Our last day in Havana was pretty action packed but we wanted to make the most of our last evening before moving into the country.
After a brief rest (read nap) we got ready and flagged down a taxi collectivo to take us to a restaurant for some dinner and drinks before seeing what all the fuss was about at the FAC.
The taxi ride was entertaining trying to give directions to someone who obviously couldn’t really understand what we were saying. Nonetheless we made it there and managed to talk the Australian guy on the desk into getting us a reservation.
El Cocinero is a trendy restaurant in the old smokestack of the boiler house for the Havana Tramway. It’s quirky and requires you to walk up a windy staircase to get the the restaurant level.
The ‘holding bar’ where you wait for your table is up another small staircase with amazing views over the surrounding neighbourhoods of Vedado and Miramar. There aim to is bring flavours of the world to Cuba with Cuban ingredients. I’d say they did a pretty good job.
We shared a cheese plate, some papas bravas, grilled chicken and a selection of sausages with a couple of cocktails to wash it all down.
After our fill of food we got ready to head over to Fábrica de Arte Cubano, the FAC. One of the up and coming places in Cuba it was filled with locals and a few tourists for the ride.
The FAC is basically a massive art gallery filled with all sorts of mediums of art where you grab a drink and wander round.
Now, the drinks, well, these were what you would call Cuban measures. I’ve never seen such a large quantity of rum verses the coke. I kid you not most British people would have been on the floor by the end! I couldn’t even manage to drink all of mine!
It does get busier as it gets later, if you’re not a fan of busy crowds then go early.
We worked our way round the gallery, looking at artwork, live action and music. It was great to get so close to the different exhibitions, especially as a lot of the guests were a little drunk. Unlike in most of Western Europe the Cubans weren’t vomiting everywhere and making fools of themselves but merely enjoying the atmosphere.
It’s a great experience and goes on well into the night. With a ticket system to pay for your drinks on exit it keeps the inside cashless.
We mooched around and then sat and watched some Cuban jazz while we finished off our drinks before grabbing a taxi home. They do check your bags on the way out, I assume in case you’ve nicked any of the artwork, but it wasn’t anything too strenuous.
There are loads of FAC approved taxi’s outside the main entrance. We managed to grab a lift in a Larda, which was pretty awesome, especially having seen so many of them in Uzbekistan.
The whole evening was great, with good music, good art and good cocktails! If you’re in Cuba and want to see how the locals do it (cringe) head to FAC. I’d highly highly recommend it as a good night out with a perfect balance of culture and fun!
That’s it for our time in Havana, from the old town to open top buses and all the cocktails in between. Havana is an overwhelming place full of colour, music and people. It has it’s problems, there are great gaps between those with money and those without but the spirit of Cubans always come through.
Our next adventure on this island was the town in Vinales. Prepare for tobacco fields, horse rides and some out of this world scenery!!