The Ultimate Caribbean Nightclub Gets a Well-Deserved Revival

Behind these doors? A time machine to Havana, circa 1960s.

By The Editors
April 11, 2017 9:00 am

Save for rain, it’s warming up out there.

So, too, your date nights.

You can thank La Havana Madrid, the immersive new theater experience that reimagines a famous Caribbean nightclub circa 1960s Chicago.

Below, your blueprint for doing it up right.

Step One: La Cena
Chances are you’ve already visited El Che, from chef John Manion. The West Loop spot has been serving up exceptional Argentinian cuisine since late last year. But chances are you haven’t experienced it like this: the newly launched Chef’s Counter service, which is only taking reservations for a maximum of two guests an evening. How convenient. The dinner not only gets you and yours the best seat in the house — right in front of the open hearth — but also a five-course chef’s tasting menu and optional drink pairings. You’ll wanna contact El Che directly for reservations.

El Che, 845 W. Washington (map),

Step Two: La Obra
After dinner, hop into the ride-share of your choice and head straight down Halsted. Latino theater company Teatro Vista is turning Steppenwolf’s new 1700 Theatre into a 1960s nightclub for its production of La Havana Madrid. The new show — written and starring longtime Chicago stage player Sandra Delgado — follows the stories of immigrant Latinos who frequented La Havana Madrid, a real-life nightclub located on Belmont and Sheffield in Lakeview that closed in the ‘60s. One part documentary, one part immersive theater, the show is set within the confines of the legendary club, with live music from legendary Colombian-American musician Roberto “Carpacho” Marin and his band. Your tickets await.

Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted (map),

Photo: Aaron Weinstein

Step Three: La Copa
You may have noticed a bar on your way in. Opened by Steppenwolf last summer with a helping hand from the folks at Boka Restaurant Group, the Front Bar was made for exactly these moments: a quiet, sophisticated spot for pre- or post-show drinks. Given the night’s theme, go for the Marcus, a concoction of El Dorado rum, Brinley coconut cream, vanilla and lime. 

The Front Bar, 1700 N. Halsted (map),


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