Sloppy Joe's Bar

Sloppy Joe's was opened back in the 1917s in Old Havana by a Spanish immigrant by the name of Jose Garcia. But it was during the prohibition era of the 1940s and 1950s when its popularity began to surge. Wealthy Americans came to enjoy the free flowing alcohol, and with over 80 cocktails available - there was a lot of choice! Today, it's one of Havana's tourist hotspots and well-worth a visit to soak up the atmosphere of its glamorous past.

Located on the corner of Zulueta and Ánimas in Old Havana is one of Cuba’s most well-known bars. During its boom years, Sloppy Joe’s was one of the most famous bars in the world. In fact, it became the trendy hangout of choice for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars including the likes of Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy.

The fabulous company and cocktails made Sloppy Joe’s a huge hit. But sadly, the good times were not to last. After the Cuban revolution in 1959, it lost many of its illustrious (and high-spending) American customers. Six years later, a devastating fire tore through the property, causing it to close its doors for the last time.

However in 2013, this once legendary bar reopened thanks to a substantial six year renovation project carried out by the Office of the Historian of Havana. So after its 48 year absence, tourists can now swing by Sloppy Joe’s and imagine how the rich and famous once visited in the bar’s glittering heyday. Where possible, the building has been faithfully restored to resemble how it once was. The original façade has been carefully restored along with the buildings wooden panelled interior and sections of Sloppy Joe’s mahogany bar have also been preserved. Today, black and white photos of its former Hollywood clientele hang from the walls, reminding of its glorious past.

But coming here isn’t just about enjoying a nostalgia trip. The cocktails are arguably some of the best you’ll get to enjoy in Havana (although the original choice of 80 has been scaled back a bit). In particular, the Sloppy Joe cocktail (combining brandy, port, Cointreau and pineapple) is a cooling and refreshing option that’s worth a sample. As well as the superb drinks, there’s also a range of tapas, burgers, Cuban sandwiches and of course - the iconic Sloppy Joe sandwich.

This famous bar, once a mecca for glamorous socialites and Hollywood A-listers still retains much of the atmosphere it once possessed. For that reason alone, sipping a cocktail or two at Sloppy Joe’s is an experience you won’t want to miss while visiting Havana.

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