Sloppy Joe’s Bar

CA4
Style of place: Traditional Bar
Ambience
Popularity
Entertainment
Service
Best for: Immense original bar lovingly restored. Good service, History.
Worst for: Not quite grimy enough to have much atmosphere. Too clean.
Ánimas, esq. Zulueta La Habana Vieja
(+53)7866 - 7157
  • 6pm is Sloppy Joe cocktail hour again at the original Sloppy Joe’s saloon, an iconic Cuban bar that reopened Friday April 12, 2013 after a nearly 50-year break in its original location. The restoration, undertaken by the office of the Historian of Havana, began in 2007 has sought to restore the dilapidated building as faithfully as possible, from the outside façade down to the delicate plaster molding, dark wood paneling and colorful bottles of alcohol displayed behind glass. Parts of the dark mahogany bar, once reputedly the longest in Latin America at about 59 feet (18 meters) have even been preserved and restored to splendor. ‘What interests me is to work to restore to my city, to our city, a whole series of things that form part of its memory. … To restore Sloppy Joe’s is to return to Havana the place where artists, baseball players, tourists all met…the final objective is not commercial, it’s not to exploit a name. The opportunity it brings is to recover an important memory of Havana,’

    Eusebio Leal, Head of the Historian of Havana’s office. So – what’s it like? This is a large bar with plenty of space, which has been lovingly restored. This seems like a flagship place for the City Historian’s office and they have done a great job. Whether it manages to develop its own ambience will remain to be seen – it is a little bright and chilled for us but maybe that is no bad thing.

    Service was great (although we are still in opening weeks so who knows!) with waiters in black and orange shirts being attentive and friendly. You should try the Sloppy Joe cocktail, a cool, refreshing blend of brandy, port and Cointreau, with a fruity pineapple finish. The menu looks like pretty standard fare (and not cheap) with cerviche and marinated shrimps being good but not spectacular.

    Sloppy Joe’s will undoubtedly join El Bodeguita del Medio and El Floridita on the must see tourist trail. This encourages a rapid turnover of one off visitors, which is not everyone’s cup of tea but does typically engender an up beat vibe.

    History Sloppy Joe’s Bar was a historic bar located in Havana, Cuba. The advent of Prohibition in the United States spurred its original owner, Jose Garcia Abeal, to change the emphasis from food service to liquor service when American tourists would visit Havana for the nightlife, the gambling and the alcohol they could not obtain back home. Sloppy Joe’s welcomed tourists for over four decades, and offered over 80 cocktails in addition to the bar’s own brand of 12 year old rum. During the 1940s and 1950s it became a favorite haunt of American tourists and film stars like John Wayne, Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable as well as tourists wanting to mingle with them. It was for a time one of the most famous bars in the world. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 saw the American clientele hightail out of Cuba and soon thereafter the bar was nationalized. Over the next few years it languished until a fire in 1965 closed the establishment for good.

    
  • Café Jazz Miramar

    Café Jazz Miramar  LH 5-

    This new jazz club has quickly established itself as one of the very best places to hear some of Cuba’s best musicians jamming. Forget about smoke filled lounges, this is clean, bright – take the fags …

    Café Cantante Mi Habana

    Café Cantante Mi Habana  LH 4

    What Café Cantante lacks in comfort and service (especially from the doormen) it more than makes up for in the quality of the artists which play there and the busy atmosphere. Afternoon shows feature …

    Parisién Cabaret

    Parisién Cabaret  LH 4

    The Parisién is located within the Hotel Nacional and benefits from the same rich history. The show is on a much smaller scale than the Tropicana with much fewer dancers, which makes it more intimate …

    La Campana

    La Campana  LH 4+

    Chill out bar and grill, La Campana seems at first glance more an upmarket homestead finca (farm) than anything else. This is an upmarket ranchón beside a nice pool. The tables are comfortable and wel …

    El Mesón de la Flota

    El Mesón de la Flota  LH 4

    The Meson de la Flota is the quintessential tavern. Relatively dark inside and with a great flamenco band, which is basically headquartered here, this makes for a good intimate atmosphere. You do need …

    Melia Habana Sports Bar

    Melia Habana Sports Bar  LH 4+

    Opened early in 2013 this represents a creative leap of thought by the management of the Melia Hotel. Out with the Brazilian outdoor restaurant and in with the uber modern sports bar with big screen T …

    Bohemio Bar

    Bohemio Bar  LH 5

    Bar Bohemio is more of a Bohemian style café than bar, owned and managed by ex-ballerinas from the National Ballet company. This is an extremely comfortable and warm place with great music, which make …

    Salón Rosado de la Tropical

    Salón Rosado de la Tropical  LH 5-

    This was once known as the legendary beer garden where Arsenio tore it up in the 40s. It is still a big part of the live music scene today for large concerts, parties and other special events, which b …

    Casa de la Música de Miramar

    Casa de la Música de Miramar  LH 4

    The Miramar house of music has been a mainstay for the very best salsa bands for many years now. It is an absolute must if you have any interest in salsa. It is housed in a beautiful old Havana mansio …

    Il Divino

    Il Divino  LH 5

    Il Divino gets our vote as the absolutely best place to eat in Havana with the family at the weekend. 6 stars out of 5. Simply brilliant, superlatives trip off the tongue. The place is huge with plent …

    « 3 of 8 pages »