El Floridita was author Ernest Hemingway's favourite bar in Havana. He drank often there and in great volume with Hollywood stars like Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, Ava Gardner, Tennessee Williams, and Spencer Tracy. Photos of the old times can be found on the walls.
The bar opened around 1910. It became "the home of the daiquiri" with the hiring of a master mixer bartender, Constantino Ribalaigua, in 1914. El Floridita, called "La
Florida" at the time, is where daiquiris as we know them were invented by Ribalaigua who was inspired by Hemingway's desire for a cool drink of rum and grapefruit juice .
A chain protects Papa Hemingway's old seat and a bronze statue of the author leans against the bar surveying the crowd. I found this kind of creepy--like drinking with a dead man.
The decor inside is rich in warm red and brown earthy colours, lots of wood trim; columns frame a painting of old Havana. The placed is unchanged since the 1930s; the waiters wear period red jackets and ties. The lights are dim and it is an extremely cozy place to sit and relax.
The doorman was very gracious, friendly, and helpful. It didn't take long to get our first daiquiris, but we had to wait for a long, long time to get our second ones. They were very expensive, $8 each. The bartenders seemed surly, people waited patiently to get their attention for another round.
Very historic, you have to do it. Papa's been waiting at the bar since 1961 for another round.
Do confirm 30 types of Daiquiri, the ones that we tried really delicious the most expensive cocktails that we had in Cuba - around €6 each...
the place was bit deserted though in the evening when the tourists flows were gone back to Varadero - specially in comparison to the other popular local bars.
While there's a lot of places to have a drink in Havana Old Town, its all very tame stuff and there's little excitement happens. The Floridita isn't much to get excited about but its the better of the 2 Hemmingway bars at least because its bigger than the other and also located nearer to Parque Central. There's a steady ebb and flow of people coming and going because it gets so many tourists, thus its always fairly busy. There's live music, very capable performers indeed. Of course every few songs someone from the band will circulate among the crowd looking to sell their CDs and then use that as opening to ask for some cash (this seems to be standard in Cuba).
Watch your change, at least one guy behind the bar is desparate to embrace capitalism at any cost.
I appreciate the historical connection this old Havana bar has to the world in regards to its association with famed author Ernest Hemingway. I've always liked finding cafes, plazas, and old hotels where famous historical figures spent time while in these various cities. Apparently old Hemingway enjoyed more than a few nights hanging out in El Floridita when he lived in Havana back in the 1950's. The bar has even placed a life sized monument depicting Hemingway at his usual spot at the corner of the bar. Most tourists find themselves embracing the bronze Hemingway like they were old pals out for a drink. The bar is old & probably hasn't changed a whole lot since the days of Hemingway. It's worth a visit, but if you go there for their famed Daquari's be prepared to shell out some good money. It's worth a look just to say you've been there, done that!
Dress Code: I don't think they'd turn away a paying customer.
Another place where Hemingway got drunk!! Home of the world famous Daikiri.
Calle Obispo, 557 in the corner of Monserrate, in Old Havana. Ph.: 63-1111, 63-1060.