By: Shayne Benowitz
Dance the night away at these spicy salsa dancing hotspots.
Miami is particularly alluring to travelers because of it’s sultry Latin culture. And there’s no better way to experience it firsthand than at a sizzling Latin dance club.
Options for salsa dancing and music abound no matter what you’re looking for―whether it be lessons, a performance or to join in the action.
Ball & Chain in Little Havana
The historic Ball & Chain bar and music venue was revived in 2014 after sitting dormant for decades. Famous for performances by Count Basie, Billie Holiday and Chet Baker in the 1950s, the Ball & Chain is back. Reviving the nightlife scene on Calle Ocho, the venue is designed in a sexy, wood-paneled setting with green leather banquettes and palm fronds reminiscent of its heyday. Live music is once again the focal point with acts ranging from Latin house party DJ sets to salsa lessons and competitions to live jazz sets by local bands like Palo! The joint also serves a tempting tapas menu and craft cocktails created by Cuban mixology impresario Julio Cabrera.
Hoy Como Ayer in Little Havana
Hoy Como Ayer in Little Havana is a destination for authentic Cuban music, drinks and, of course, dancing. If names like Celia Cruz and Benny More don’t ring a bell, then you’ll get an education in the Cuban music greats here. Go on Thursday night for the Fuacata! party when local favorites, The Spam Allstars, perform their unique blend of Latin funk. Fun fact: the movie, Chef, starring Jon Favreau and Sofia Vergara filmed a scene here.
CubaOcho in Little Havana
Part-research center and art gallery, part-rum bar with live music, CubaOcho is a true Little Havana treasure. During the day, explore the collection of antique artwork and furniture from 1850-1958 and ask the owner to show you pieces formerly owned by Frank Sinatra. It’s a place for locals to congregate day and night over cigars in the outdoor courtyard, and to sip rum from the wooden bar (arguably the most extensive rum bar in Miami). Weekend evenings come alive with live music ranging from jazz to salsa and everything in between. Cut a rug or watch the locals shimmy in this intimate setting.
YUCA 501 on South Beach
YUCA, an acronym for “Young Urban Cuban-Americans,” serves up contemporary Cuban and Nuevo Latino dishes downstairs and on the sidewalk at this Lincoln Road restaurant. The upstairs ballroom is the location for salsa lessons on Wednesday and Friday nights starting at 7:30 p.m. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking passersby on Lincoln Road and the Miami night sky, it’s an inspiring setting to test your salsa skills. Expect live music or a DJ and stick around after your lesson to work on your moves in a festive atmosphere.
Salsa Mia on South Beach
Salsa Mia runs the show with a two-hour class for all levels, followed by an hour of practice for $40 per person. Make a night of it on Fridays when the Salsa Nightclub takes over at 11 p.m. and the pros come out to shake their hips and spin to live music and a DJ. The atmosphere is friendly and inviting whether you choose to grab a partner and show off your own moves or simply want to watch others while sipping a mango mojito.
La Covacha in Doral
In Doral, La Covacha is a local spot with great Latin music ranging from salsa and merengue to house and even disco. The welcoming backyard, tiki-style bar draws a crowd ready to move on the dance floor. And with a little luck, you’ll be a part of it!
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