New hotel in Old Havana above the legendary Sloppy Joe’s Bar
As part of the new refurbishment projects headed in Old Havana by Habaguanex, a new boutique hotel will be opening soon in one of the most mythical places in Havana. The first and second floor of the building where the historic and unique Sloppy Joe’s Bar is located will be revitalized and turned into a wonderful place to stay in the city.
During the World Travel Market 2015 in London early of November, new projects in Old Havana were exhibited. As a response to the increasing tourist arrivals in the island, new hotels (most of them in small and highly stylish locations) are currently under reconstruction. One of the most intriguing places for sure is going to be the one just over Sloppy Joe’s Bar. Habaguanex company, specializes in luxurious boutique hotels around Old Havana, being one of the most prestigious hotel brands in Cuba, is performing this adventure.
Sloppy Joe's was a Havana bar in the 1930’s owned by Jose Garcia who arrived in Cuba in 1904 from Spain, he worked as a barman during his early years there. He opened his own business and bought a grocery store along with a warehouse located in the corner of Zulueta and Animas Streets, just couple of minutes walk from the Capitol of Havana. One of the theories of the name is that during the first months after the opening, when the place was a total mess, there was a sandwich served made of ropa vieja (ripped beef) known as a Sloppy Joe, and later Mr Garcia created the name as a trademark which has a long legacy.
Sloppy Joe's Bar
The bar was one of the most popular places in Havana. It wasn’t only fine cocktails and spirits what made it so trendy, it was the attractive environment and the perfect atmosphere to meet with friends or having an important business meetings, while enjoying the longest mahogany bar in Cuba (even some historians says it was the longest bar in the entire world with more than 18 meters of length). One of the regular clients of Jose Garcia was Ernest Hemingway, who use to visited the bar along with his friend Joe Russel who also owned a bar in Florida, USA which Hemingway suggested to Mr. Russel be named “Sloppy Joe’s”, in honour of Jose Garcia.
It was one of the most fashion bars in Havana which had a magnificent splendour during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Many Hollywood celebrities, musicians, writers and all kind of bohemian characters visited Sloppy Joe’s Bar. It was a must go place in those decades; relevant figures as John Wayne, Mario Moreno "Cantinflas", Jose Antonio Mendez "The King", Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Ignacio Jacinto Villa y Fernandez "Bola de Nieves" and many other personalities of the time enjoyed cocktails there.
After the triumph of Fidel Castro’s Revolution in 1959, the iconic Sloopy Joe’s Bar was closed. The building and its history were completely abandoned until April 12, 2013 when it was reopened after fifty years of obscurity. Eusebio Leal, Historian of Havana and head of Habaguanex said: “What interests me is to work to restore to my city, our city, a whole series of things that are part of its memory. To restore Sloppy Joe’s is to return to Havana the place where artists, baseball players, tourists all met. The final goal is not commercial, is not to exploit a name; it brings the opportunity to recover an important memory of Havana”.
Fame and history in a new boutique hotel
Today the bar is one of the best in Cuba; full of fame and history, is now welcoming new clients to let them enjoy an unequal experience. Not only tourists but local people enjoy the pleasure of being seated behind such a magnificent bar and have great drinks in Havana’s heart. As announced by Habaguanex the upper floors will become soon a unique place to stay, adding nearly 20 rooms to an increasingly crowded Havana. A new hotel that we will keep an eye on…!