Waking up slowly, I can hear the end of a karaoke song and the start of a drag performance. Now I’m awake. Where am I? In Humboldt #52 between Hospital and Infanta, Central Habana / Vedado. 

Regardless of your sexual orientation, this place has a welcoming vibe, a relaxed setting and a great dance floor for salsa.

Like most gay bars in the world, there is a disco ball and my friend returns from mistakenly entering the ‘back room”!

There’s seating aplenty and big TV screens show music videos, making this a fun place for a night out. I’m somehow reminded about a distant memory of dancing in G.A.Y in London to Glee Cast’s Don’t Stop Believin’ and being asked to desist as dancers don’t mix with the clientele, there should be nobody dancing better than clientele, its just unfair. Hey this is just how I roll.


Apparently 1830 is a restaurant, but I only found out this a few months ago. Since then I’ve eaten very good food at this superb and elegant colonial house, which has excellent service. It’s worth visiting and dining there but really I go for the salsa at night!

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Submarino Amarillo (Yellow Submarine) Club

Even though the Beatles never visited Cuba, Beatlemania is still huge in Cuba today. John, Paul, George and Ringo would be astounded at how much Cubans love their music.

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Sloppy Joe’s Bar

Situated on the corner of Calle Animas and Zulueta in Habana Vieja, Sloppy Joe’s welcomed tourists for decades and offered over 80 different cocktails, before a disappearing US clientele and a fire in the 1960s finally finished it off. It reopened in 2013 after being closed for decades.

In the 1960s, I very much doubt if everyday Cubans could have afforded to be in Sloppy Joe’s bar. It was a magnet for celebrities from the United States, as well as wannabe celebrity tourists. It was apparently described in the LA Times as “one of the most famous bars in the world” and 90% of the customers were from the US.

Today, the only change is that now the customers are 99% tourists from around the globe, and the prices reflect this, but do go and see the restoration. You’ll find memorabilia from the time and experience the arctic air conditioning they had back in the1960s too!

But now that Sloppy Joe’s is a tourist trap (funded by the Cuban state) and only designed with them in mind, I'm deeply embarrassed and ashamed of what it has become. I will never be seen inside again. This is not Habana, this is not Cuba, it’s just a transplanted bar from London, Paris or Rome.

Tour and Holidays to Cuba