Havana’s legendary El Floridita bar celebrates 200th birthday this year

Posted: 12-Jan-17 12:34

This 2017 marks 200 years since the foundation of El Floridita, an iconic bar at the heart of Old Havana once favoured by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and the Hollywood elite of the 1930s and 40s. To mark the occasion of the bicentennial anniversary, the bar-restaurant will be hosting special events throughout the following 12 months, especially in July, when El Floridita officially turns 200 years old.

Havana’s legendary El Floridita bar celebrates 200th birthday this year

One of Havana’s most visited bars, and certainly one of its oldest (if not the oldest) is celebrating a hugely important milestone this year as it turns 200 years old. To celebrate the occasion, the famed seafood restaurant and cocktail bar has lined up a series of special events taking place throughout 2017, which are expected to reach a climax in October, despite El Floridita’s actual birthday being in July. Such a special occasion will be honoured in full flair.

Having first opened its doors on 6th July 1817 under the name of “La Pina de Plata” (The Silver Pineapple), which in 1910 changed its name to "El Florida" due to American influence; what we know today as "El Floridita" (an affectionate diminutive form of its name that was eventually adopted) was later brought to fame in 1914 by Catalan owner, Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, creator of the daiquiri, a worldwide famous Cuban cocktail that was birthed right here and which novelist Ernest Hemingway was a fan of.

So popular was El Floridita during its golden years that it was included in 1953 Esquire’s list of top seven bars in the world. Ever since it has hosted a number of worldwide celebrities, from Ernest Hemingway to Spencer Tracy and in more recent times, Naomi Campbell, Paco Rabbanne, Kate Moss and Jack Nicholson, to name but a few.

El Floridita’s premises also include an elegant seafood restaurant that features an attractive menu perfectly complimented by a fine selection of Cuban cigars, which guests can choose from a la carte.

The line-up of activities to commemorate El Floridita’s 200th birthday includes the visit of over 200 members of the International Bartenders Association, who will gather here in October to celebrate with their Cuban counter-parts. Also during this time, a tournament to crown "El Rey del Daiquiri" (The King of Daiquiri) will see top professional barmen battle it out to earn themselves the prestigious international title.

According to an article published by Prensa Latina, some special surprises will be in store to celebrate "El Dia del Cantinero" (Bartender’s Day) on 7th October, although El Floridita’s current managing director, Ariel Blanco, refused to give away any further details.

With nearly 200 years of history and pleased customers (the most loyal of which has famously been Hemingway, after which the Papa Doble, a sugar-free version of the daiquiri with double the rum, was once created) the cradle of one of Cuba’s most international drinks has certainly plenty to celebrate and smile about.


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