The Bar La Marquesina, just off the Teatro La Caridad, is a good bar, and it's open 24 hours daily. It usually draws a mix of college students, locals, and tourists; there's a small group that plays nightly. The open-air bar Europa, Boulevard and L. Estévez, offers great people-watching opportunities and a shady corner spot. With an artsy bohemian vibe, Club Mejunje, Calle Marta Abreu 12 (tel. 42/28-2572), is probably my favorite spot, featuring regular concerts, poetry readings, gay night on Saturday, and theater pieces put on in their brick-walled, open-air courtyard. Cover CUC$2.

Bar Club Boulevard, Independencia 225 between Maceo and Unión (tel. 42/21-6236), is the most upscale joint in Santa Clara (closed Mon). This Cubanacán property features live music, the occasional cabaret show, and a popular dance club.

Casa Mercy, E. Machado (S. Cristóbal) 4 between Cuba and Colón, offers cocktail hour on its terrace between 7 and 10:30pm, where you can choose from some 20 cocktails.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.