5 things you need to know about Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre's architecture and scene make it a unique stop on the Atlantic City nightlife parade.

1 Cuba Libre, the old-time Havana-styled restaurant chain with locations in Orlando, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, opened in the Tropicana Casino and Resort's The Quarter in 2004. The two-story venue is the signature destination of the casino's entertainment and shopping section, fitting seamlessly into the early-20th century Cuban courtyard theme with its tiled floors, faux-brick and pastel stucco walls, and abundant tropical flora. It is an impressive piece of architecture, with a high-ceilinged main room on the first floor, a club on the second floor and two outdoor balconies. It also is an all-around attractive location, with fabulous food, drinks and energetic nightlife.

2 The downstairs dance floor is where the venue's truly zesty enthusiasm is on full display. It's there that professional Latin dancers wow the crowd with their steps, twists and flair, all to the sounds of likewise authentic vocalists and instrumentalists. The "Late Night Latin Floorshows" begin after dinner Fridays and Saturdays, but all the fun isn't reserved for the performers. After and in-between their displays, anyone is welcome to salsa their own way over and enjoy the variety of merengue, bachata, Latin house and tropical dance music played by the resident and guest DJs every weekend from the balcony above.

3 Did you know the U.S., USSR and Cuba settled the Cuban Missile Crisis by trading shots of whiskey, vodka and rum? That's totally not true, but you could potentially use that line at the upstairs Missile Bar. A more traditional nightclub experience, it's where to find the latest pop, hip-hop, mash-up and electronic dance music on "Fuel Up!" Fridays and "Set It Off!" Saturdays. A reference to when the world stood on the brink of nuclear disintegration, the bar's 20-foot replica rocket and pictures explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis are a reminder to live it up like you might not get tomorrow.

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4 When in Cuba ...The restaurant has an amazing drink menu, with all sorts of exotic mojitos, cocktails, sangria and more than 70 top-notch rums. There's also a selection of fruit-loaded cachaca, a liquor made from fresh sugarcane, and pisco, a brandy made from grapes. The restaurant's best known for its mojitos, though, which are extra special because of the freshly made guarapo, which is freshly pressed sugar cane juice, and hierba buena, an herb similar to mint.

5 Any weekend is packed and exciting at the bar, but there are plenty of ways to customize your experience. Bottle service and private reservations for parties from 15 to 400 can be accommodated by emailing info@cubalibrerestaurant.com or calling 609-576-7981.

The Scene

Heard on a Saturday night: Downstairs, a steady mix of salsa and merengue music had professionals and the public working their waists and hips. Upstairs, the smoothest vocal house music mixed with the latest party pop played from midnight to near dawn.

Scene at midnight: A mostly Hispanic crowd, some as young as 21 and others in their 60s, partnered up on the first floor or lounged at the tables assembled throughout. Surrounding the Missile Bar, a more diverse and younger group mixed it up on the dance floor, smoked cigarettes on the balconies or chilled out on bar stools.

What They're Saying

Corinne Handy, 26, Laurel Springs

"Easily my favorite club in Atlantic City. I've been coming for years and just love everything about it."

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