Photo: El Floridita
Iconic Cuban fish restaurant and cocktail bar El Floridita, famed for its daiquiris and known as Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hangout in Havana, marked its 195th anniversary on Friday.
Located in Old Havana on the corner of Obispo and Monserrate streets, El Floridita bills itself as the “cradle of the daiquiri,” a cocktail consisting of white rum, lime juice and shaved ice that hundreds of tourists sample every day during their visit to one of this capital’s must-see attractions.
“Floridita is more than a bar,” manager Andres Arencibia told Efe Friday, recalling that the establishment opened its doors in 1817 with the name La Piña de Plata and has served numerous celebrities and dignitaries from the worlds of politics, literature, art, music and cinema over its 195-year history.
Hollywood stars Errol Flynn, Ava Gardner and Gary Cooper were among the illustrious customers of the establishment, which in 1953 was named one of the world’s seven most famous bars and in 1992 received the American Academy of Restaurant & Hospitality Sciences’ Best of the Best Five Star Diamond award for its daiquiris and seafood.
But the figure most associated with El Floridita undoubtedly was Hemingway, who stopped by the bar nearly every day during his long stays in Cuba over a 20-year period.
One of El Floridita’s best-loved frozen daiquiris, the “Papa Hemingway,” is named after the 1954 Nobel literature laureate. Served without sugar, it contains grapefruit juice, maraschino liqueur, lime juice and a double portion of rum.
“My daiquiri in El Floridita,” the famed American author (1899-1961) was fond of saying. His presence can still be felt thanks to a life-sized bronze statue at the wall-end of the bar that provides a popular photo opportunity for tourists.