Sloppy Joe´s Bar is one of the most emblematic attractions in this Old Havana. Its genesis dates back to the 20’s, 1917 exactly, and it reached its peak in the middle of the so-called Prohibition period in the United States (1920 – 1933). This period turned Cuba into the destination par excellence of American tourism, which sought eagerly for drinking at ease.
Since the beginning, Sloppy Joe´s Bar stood out among the establishments of its kind and ended up being a place of reference due to the constant inflow of wealthy and famous characters. Among them we can highlight Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Ernest Hemingway or Nat King Cole.
It was also meeting point for most of Cuban intellectual elite of the time; it is known that Eliseo Diego, Cintio Vitier and Alejo Carpentier, just to mention some, were frequent visitors.
The Bar was nationalized when the Cuban revolution triumphed, afterwards it remains closed for over 50 years. From 1965 till 2013 the mythical bar was closed. It was reopened in 2013, after a thorough restoration process that took into account most of its traditional elements. Table disposition, stool design, some drinks, its broad sandwiches list, and, above all, its bar counter, remain just like the original ones.
The bar counter is, precisely, one of its best assets, being an 18 meters long black mahogany accessory, on which elevated choreographic work is produced during the conception of every cocktail, which was immortalized in the British 1959 movie “Our Man in Havana”.
Sloppy Joe´s Bar’s reopening was a remarkable fact and “not only because of its gastronomy, but also because of its historic significance for tourism, which is a cultural action. For those who come from all over the world, is also the recovery of Havana’s memory, the magnificence of this big arched buildings, of the city of wideness”, according to the words of Eusebio Leal, City Historian.
Sloppy Joe´s transcends today because of its good drinks and the nice environment that always summons the visitor but, above all things, this bar eternizes for that exclusive connection that proposes with the past, with XX century Cuba, with the essence and rhythms of the Pearl of the Caribbean. Visit it at Zulueta 52, between Animas and Virtudes. Old Havana.