional concerts and the rooftop bar at Hotel Santa Clara Libre, which is literally the high point in downtown, offering a good view of the city center.

The well decorated, colonial, candlelit courtyard of Restaurant Florida Center – justifiably the most famous restaurant in Santa Clara – is the best dining spot in town. The highlight on the menu is the lobster with prawns in a tangy tomato sauce; however the place has a very wide variety of dishes and wines, and also offers two rooms for rent.

Other good restaurant choices include the fancy El Benyamino, the El Sabor Latino with its Rolling Stones’ ‘Glimmer Twins’ logo and the comfortable and lively decorated El Alba, Santa Clara’s best peso restaurant.