From packed nightclubs to family restaurants, there’s no shortage of places to hear live Latin music in South Florida
From South Beach north to the Palm Beaches, South Florida is home to a treasure trove of clubs, bars, restaurants, cafés, and community spaces that regularly host live Latin music of all styles, genres, and energy levels. Whether you want to dance salsa all night long or quietly sip a mojito while listening to your favorite bolero songs, there’s a spot for you in this list of South Florida’s best places to hear live Latin music:
Mango’s Tropical Café South Beach
900 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
From lunchtime until 5 a.m., Mango’s Tropical Café South Beach keeps the party going on Miami’s South Beach with live Latin musicians performing a variety of styles, including guaracha, rumba, and bolero in a Mango’s tribute to beloved Cuban-American singer Celia Cruz. Singers and dancers in brightly colored, feathered costumes inspire you to stand up and shake your hips along to the rhythm during the nightclub’s dinner and show, beginning at 8 p.m. each night.
This popular event series features live Brazilian samba, Cuban conga, and Latin beats from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and today, along with cocktails like the la bomba martini and a full dinner menu. Book your table at least a day in advance, or risk missing out on this non-stop celebration.
Ball & Chain
1513 S.W. 8th St., Little Havana
The iconic jazz club of the 1930s roars on today in its prime Miami location along Little Havana’s historic thoroughfare Calle Ocho. Each day of the week from 6-9 p.m., renowned percussionist Miguel Cruz performs on the congas, timbales, and bongos for Ball & Chain audiences. Cruz is a Miami native who spent some time performing with Latin funk and rock group Changó, played the Hollywood Bowl leading his Afro-Cuban group Skins, and headlined Mango’s Tropical Café for several years.
Cruz’s performance follows a six-hour set from the Ball & Chain Trio, who begin at noon. No matter what time you end up arriving at Ball & Chain, you’ll hear contemporary Latin sounds infused with salsa, jazz, and time-honored Cuban styles.
The Doral Yard
8455 NW 53rd St. Suite 106, Doral
This community gathering space is located about 15 miles northeast of downtown Miami in the heart of Doral. The Doral Yard regularly hosts live Latin music in its Backyard, an outdoor entertainment and culinary space that also features Barbakoa by Finka, a restaurant serving up coal-fired Asian twists on Latin classics.
Each Thursday through Sunday evening, acts like the all-female salsa group MulataSon or Cortadito, who performs traditional Cuban music of the early twentieth century, play live for audiences of all ages. If you feel like exploring the Doral Yard’s grounds in between sets of live music, check out The Hub, an indoor space home to a mini-food hall, a full bar, and event and co-working spaces.
Café La Trova
971 SW 8th St., Miami
Little Havana’s Café La Trova, named one of the world’s 50 best bars this year, highlights trova, a style of guitar-led Cuban music that originated among bohemian musicians who wandered the streets of Santiago de Cuba playing their songs. Led by founder Julio Cabrera, the café’s cantineros uphold a classic Cuban style of bartending, donning smart dinner jackets, and matching the musicians’ rhythms by performing acrobatic acts with shakers and strainers.
James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein whips up reimagined Cuban classics like focaccia lechon sliders and skirt steak ropa vieja for customers who often stay an hour or more after they’ve finished eating to sing and dance along with the trova musicians.
1926 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
Located only about 20 miles north of downtown Miami, this bar and nightclub in Hollywood boasts live Latin music each weekend, starting on Thursdays for Vallenato Nights celebrating Colombian folk rhythms. Tekila keeps the rhythms blasting for Live Fridays, Party Saturdays, and Domingo Tropical Urbano, when a rotating cast of live Latin musicians play a mix of classic Caribbean music and today’s hits.
It just so happens that Tekila also hosts happy hour from 3-9 p.m. each Thursday through Sunday, so guests can dance all night long fueled by rainbow-colored shots and Columbia’s sweet and spicy aguardiente antioqueño.
Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center
1465 SW 8th St. Suite 106, Little Havana
Salsa lovers know that one of the best places to dance salsa in South Florida is the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center, located in the heart of Little Havana on Calle Ocho. The cultural center also attracts passersby with the sounds of its true descargas, Latin jam sessions featuring some of South Florida’s most legendary jazz musicians. Not in the mood to dance? Cubaocho is also home to a large collection of Cuban art from the 19th and 20th century, a research library, and a café, which prides itself on its varied selection of rums.
Delicias de la Abuela
This women-owned, family restaurant with locations in both Royal Palm Beach and West Palm Beach (among others) pairs Colombian-inspired Latin cuisine with performances of a broad range of Latin genres from singers, guitarists, keyboardists, saxophonists, and percussionists on the bongo, conga, and timbales.
Depending on when you visit a Delicias de la Abuela location, you may hear classic bolero, Colombian cumbia, bachata, or smooth Caribbean rhythms. When you’ve worked up an appetite from dancing, Abuela’s homemade Colombian platter will recharge you with grilled steak, Colombian sausage, pork skin, and sweet plantains.