bbs.english.sina.com
bbs.english.sina.com
Thread
Print

Sloppy Joe's Bar In Havana Gets Another Chance

Sloppy Joe's Bar In Havana Gets Another Chance

HAVANA — A half-century later, Jose Rafa Malem remembers the balmy breezes blowing through the bar's arching porticos, the grain of the tall wood stools, the whiff of Pedro Domecq brandy on his father's breath.
And how could he forget the tangy ground-beef-and-tomato-sauce sandwiches synonymous with what was then one of Havana's hippest hangouts, playfully dubbed Sloppy Joe's? "I ate so many, I got tired of them," said Rafa, a 59-year-old Havana native who grew up to become a bartender.
Soon, Rafa will be able to relive those boyhood memories as the original Sloppy Joe's reopens in Havana's historic quarter, giving residents and tourists from all over the chance to belly up to the same bar that served thirsty celebrities such as Rock Hudson, Babe Ruth and Ernest Hemingway.
It's part of an ambitious revitalization project by the Havana City Historian's Office, which since the 1990s has transformed block after block of crumbling ruins into rehabilitated Official NFL Jerseys along vibrant cobblestone streets.
The effort has helped finance Cuba's socialist present by drawing tourists fascinated by its pre-socialist past, from colonial palaces of the 18th century to celebrity hangouts of the 1950s.
"For the people of this city, I think it's very interesting and very important to rescue a place that has so much history and is so recognized around the world," said Ernesto Iznaga, manager of the born-again Joe's, which will be run by state-owned tourism concern Habaguanex. "To restore it to how it was before."
Sloppy Joe's was founded in 1918 by a Galician immigrant named Jose Abeal Otero who purchased a grocery store in Old Havana after years of tending bar in New Orleans and Miami. Legend has it the sobriquet comes from the place's grubbiness and Abeal's American nickname, Joe.
Rafa's father was a close friend of Youth Jerseys Sale longtime bartender Fabio Delgado and took his boy there on Sunday afternoons beginning in the late `50s. During the day, Rafa said, Joe's was a mellow family joint where kids slurped ice cream and Coca-Cola while mom and dad chatted over more potent spirits.
Employees made sandwiches to order behind the black mahogany bar, polished to a high shine and purportedly once the longest in Latin America at about 59 feet (18 meters).
Also on the menu will be the Errol Flynn, an icy vodka and tomato-juice concoction garnished with a celery spear. Among the few changes is that the new bar will be air-conditioned for the comfort of sweaty patrons.
At the intersection of Animas and Zulueta streets on a recent morning, dozens of workers buzzed about painting and finishing the bar's wood surfaces. A Sloppy Joe's sign hung from the Wholesale NHL Jerseys building's corner, wrapped in plastic and ready to be unveiled for opening day.
Construction setbacks have delayed the re-opening from Iznaga's original target around New Year's, and the first fingers of Havana Club rum will likely flow sometime in February.
Across the Florida Straits, where rum-runner and speakeasy operator Joe Russell named his own bar Sloppy Joe's in the 1930s at the suggestion of his friend Ernest Hemingway, operators are delighted that the original is being reborn.
"It's exciting because obviously our history is tied into their history," said Donna Edwards, brand manager at the Key West Joe's, which recently celebrated 75 years at its current location. "Hemingway and Russell, they would frequent Sloppy Joe's when they were in Havana. It's a piece of history, and our history is now coming to life again."

TOP

Thread