By Bertha Leal
Walking through the doors of Cafe Havana is like walking through the doors of time and stepping into the Cuba we all love and remember. Operated by owners Mauricio Aimone and Gabriel Mas and located on the corner of Calle de la Media Luna con Calle del Guerrero, right in the heart of Cartagena, Cafe Havana is known as “La Esquina del Movimiento” which roughly translates into The Street Corner of Dancing. It doesn’t fail to do its name justice. Plastered on the walls are the photos of some of the greatest legends of the Cuban music heritage like Benny More and Antonio Machin. Take it to the dance floor and dance the night away to the beats of a live band playing anything from jazz, to rumba, to salsa and the occasional sweet bolero for the romanticos.
After you’re done sweating up a storm on the dance floor make your way to the bar and let the guayabera-clad bartenders whip you up a freshly made mojito, garnished to perfection with sprigs of mint. The shelves are stocked with brands of rum, brandy, whisky, vodka, and beer. You must try their Cuba Libre which at only 15,000 pesos a pop you can afford to get two! With your chilled glass in hand close your eyes and lean back. In the palpable heat you can almost feel the breeze from the palm trees, the waves from El Malecon. Your body may be in Cartagena but your soul will be in Havana.
On any given night you never know who might just wander in. Regulars and locals can shake their hips along with some very prominent guests. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was recently seen at the establishment. Pictures immortalizing her visit show a Hillary with her hair down, a thin film of sweat on her brow and hands high up in the air. It is a picture that so entirely captures the true spirit of the bar as a place where you leave your worries at the door and succumb to the rhythm of the bongos. And if it’s good enough for Hillary, it’s good enough for us. Take it as a high recommendation, you cannot leave Colombia before you visit Havana.
For more information on Café Havana you can visit their website cafehavanacartagena.com or call 57 314 5196745 for reservations.