Havana Central at The West End
- See also Wikipedia's article about "West End Bar".
Havana Central at The West End was a bar on Broadway between 113th and 114th St. It closed in May 2014 and was replaced by a somewhat-expensive beer hall, Bernheim and Schwartz, later that fall.
It used to be a legendary student hang-out called The West End, whose clients included the likes of Beat Generation writers Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, as well as later Columbians like Barack Obama and Lauryn Hill. Ginsberg called it "a university replica of a Greenwich Village dive". Diana Trilling, Lionel Trilling's wife, called it "that dim waystation of undergraduate debauchery on Morningside Heights". 2006 Bwog noted the "transformation from quasi-literary drunk freshman hotspot into Cuban pleasure palace".
Then, in spring 2006, it was bought by the Havana Central chain and converted into a Cuban restaurant/bar over the summer. Many people were sad to see The West End close because it was a long time hangout popular for alumni visiting the area. Additionally, underagers are now not allowed to freely wander in and drink. This can now be done at The Abbey or the Heights.
People have mixed opinions about the new Cuban restaurant. The food isn't great, but it's edible and reasonably priced. The Cuban sandwich at Cafe con Leche is preferable. The atmosphere is vibrant on nights when the live music is playing.
Wednesday nights is Senior Night from 10 to close with cheap drink specials for Columbia students. There's also a Beat Night, with poetry readings, at some point in the year, to honor the restaurant's former clientele.
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