Santiago de Cuba, Cuba: Nightlife

The main draw of Santiago de Cuba’s nightlife has to be the locally grown music scene. Some of the biggest names from the Cuban music scene, like Eliades Ochoa, Compay Segundo, and La Vieja Trova Santiaguera, come from Santiago. Just off Parque Céspedeson lies Calle Heredia, where at least five places burst with live Cuban music every night, while many have bands performing during the day, as well.

Apart from the lively music scene, Santiago de Cuba has its own cabaret show to offer. Cabaret Tropicana Santiago is second in fame and size only to Havana’s Tropicana, although it is quite different then its Cuban counterpart. Excellent singers and dancers dressed in elaborate costumes are ready to entertain everyone over dinner or drinks.

Casa de las Tradiciones, located in the Tivolí district, is a gritty bar, with colorful artwork, that features some of the city’s most exciting singers, soloists and ensembles improvising. Meanwhile Iris Jazz Club, one of the country’s best suave jazz clubs, features some of the best jazz, seen from one of its comfy boots, surrounded by pictures of puffing jazz greats.

On the pedestrianized Tamayo Fuentes, a two level packed bar known as Bar Sindo Garay serves great cocktails and presents the life of Sindo Garay, one of Cuba's most famous trova musicians.

For coffee lovers, Café de la Catedral sheltered beneath Santiago’s cathedral, offers 24 different types of coffee, with biscuits. The Café is also decorated with some coffee-farming tools and a cafetal mural emblazoned on the wall

Some of the top restaurants in Santiago de Cuba include St Pauli, Rumba Café, Paladar Salón Tropical, Restaurante el Morro and Madrileño, while most restaurants in the city have reasonable prices.

Cultural events inevitably take a back seat to the city’s live music scenes, however they are not lacking. The best spot for dance and theatre is Teatro José María Heredia, which is also the headquarters for Festival del Caribe. An incredible Afro-Cuban outfit that performs here is Ballet Folklórico Cutumba.