Best Bar to Inspire Conversation - 2010
Radio Habana Social Club
This tiny bar is chock-full of wonderfully weird conversation pieces, and its close quarters and warm-glow lighting make it easy to strike up a chat with just about anybody. Sip sangria and nibble on a tamale while you contemplate the plastic doll with a revolver for a head and a clown riding on its back, which hangs like a freaky mobile from the ceiling. What does that symbolize, exactly? Is that a crutch or an assault weapon on the wall? Why is Baby Jesus holding the hand of Chucky's girlfriend? Barbie, is that you, with a ferret pelt instead of plastic legs? These creations that mix "surrealism with cruelty," Dalí with Dada, spring from the mind of spry Cuban co-owner Victor Navarrete, who constantly trawls secondhand shops for trinkets to update the pieces in this museum of the bizarre. The former poster printer in revolutionary Cuba says artistic aspirations trump his business ones: "I'm interested in art more than selling," he says from under his trademark pageboy cap and trim mustache. "But you have to pay the rent."