IN THE SPOTLIGHT: MUSIC HOTSPOTS

Place: Club Havana, Location: Caribbean Plaza, Known for: Cigars and live music

At least once a month, visitors ask me where they can find some live music. Thankfully, some of Cayman’s resorts regularly highlight local talent from the Seven Mile Strip to East End.

There aren’t that many indoor venues, however, that can accommodate a full band. The Lodge is one spot and Club Havana in Caribbean Plaza is another.

Back in my younger days, when I sang with a band myself, Legendz in Cayman Falls was known for its live bands. There was also a club upstairs in Treasure Island, now Margaritaville Resort, that had a really big stage. International and local acts performed there regularly.

Unfortunately, over time, these stages have dwindled and it is difficult to locate an indoor venue with the capacity (and willingness) to accommodate bands of more than three pieces.

About two months ago, Club Havana started up its Saturday night series of live music, running from 9pm-midnight every week. Bands such as Sugardaddi, Local Motion 345 and Deja Blu have all taken a turn in the rotation, pumping out great music for their fans to dance to.

On the night I went along to check Club Havana out, Deja Blu was playing. The first floor of the club is on the second floor of the building, if that makes sense, and you can access it via stairs or by the elevator. I remember thinking how lucky the bands had it, being able to put their gear in an elevator. I had a Monty Python moment – ‘… in MY day, we would have DREAMED of having stairs…’ – recalling carrying speakers and other gear up the back stairs of Obar.

Even in the very muted lighting, the primary tropical colours of the décor stand out a mile. Havana, Cuba isn’t known for its dull greys, browns and blacks and neither is Club Havana.

The band was already on the stage, playing up a storm – a rocking six-piece with a full drum kit, easily able to fit in the room with plenty of space left for a dance floor. A group of ladies were cutting a rug while others sat in the comfy lounge chairs, just enjoying the music. What a great setup!

Take the stairs from the first level up to the second, and you’ll find yet another lounge featuring a grand piano where none other than master of the ivories, Benji Turner, sits every Wednesday night. Called ‘Acoustic Sessions’, the evening is led by Turner who is often joined by a crew of other talented local musicians. They jam the hours away from 9pm-2am. Even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, you are welcome to pull up a chair to the piano
itself and just lose yourself in the vibe.

The happy hour prices from 4-11pm don’t hurt either.

By the time I was leaving that night, I was determined to go to Club Havana more often. For those who found its predecessor in Regency Court way too smoky (as it is a cigar bar), I am happy to report that it is not the case at this location. At least, it wasn’t when I was there.

We should all be supporting these types of venues and their commitment to promoting live music. There are lots of bands itching to play and they don’t get the opportunity to do so as much as they’d like.

See you at Club Havana!