New Irish-style bar re-opens in Old Havana

Posted: 14-Apr-16 10:14

Located next to the heart of Havana's historic centre, the Bar Cafe O'Reilly had undoubtedly become one of the most popular haunts rapidly flourishing in Cuba's capital. It has just reopened again after the building in which it was set received repair works. As the number of tourists arriving in the island has been rising considerably over the last two years, Havana continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and the historic part of the city is a must-see area in which many colonial buildings have been restored.

New Irish-style bar re-opens in Old Havana

After undergoing a complete renovation to repair it, the colonial building that´s home to the famous Cafe O´Reilly in Old Havana is open for business again as is its café, which pays homage to the Irish presence in Cuban culture. The place was named after the street in which it was built in the 18th century, under the supervision of an Irish-Spanish marshal.

The café-bar, which serves national and international cocktails as well as tasty snacks and light bites, has a beautiful balcony from which visitors can observe the daily life of a vibrant Cuban neighbourhood. It´s perfectly located very close to Obispo, one of the busiest streets in the city´s historic centre.

The O´Reilly Bar is just one of the new businesses that are blossoming in Havana as part of the development of the tourist sector. But this one is not privately owned like the many others that have recently opened up; instead it’s a state-owned facility that has been carefully repaired, and which also aims to pay tribute to its building’s Irish roots.

It was Alejandro O´Reilly, an Irish-born official that served the Spanish army in the second half of the 18th century; who ordered the construction of the street in which the bar is based, leaving there his Irish mark on the city as an experienced construction supervisor.

In the building’s first floor the visitors will find a cosy cafe, where the beans are roasted and ground before serving. The place is always crowded with tourists but Cubans also frequent the place to buy high-quality coffee.

O´Reilly Bar and Cafe has two competitors in the same street: O´Reilly 304 and El del Frente, two privately-owned bar-restaurants that are attracting dozens of tourists every day. Also, the gallery Factoria Habana, run by Spanish art curator Concha Fontanella, is another of the street’s main attractions. Heading to the north, visitors will find the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a colonial fortress built in the 16th century.

Many bars, restaurants and hostels have been opening up everywhere in Old Havana over the lasts five years after the Cuban government approved more licences for people working in the private sector. Most of the new businesses are marketed towards foreign visitors, as tourism is one of the most important sectors of the Cuban economy.

Ninenty per cent of tourists going to the island visit Havana, where most of the emerging new businesses are concentrated. From almost every neighbourhood in the capital visitors can enjoy easy access to the old part of the city, a fascinating area in which more than 200 historic buildings have been restored.


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