This was once known as the legendary beer garden where Arsenio tore it up in the 40s. It is still a big part of the live music scene today for large concerts, parties and other special events, which by their nature tend to be somewhat sporadic. Typically there will be a salsa/timba gig on a Saturday night and a Sunday matinee with an older crowd but you should check before heading out there.
The crowd typically is mostly Cubans with a few expatriates who managed to get the memo. With a good gig the place will be packed with thousands of people ready to dance and party the night away.
The facilities are pretty basic but still basically function and there is surprisingly little queue at the bar to get served. Prices are cheap and most Cubans will drink rum but there was also Redbull and Corona the last time I visited for the high maintenance types.
There’s something extra special about outdoor venues, and this salsa palace in Playa is an all-time favorite. Whether you hit the big open dance floor or overlook the scene from one of the balconies above, this place has an unrivaled energy. While regguetón/cubatón and timba are standard musical fare here (think La Micha; Paulo FG; Pupy y Los Son Son) rock and pop acts – Interactivo, Descemer Bueno, Raúl Paz – also gig occasionally at the Salon Rosado. This is also HQ for the annual Pro Electronica music festival; this year’s event takes place on July 13 (7pm-11am) and features dozens of electronic acts from around the island. This venue has a strict ID and search policy, so it’s best to travel light and carry some form of identification when heading for a night out here.