When you are getting sick of salsa or jaded by jazz, the Beatles come to the rescue! Leave 1950s revolutionary nostalgia behind and fast forward to the next decade, the swinging 60s and 70s. Often cited in top ten lists of Cuban nightlife, the Beatles' themed Submarino Amarillo (Yellow Submarine) bar is popular with local habaneros and habaneras and, increasingly, foreign visitors as well.
The Beatles were originally banned by Castro in 1964. The revolutionary government thought the four lads from Merseyside epitomised mindless Western consumerism. In the way of prohibition, the inaccessible became all the more desirable and Cubans eager to experience this global phenomenon had to rely on smuggled vinyl's. Cubans' enthusiasm for the Beatles always existed in the background and has never really waned. Proof of this is this very venue we'll go on to describe in more detail.
Having opened in 2011, Havana's Submarino Amarillo has proved massively popular among locals who often queue up to catch a performance. The walls of the Submarino Amarillo are plastered with tastefully designed murals featuring song lyrics and pictures of John, Paul, George and Ringo and plenty of Beatles memorabilia. The nightly live bands and DJs play a mix of American pop/rock, Latin rock and of course, The Fab Four. You won't hear an African-influenced 5-beat here. Everything is in 4/4 time and falls into some sub-category of rock. Based at Submarino Amarillo, local bands, such as Los Kents -a group you should come to listen to- have been fighting a valiant rebellion in favour of rock and heavy metal.
Cheap and cheerful
This bar is aimed more at the local public than tourists but is becoming more and more popular among the latter - on some nights you might even find queues outside. The entrance charge depends on the night's entertainment, but is typically around $2.50CUC. Drinks and beers are cheap compared to hotel bars. You can get a bottle of rum served at your table for as little as $9.
The place doesn't really get going until nighttime, wiht most live performances kicking off at 9 PM, although there are occassional live acts on some afternoons (particularly on weekends). Regardless of the time of day or the day of the week you visit you are guaranteed cheap drinks and good music, it really sets the mood for rocking!
Most afternoons on weekdays are laidback, featuring a tapas menus and playing Beatles songs in the background. The venue is non-smoking.
You'll find Submarino Amarillo located close to the park where the bronze statue of Lennon was unveiled by Fidel Castro himself (to the strains of "All You Need Is Love", of course) in 2000 on the 20th anniversary of the former Beatle's murder. On the occasion, Castro explained his change of heart by saying "I share his dreams completely. I am too a dreamer who has seen his dreams turn into reality".
Submarino Amarillo sits in the Vedado neighbourhood, right next to the Parque Lennon, on the corner of Calle 17 and Calle 6.
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