By far the best nightclub for live contemporary Latin music—from rock and jazz to salsa and merengue—is Nuyorican Café (312 Calle San Francisco, Old San Juan, 787/977-1276, Tues.–Wed. 7 p.m.–3 a.m., Thurs.–Sun. 7 p.m.–5 a.m., free every night except $5 Fri., full bar). Don’t bother looking for a sign; there isn’t one. Just look for a gaggle of club-goers clustered around a side door down Capilla alley, which connects Calle San Francisco and Calle Fortaleza.
Primarily a locals’ place, although tourists are welcome, this casual music-lovers’ club packs in a young bohemian crowd, especially on weekends when the tiny dance floor gets jammed. The kitchen serves a limited menu of Puerto Rican cuisine until midnight. The music usually starts around 11 p.m.
There’s no direct link between this café and New York City’s Nuyorican Poets Café, which was and still is the epicenter of the Nuyorican movement, although the name is a nod to the club in New York City.