Visit Cuba, where to drink the best cocktails: Hemingway’s bars

Visiting Cuba means not only to see wonderful beaches, old buildings and monuments, but also to take a dip in history among 50 year old cars, tributes to Che, cigars and alcohol, in that continuous search for freedom and at the same time that melancholic taste, all while smoking a Cuban cigar and enjoying a cocktail sitting in some local with outdoor tables (here is the complete guide to Cuba).

A tour of Havana, the capital of Cuba, must include a visit to its clubs and bars, in search of authentic flavors and pieces of history. And besides Che Guevara there is a man who has indissolubly tied his name to this island, becoming an icon: Hernest Hemingway.

Hemingway’s Cuba
The American writer spent many years of his life in Cuba. He arrived there almost by chance in 1928 and fell in love with this island. He returned there again and again, so much so that he wanted to move there. He bought a house in 1940, Finca La Vigia, which has now become a museum (here is the information about Hemingway’s house), and it was within the walls of this large estate that he wrote some of his most famous works: For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea.

He also lived many years in a hotel, the Hotel Ambos Mundo, which is still open and active and preserves intact the room where the writer lived. After visiting the room, a stop at the hotel bar to enjoy a cocktail is a must. Just like Hemingway used to do.

The future Pulitzer Prize winner of 1953 loved to spend a lot of time of his days among the bars of Cuba. Two in particular were his favorites: La Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio. Bars that are still open and preserve the same cheerfulness described by Hemingway. At the Floridita there is a painting that preserves a note written in his own hand by Hemingway that reads: «My mojito at the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri at the Floridita».

It was Cuba that inspired the writer’s masterpieces. The Old Man and the Sea was born in La Terraza, a fisherman’s bar located in Cojimar a village just outside of Havana. Hemingway would moor his boat Pilar out front there and spend the day talking with the local fishermen. From these chats and these people were born the characters of Santiago and Manolo from The Old Man and the Sea. The place is now filled with photos of the writer and a painting dedicated to him.

The best cocktail bars in Cuba
La Floridita
It is a must for anyone visiting Havana. It is the place where you will taste the ‘best Daiquiri in the world’ as Hemingway defined it. This place has just turned 200 years old and for its anniversary has called the best bartenders in the world for an epic challenge to the best coctkail daiquiri.
The place is open from 11am to midnight and is often crowded with tourists.
Address: Obispo No.557 Esq. Monserrate, Old Havana

 

La Bodeguita del Medio
This is another of Cuba’s mandatory stops among bars. Here you can also taste traditional Cuban cuisine and it’s the right place to ask for a mojito. Inside, graffiti on the walls remind you of Hemingway who spent much of his time in this place.
The place is open from 12 noon to midnight.
Address: Calle Empedrado No. 206. Old Havana

Dos Hermanos bar
Another historic bar is Dos Hermanos, which retains the atmosphere of the 1930s. Leaning on its long wooden bar have followed characters of literature and cinema as Federico Garcia Lorca and Marlon Brando. This is the right place to taste one of the best rums in Cuba.
Open from 8 to 24
Address: Avenida del Puerto, No. 305 Esquina Sol

El Gato Tuerto
It is a jazz club, a historic bar that has kept its character intact and one of the places to spend Cuban nights. Here you can listen to the best music of Cuba.
It is good to arrive early: after 11pm it is impossible to find a free table!
Address: Calle O No. 14, entre las calles 17 y 19, Vedado

Taberna de La Muralla
Forget the past in this new bar that has quickly become one of the best for the beers it offers, the service and the view of the square.
Open from 12pm to 11pm.
Address: Calle San Igancio, esquina Muralla, Plaza Vieja

 

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