Havana. It ain’t all vintage cars, old Ernest Hemingway stops and Cuban cigars my friend. There is also a very trendy and artsy side to Cuba’s capital city. And a night in Fabrica de Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory) will give you a peek into this modern Cuban culture, but best of all, it will be one night you will never forget.
Yes, it is that good!
Havana’s Hippest Art Factory: Fabrica de Arte Cubano
What is Fabrica de Arte Cubano?
What is Fabrica de Arte Cubano? Only the coolest, most ‘happeningest’ place in Havana. I touched upon its terrificness before in my Havana Bucket List of Things to Do, but this bar/art gallery/performance arena/party goers haven was just too good not to get an entire write up of its own.
First, a few things you need to know:
- Fábrica de Arte Cubano means the ‘Cuban Art Factory: This place was a former cooking oil plant.
- It was founded by one of Cuba’s most respected and revered Afro-Cuban fusion musicians, X-Alfonso.
- The space has been restored and now promotes local Cuban artists, writers, photographers, intellectual, filmmakers and performers.
- It is only open from Thursday to Sunday, and is often jam-packed by 11 PM.
- It is the place to be if you want good music, delicious drinks and to dance until the wee hours of the morning.
Beautifully decorated with some of the most eye catching and intriguing art pieces on the wall, the Fábrica de Arte Cubano is just one of those places that seem to have it all figured out.
Not only does it cater for the music lover (there are various dance performances as well as some terrific salsa, reggae and typical club music) but the art factory also has deliciously affordable cocktails, some of the most original jewelry and graphic design pieces you will see on this side of the Caribbean as well as some of the most forward thinking locals this Island nation has to offer.
Why You Need to Go
To be honest, I would go back to Fabrica de Arte Cubano just for the house mojito. The jumbo sized 40-ouncer goes for only $10. And it is HUGE! I would also recommend the Mojito Frappe which is so frosty it will send a chill down your spine (which can be highly welcomed on a hot Caribbean night).
But, the main reason why you should pay Fábrica de Arte Cubano a visit is because of the unique experience you will have.
A huge factory building with meandering corridors that lead to different rooms where there are different surprises waiting for you as soon as you walk into them.
In one room, you will find a group of very well-dressed revelers bobbing away to some of the finest and latest hip hop music. In another, you will find a few dashing party goers learning how to dance the Salsa or the Tango at a level so finely tuned it belongs in a sophisticated ballroom.
In yet another room, you will find people sitting around enjoying delightful mojitos and holding thrilling conversations. Or, you might bump into a room with a house band playing some amazing Spanish music. There is even a cafe upstairs that serve some very delectable pastries.
All these rooms are connected by hallways that are filled with some of the finest Cuban art pieces in this corner of Havana. You will walk past sculptures, posters, art and even proposed architectural projects.
It’s like a visual candy store.
Simply put, Fabrica de Arte Cubano offers a delightful experience, no matter what your party-going style is. I am not a stay-up-all-night gal anymore and enjoyed the symphony that played in one of the center rooms.
Fabrica de Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory) is only open Thursdays through Sundays, from 8:00pm to 3:00am.
Even if you intend to go partying all night at the club, you should plan on showing up early to avoid the line that forms up later on in the evening (it gets really full around 11 PM and sometimes they freeze entry until the crowd has died down, which doesn’t always happen on a Saturday night!). So plan on getting there around 9 PM (for club lovers) or even earlier if you are serious about your art viewing before you really start to party.
TIP: Start your evening even earlier and catch dinner right next door at the trendy El Cocinero.
What about cover charges?
The overall cover charge is 2 CUC ($2). This applies whether you are going in for the art or for a night out in the bar. If you are going to spend the night dancing away, then you need to know one thing:
- At Fabrica de Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory) you will not get a check. Instead, your drink orders for the night will be tabulated on a little card that gets stamped every time you order anything. At the end of the night, you have to hand your card over to an attendant at the exit who tallies your bill and tells you what you need to pay. You need to be careful with your card though. If you lose it, you will get fined 30CUC ($30)!
You can check their website for the latest updates and calendar of happenings before you visit.
How to Get There
Fabrica de Arte Cubano is located at the corner of 11th and 26th streets in Vedado. It is near the Iron Bridge or Puente de Hierro as the locals call it. The best way to get there is to use a local Taxi. Which, if you are staying at the usual tourist’s location of Old Havana (La Habana Vieja), should cost you about $10 or 10 CUC.
. . . .
Fabrica de Arte was a delightful surprise and find in Cuba. You can spend your days driving vintage convertibles up and down the Cuban coast, smoking Cuban cigars as you enjoy the scenery and weather or you could explore the streets of La Habana Vieja taking in the colors and the history associated with this gorgeous island. When evening comes, get dressed, grab a taxi and head out to Fabrica de Arte Cubano.