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Music Clubs and Restaurants in Havana and Varadero

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There is a great deal of places listed on this site and others but we would really like to get some personal suggestions from people who have been to Havana and Varadero.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Any price range for clubs and restaurants will help, we plan to try a number of different styles etc.
Thank you in advance for your replies.

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    Hola ScottP

    Well, I can't help you directly on club names as I always am travelling with some local Cuban friends in Havana, but here are some places I love to eat/drink at in Havana.

    1) EL ALJIBE in Miramar offers a great house specialty, Lemon Chicken. Grand and not too pricey. Dinner for 2, drinks, wine for under $50.

    2) EL FLORIDITA in Habana Vieja (Old Havana) serves the absolute BEST frozen daquiri imaginable. But at $6.00 per drink it is a little pricey. But that is the bar and drink made famous by Hemmingway and for it's historic note, and lots of photos of Papa Hemingway on the walls (with Fidel no less) is neat. Food is pretty good as well, but I have only eaten in the bar section, not the dining room.

    3) EL PATIO in Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral Square in Habana Vieja) is also great. You can dine inside or outside in the square under unbrellas. I have always preferred the outside because the music isn't quite as loud, and also I simply love to soak up the atmosphere in the Plaza. Service can be a bit slow however but often that is because I am sitting single and the wait staff knows they earn larger tips for a full table of people. I often stop here for lunch (Sandwich Cubano) with a cold Crystal Beer. Very nice and under $10 for lunch.

    If you are in Havana and want a great Mojita at the legendary bar made famous by Ernest Hemmingway, then you have to have a drink at The Bodeguita Del Medio, Empedrado 207, Habana Vieja (Old Havana). Comida Criolla y Mojitos (Native food and Mojitos), what a great place to eat and drink. Located just around the corner from Cathedral Square. The walls are covered with signatures of its patrons from the day it opened. Famous signatures such as Hemmingway's and Salvadore Allende's are protected under glass. No visit to Havana is complete without a Mojito at the Bodeguita. Also the food is good, but sorry, don't remember what the price for the meal was. Reasonable though in the restaurant section.

    5) LA DIVINA PASTORA. Tucked into the berth of the sailing ship El Galeón at the foot of El Morro Castle, it is a good spot for dinner after the cañonazo (cannon blast) at La Cabaña. I took my girlfriend here and the atmosphere is terrific. Soft breeze, soft music and soft lips. What a treat. Very romantic spot with the lights of the harbor glimmering. The food is good too. Not a place where you have paid for the view and get substandard fare. Worth every penny, though it does take quite a few of them. If you only have one night in Havana and want to make it special, then this is the place to go. Drinks, appetizer, bottle of wine, surf & turf, coffee's and desert ran about $90.

    In addition, on Calle Obispo in Old Havana there are many outdoor cafes and other cafes as well. My favourite of these are just off the edge of Plaza de Armas at the corner of Obispo and Oficios. There are three cafes in a row. Cafe La Mina, Casa del Agua la Tinaja, and Dulceria Dona Teresa. All offer good food and great ambience on the outdoor patios. I often have lunch here and generall lunch with beer is around $10.

    Also, opposite the restaurant El Aljibe in Miramar is a place called Sandwichteria (not sure of spelling) which is a great local place to eat. Very cheap but good simple fare. We had 3 adults and 3 kids and all had sandwiches, milkshakes and pop and were out for around $25 total. It's open air dining but very popular with the locals.

    You must think all I do is eat, but it is a great hobby.
    Hope this helps you out some and I know you will enjoy Havana.

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    Try to get to El Turquino on a night that isn't jammed with foreigners. I'm sorry, but I can't remember the exact location of El Turquino, just that it's on the 25th floor of a hotel right near El Cine Yara. It seems most weekend nights, they jack up the cover ($16 the night we went!) and give foreigners priority access. Then if it's not full, they'll let Cubans in for much less. Personally, I'd MUCH rather watch Cubans dancing salsa than Germans. The club's big draww are that it has great views of Havana (although frankly, Havana at night isn't all that special) and that the roof retracts, making for an open-air nightclub when the weather cooperates. Even with a paucity of Cubans on the dance floor, it was still a really fun place.

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