File - The Cuban capital is seeing a boom in stylish, privately run bars and clubs.
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It's Saturday night at El Cocinero, a chic rooftop bar that has arguably become Havana's hippest watering hole in the year since it opened, and there's no getting in without a reservation.Havana is seeing a boom in stylish, privately run bars and clubs like El Cocinero, evidence of a small but growing class of relatively affluent artists, musicians and entrepreneurs on an island where many people earn about $20 a month and depend on subsidized food, housing and transport to get by.Cuba's nouveau riche are coming out of the woodwork, if not quite flaunting their personal wealth.Then there's the art-world elite, which historically has been a core part of Cuba's monied class. An artist who sells a single painting for a few thousand dollars or a musician who performs on an overseas tour is already earning hundreds of times what most Cubans make.It's on the bar circuit that Cuba's Yuppies are most visible.Artists and intellectuals abound at places like El Cocinero and the Fabrica de Arte Cubana next door, opened last month by renowned musician X Alfonso as a combination gallery, concert hall and bar with a $2 cover.
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