Havana's Hottest Nightclub-Art Gallery: Fábrica de Cubano Arte

Havana's Hottest Nightclub-Art Gallery: Fábrica de Cubano Arte
First off, you did the tourist thing. You visited Revolutionary Square and stared up at the statue of José Marti. You walked through the Old Town and bought a cigar from one of the women in white dresses smoking fat cigars. You rode around the city in a vintage American car, maybe even one of the beautifully restored 1956 Pontiac convertibles. And, of course, you hung out on the Malecón and watched the surf crash against the concrete seawall.

Fábrica de Cubano Arte

Now what?

It’s time to experience Havana like a local and visit Fábrica de Cubano Arte. Say Fábrica or F.A.C. and everyone will know where you want to go.

Located in the Vedado suburb, Fábrica used to be a peanut oil factory. From the outside, it still looks like that.

Inside it’s a whole different story.

When you enter Fábrica, you are handed a card. Don’t lose it. Instead of paying for drinks and food inside, your card is stamped. That way when you are ready to head home, you hand over the card and the cashier figures out how much you owe.

Lose it and you pay a hefty fine.

Fábrica de Cubano Arte

Food, Drinks and Art

First stop inside is the entryway bar. Grab an ice cold drink. A soda, wine, a Cuba Libre, Mojito or anything you like. But you’re in Cuba so you might as well have Havana Club rum.

The first rooms on the ground floor and on the second floor are filled with art created by local artists. Paintings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media presentations fill the space. The art is inventive and thoroughly modern.

A pink hand grenade sculpture is studded with teeth. A video loop of Fidel Castro talking about agriculture is embedded in an installation of dozens of toy cattle making love. Hyper-realistic photographs detail the lives of everyday Cubans.

Walk through the galleries and the space explodes into a four story tall hall with a larger bar and room for bands to perform and films to be screened.

Keep walking through the outdoor patio and walk down the concrete steps to enter the back building. There is another bar and a small café where you can order sandwiches, snacks and sweets.

Fábrica de Cubano Arte

Let the Dance Party Begin

Here the music is going full blast. A DJ has the dance music turned up loud and the room is packed with young Cubans enjoying the night. You’ll join in because you can’t resist and why should you? The crowd is friendly and inviting.

And dance you will until you have to take a break. You’ll pick up a ham and cheese sandwich and a mojito and walk back into the large hall where a movie is playing. Maybe, a black and white documentary from the 1960s about Cuba in the first days of the Revolution or a bootlegged episode of Game of Thrones.

You watch the film for a while and you realize you are tired. The music from the dance hall makes the walls in the theater throb. You are tempted to go back in but it’s late and you’re ready to go home. Luckily you still have your entry card so you pay the cashier before you exit.

You walk outside. A warm breeze moves through the palm trees. An airplane crosses overhead in the dark sky. More tourists on their way to visit Havana.

A vintage American car waits at the curb. Luckily it is available. You hop in and tell the driver the name of your hotel.

As the car drives down the street, there’s still a line of people waiting to get inside Fábrica because in Havana the party never seems to stop.

Fábrica de Cubano Arte

Fábrica de Cubano Arte, Calle 26, between Calles 11 and 13, Equina 11 Vedado, La Habana 10400, Ph+537 838-22-60

https://www.facebook.com/fabricadeartecubano.cu, www.fabricadeartecubano.com, Thursday-Sunday, 8:00PM - 3:00AM