Sloppy Joe’s: a cocktail bar and a lot of interesting events. Havana Cuba.
The purpose of this book is not to make history, there are too many highly interesting writings that cover that line. My goal is to publicize the cocktail guide that was originally prepared in such a prestigious place. For this I have offered the facsimile of the recipe book that was given away in said bar, edited and published in 1934
Sloppy Joe’s was created in Havana in 1917 and soon gained an unsurpassed reputation. There are those who say, and perhaps they are right, that its rise was due to the recently enacted dry law in the United States in 1920, which attracted many tourists and personalities to our island.
“Anyone who visited the city would stop there, for the sandwiches, for the drinks, for the history,” said Ángel Placeres, a neighbor of Old Havana. It would be endless to mention all the personalities who passed through that bar at the time, to name a few we will of course mention Ernest Hemingway who had become a natural promoter of the best places in Havana of those times. They visited the bar, the boxer Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Louis, the actors Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, John Wayne, John McGraw, Ernest Hemingway, Spencer Tracy, Errol Flynn, Nat King Cole, John Wayne, Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Cantinflas, Alfonso de Borbón …, Richard Dix, Don Ameche, Alice Faye, Tyrone Powers, among others.
Its impressive 18-meter (about 60-foot) black mahogany bar, once the longest in the world, was installed in an old building built in 1884 owned by Francisco González Álvarez, once a warehouse, winery, and other uses. The most acceptable urban legend of the origin of its name is due to some friends of the owner José, who criticized him for the untidiness of the place, running water under the counters, etc. For what possibly as a joke they began to call him Sloppy, which means mess, dirt, neglected, and as if by magic, the place began to be known with that name, which has traveled the world.
Today there are Sloppy Joe’s in the United States, in Spain and in other countries, but the original was the one in Havana and the most recognized abroad is its brother established in Key West, opened in 1933 at the suggestion of Hemingway.
Unfortunately, the bar, located on the corner of Animas and Zulueta, was abandoned, in a dilapidated state for more than 50 years, thanks to providence it was not occupied, so it was possible to recover the material things that gave it so many memories and so much fame. Today it has been restored with most of its original pieces, thanks to the efforts of the Havana historian, Eusebio Leal, who at the time said …
“Restoring Sloppy Joe’s Bar is giving Havana the place where artists, players, and travelers used to meet.”
I finish these lines with a phrase from the most illustrious of all the customers who visited the place… ..
“Never write about a place until
that you are away from him. ”