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A live band performs before a small crowd at Emilia’s Havana.
Emilia’s Havana is hoping to interject Houston with more live music and cocktails — with a Latin flair.
Brian Kennedy

A Houston Storage Closet Has Transformed Into a Bossa Nova-Bumping, Cuban-Themed Speakeasy

Emilia’s Havana harkens back to Cuba in the 1950s, with moody lighting, live music, and cocktails by Houston’s James Beard Award-winning mixologist Alba Huerta

There’s a new watering hole in town, and it intends to transport you to the streets of Havana, Cuba.

Berg Hospitality Group, which opened the Annie Cafe & Bar, B&B Butcher’s & Restaurant, and more, has transformed a storage closet on Post Oak Boulevard into a Cuban-themed speakeasy.

A bartender walks in front of an illuminated bar with dozens of liquor bottles on the shelves at Emilia’s Havana.
Rum and other spirits are bountiful at Emilia’s Havana.
Brian Kennedy

Located next door to The Annie, Emilia’s Havana opened in late October, welcoming guests to its moody lounge with nightly live music performances, antique decorations, sparkling chandeliers that harken back to the 1950s, and a menu full of cocktails inspired by the Caribbean country.

A table at Emilia’s Havana filled with a mojito, a glass of wine, lobster corn empanadas, mojitos with a dipping sauce, potato chips with a dip topped with black caviar, wagyu truffle tartare, and more.
Emilia’s Havana’s seven-item bar menu includes decadent dishes like potato chips accompanied by caviar-topped dip, wagyu truffle tartare, and lobster corn empanadas.
Brian Kennedy

Alba Huerta, Houston’s James Beard Award-winning mixologist and owner of local cocktail bar Julep, has crafted the drinks menu, offering cocktails like mojitos; its Cuba Libre, a rendition of rum and coke made with 10-year-old Bacardi, Mexican Coca-Cola, and Lime; and a Hemingway, a combination of white rum, lime blend, grapefruit, Maraschino, and sugar that nods to the American author Ernest Hemingway who lived in Havana. The lounge also features a short list of rich bar bites, including lobster corn empanadas, a snapper and scallop ceviche, wagyu truffle tartare, and its $165 papas-and-caviar dish — potato chips topped with Meyer lemon mascarpone and the lounge’s brand of caviar.

Julep owner and mixologist and Berg Hospitality CEO Benjamin Berg hold up drinks in front of the bar at Emilia’s Havana.
Benjamin Berg tapped Julep owner and James Beard Award-winning mixologist Alba Huerta to create Emilia’s Cuban-themed cocktail menu.
Kirsten Gilliam

Benjamin Berg, the CEO and founder of Berg Hospitality, says he created the speakeasy-style lounge to expand the city’s live music offerings. “This is something I feel Houston is still really lacking,” Berg said in a written statement.

The experience comes at a hefty price. Berg notes that guests will pay “a premium” for their seats. With just two seatings a night starting at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., each reservation requires a $100 to $150 food and beverage minimum per person depending on the night, plus a $50 entertainment fee to compensate for the two-hour live music performance and a 22 percent service fee. Featured cocktails are priced at $30, and the seven menu items range from $32 to $165. Still, Berg is confident that the experience will be well worth it.

“I am positive that this is a space where everyone will be able to really let loose and enjoy that nostalgic Havana vibe and unique bossa nova style of music that most people have only seen in the movies,” he said.

A close-up shot of a pair of drums with the name, with a glimpse of Emilia’s in neon green on the wall in the background (at Emilia’s Havana).
Benjamin Berg says Emilia’s Havana is the answer to Houston’s lack of live music options.
Brian Kennedy

Emilia’s Havana is open from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Wednesday through Thursday, and 7 p.m. through 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations can be made online. 1800 Post Oak Blvd Suite 6170, 77056.

Emilia's Havana

1800 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 6170, Houston, TX 77056 Visit Website

The Annie

1800 Post Oak Boulevard, , TX 77056 (713) 804-1800 Visit Website

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