What Café Cantante lacks in comfort and service (especially from the doormen) it more than makes up for in the quality of the artists which play there and the busy atmosphere. Afternoon shows feature hip-hop, salsa, rock, pop and traditional Afro-Cuban music. For the nighttime shows the very best big name salsa groups play until 3am. It is housed in the basement of the National Theater. I have never really been a fan of the place mostly for the lack of creature comforts, when it gets busy it gets busy. Friday night has recently become predominantly LGBT night and is more packed still. Can’t deny the great bands.
Cover: Evening show: 5-15 CUC
Matinees 50-100 CUP
There’s always something grotty and off-putting about basement clubs and this place in the nether regions of the Teatro Nacional fit the bill perfectly until a recent major overhaul. I’m surprised how nicely this club cleaned up; it actually feels hip, which is has been a slow learning curve for state-run establishments. The air condition works, there’s plenty of seating, good audio and clean sight lines to the stage. Los Kents (rock ‘n roll covers); Qva Libre (wildly popular rock/fusion); and Santiago Feliú (trova superstar) have regular gigs here. This venue also has historic significance since it’s where Nueva Trova solidified as a movement.