The Bars the Rich and Fa­mous Lo­ved

Excelencias Turísticas del caribe y las Américas - - Rutas / Routes -




Sin­ce 2018, Ha­va­na is the Ibe­ria­nA­me­ri­can Ca­pi­tal of Cock­tail, but this Won­der City, about to ce­le­bra­te its fifth cen­ten­nial, needs to rai­se the best drinks be­cau­se a ce­le­bra­tion li­ke that well deser­ves it. This ex­plains why the Ibe­ria­nA­me­ri­can Aca­demy of Gas­tro­nomy has de­ci­ded to keep this title for the city du­ring the on­going year, and a rea­son why the Ex­ce­len­cias Tra­vel Agency ta­kes on the ini­tia­ti­ve to in­vi­te you, dear rea­der, to un­ra­vel a rou­te en­titled "A Cock­tail for You" , re­la­ted to good drin­king -part of the idiosyn­crasy of this is­land na­tion's in­ha­bi­tants.

It is a grand tour that will bring up anec­do­tes, re­mem­bran­ces and cha­rac­ters re­la­ted to award-win­ning pre­pa­ra­tions. In ad­di­tion to swin­ging by flags­hip bars, "A Cock­tail for You" will ta­ke you to vi­sit the re­now­ned Mu­seum of Rum, whe­re you will be sur­pri­sed by a cock­tail-blen­ding class that co­mes to a clo­se with a sip­ping of it.

So, now that you are mo­re fa­mi­liar with the de­tails that ma­ke the­se spa­ces so spe­cial, we lea­ve you with a few cu­rio­si­ties lin­ked to world-class per­so­na­li­ties of li­te­ra­tu­re, mu­sic, pain­ting, thea­ter and the arts in ge­ne­ral.


On the cor­ner of Obis­po and Monserrate in Old Ha­va­na, the 1954 No­bel Pri­ze for Li­te­ra­tu­re, Er­nest He­ming­way, who arri­ved to Cu­ba for the first ti­me on April 1rst. in 1929, used to hang out for a mighty long ti­me. The­re, in what is con­si­de­red the ol­dest gastronomi­c res­tau­rant in Cu­ba and per­haps in La­tin Ame­ri­ca, the Ame­ri­can wri­ter en­jo­yed the fa­mous Pa­pa Dou­ble drink, ma­de with gra­pe­fruit and no su­gar to avoid ma­king his dia­be­tes wor­se, alt­hough the Dai­qui­ri was his fa­vo­ri­te.

Thanks to the bron­ze scul­ptu­re ma­de by José Vi­lla So­be­rón, who re­mem­bers the great He­ming­way, it seems that the aut­hor of The Old Man and the Sea still leans on the coun­ter of El Floridita, al­so very co­ve­ted by En­glish wri­ter Henry Graham Gree­ne, who after com­pa­ring it with the Wal­dorf As­to­ria, the Sa­voy in Lon­don, the Ame­ri­can in Pa­ris, among ot­her re­now­ned es­ta­blish­ments, said that this El Floridita is "the fi­nest bar on earth."


In Ha­va­na, He­ming­way al­so used to switch his li­festy­le bet­ween the Ho­tel Am­bos Mun­dos and La Bodeguita del Me­dio, whe­re he de­ligh­ted in the sig­na­tu­re drink of the hou­se: the Mo­ji­to. The­re, he wro­te in 1954, on the pa­ges of the res­tau­rant's book of dis­tin­guis­hed guests: "My Mo­ji­to in La Bodeguita, My Dai­qui­ri in El Floridita." But the charm that this pla­ce hin­ges on its clien­te­le, that al­so ma­de many ce­le­bri­ties stamp their sig­na­tu­re on the walls, right after jour­na­list Lean­dro Garcia did it for the first ti­me. It's the­re whe­re we meet with the ener­gies of Pablo Ne­ru­da, Agus­tín Lara, Bri­git­te Bar­dot, Ig­na­cio Vi­lla (Bo­la de Nie­ve) and Salvador Allen­de.


Tro­pi­ca­na is just about to turn eight de­ca­des, deser­vedly ca­lled a "Pa­ra­di­se un­der the Stars" and na­med "the most at­trac­ti­ve and sum­ptuous night­club in the world", a con­di­tion that has not lost be­cau­se its shows -the fifth es­sen­ce of the Cu­ban iden­tity- let us ta­ke a clo­ser look not only at the po­wer of mu­sic and dan­ce on the Is­land, but al­so at the un­dis­pu­ted beauty and sen­sua­lity of the peo­ple the is­lan­ders, and all that much hap­pens in a pla­ce hem­med in by a lush gar­den. Many of the na­tio­nal and in­ter­na­tio­nal stars that ha­ve sta­ged in its dazz­ling shows used to spend ti­me in the quie­ter spa­ce of the bar in the res­tau­rant's gar­dens, whe­re it was com­mon­pla­ce to ma­ke out the li­kes of Nat King Co­le, Jo­sep­hi­ne Ba­ker, Li­ber­tad La­mar­que, Cheo Fe­li­ciano, Ri­ta Montaner, Ele­na Bur­ke...


All the ce­le­bri­ties that ha­ve vi­si­ted the Na­tio­nal Ho­tel of Cu­ba over ti­me ha­ve been se­du­ced by its his­tory, the re­lics it trea­su­res, its im­pres­si­ve ar­chi­tec­tu­re. But al­so by the Bar Vis­ta al Gol­fo, who­se ex­qui­si­te de­co­ra­tion harks back to the 1950s. Al­so known as the "Hall of Fa­me", its walls are dec­ked out with pic­tu­res of tho­se who ha­ve drop­ped by the­re to en­joy awesome cock­tails: Wins­ton Chur­chill, Frank Si­na­tra, Ava Gard­ner, Johnny Weis­mu­ller, Ma­ria Fe­lix, Jor­ge Ne­gre­te, Mar­lon Bran­don, Ro­bert Red­ford , Mi­chael Kea­ton, Danny Glo­ver, Ro­bert de Ni­ro, Ste­ven Spiel­berg, Oli­ver Sto­ne, Fran­cis Ford Cop­po­la, Roman Po­lans­ki and even Ale­xan­der Flem­ming, the crea­tor of pe­ni­ci­llin.


The no­vel "Our Man in Ha­va­na", ta­ken to the big screen in 1959 by Alec Guin­ness in the lea­ding ro­le, re­fers to the bars and cock­tails that can be found in the Cu­ban ca­pi­tal. Yet the Sloppy Joe's was the one the Bri­tish ac­tor could re­mem­ber the most sin­ce it had be­co­me his fa­vo­ri­te han­gout in Ha­va­na. Ce­le­bri­ties such as bo­xer Su­gar Ray Ro­bin­son and Joe Louis, ac­tors Spen­cer Tracy, Clark Ga­ble and John Way­ne, just to men­tion a few, fo­llo­wed in his foots­teps back in the 1940s and 1950s. The pla­ce boas­ted a me­nu of 33 cock­tails ori­gi­nally mi­xed by lo­cal bar­man Fa­bio Del­ga­do, in­clu­ding the Sloppy Joe's drink.

La Bodeguita del Me­dio. Jar­di­nes de Tro­pi­ca­na. Sloppy Joe's.

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