NIGHT WATCH: Salsa Nights at Havana Club

Boston's club scene, one party at a time


Fridays and Saturdays at Havana Club, 288 Green St., Cambridge. Lessons at 9 p.m., dance party from 10-2 a.m. Tickets: $12 on DJ nights, $15 with live band. Admission includes lesson and coat check. 21+. 617-312-5550, www.havanaclubsalsa.com.

The deal: Havana Club turns up the heat Friday and Saturday nights with salsa, cha-cha, and merengue. Though the real party starts at 10, there is a lesson hosted by the Giraldo brothers from 9 to 10 p.m. After a brief warm up, attendees break into beginner and intermediate groups. Johnny Giraldo and wife Felicita were married in 2005 at the club and teach the beginners. “Johnny is a Latin Patrick Swayze, if you will,’’ says Jeff Robinson, the club president. “There are a lot of new people who just goofball it up and have fun while they’re learning.’’ Come 10 p.m., the crowd swells to more than 300 people dancing on Havana’s 5,400-square-foot dance floor.


The DJ: Tomorrow night, Havana will host a live performance by Javier Arroyo and the Salsa Night band. “They’re really good. They have a lot of different layers and textures. We call it sabor [which means flavor],’’ says Robinson.

Who goes there: People are anywhere from 21 to 80. Half the people are new, half regulars. “It’s a cool, classy group of people,’’ says Robinson.

What you’ll hear: Mostly salsa, with a sprinkle of cha-cha and merengue. Another popular hit is the New Swing Sextet’s “My Favorite Things.’’ According to Robinson, “It’s a salsa version of the popular song that tends to take people back to their childhood.’’

The tip: “There’s a municipal parking garage literally next door, so even if it rains or snows, [the club] is very accessible and always packed,’’ says Robinson.