El Floridita Bar and Restaurant

Situated in old town Havana, El Floridita is a bar with an intriguing past full of fascinating stories. It first opened its doors way back in 1817, originally calling itself 'La Pina de Plata.' But after becoming a popular haunt with American expats and tourists it had a change of name - El Floridita, which translates as 'Little Florida'.

El Floridita certainly has its fair share of tales to tell. In 1914, Spanish immigrant Constantino Ribalaaigua Vert took up position as a bartender here before eventually going to be the owner in 1918, and it’s Constantino who is regarded as the creator of the frozen daiquiri. As a result, the bar proudly calls itself “the cradle of the Daiquiri” and has gained quite the reputation for serving up a seriously good cocktails.

Perhaps even more fascinating is the fact Ernest Hemmingway was a frequent patron of El Floridita. The story goes that he once managed to sink 13 double Daiquiri in one sitting here. An impressive feat few would be willing to replicate. Hemmingway ended up living in Cuba for 20 years and classed the bar as his absolute favourite. In fact, for several years during the 1930’s, he occupied a hotel room just a short stroll away.

As you might expect, El Floridita is something of a shrine to Hemmingway. Various items of memorabilia are on display including photographs and an impressive bronze bust that stands perched against the far end of the bar. A reminder, if it were needed, of this establishments most illustrious, daiquiri-loving customer.

These days, tourists flock here from around the world. The rich history of El Floridita is obviously a major draw and the faded charm that’s been preserved here gives you a real sense of its colourful past. But it’s worth turning up just to sample the legendary cocktails produced by its expert mixologists. The prices are a little higher than other local establishments, but in a place with so much character spending a little extra feels justified.

Also serving as a restaurant, El Floridita specialises in serving up a range of beautiful seafood dishes with lobster and shellfish firm favourites on the menu.

Of course, there’s always the chance you’ll bump into a modern day celeb if you do choose to swing by here during your trip. In recent years, it’s been frequented by the likes of Kate Moss, Danny Glover, Matt Dillion and Jack Nicholson.

You might also want to order yourself the ‘Papa Hemingway Special’. This fruity daiquiri concoction infused with grapefruit was created especially to honour Hemmingway himself. What better way to pay tribute!

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