Every tourist in town wants to sip a mojito at La Bodeguita del Medio (Empedrado #207, e/ Cuba y Tacón, tel. 07/867-1374, daily 10am-midnight). However, the mojitos are weak (perhaps explaining why Hemingway didn’t sup here, contrary to legend). Go for the ambience, aided by troubadours.Hemingway enjoyed his sugarless papa doble daiquiri (double shot of rum) at El Floridita.A true Hemingway favorite offering far better and cheaper (CUC4) mojitos is the Dos Hermanos (Av. San Pedro #304, esq. Sol, tel. 07/861-3514, 11am-11pm), a recently refurbished wharf-front saloon where Hemingway bent elbows with sailors and prostitutes at the long wooden bar. There’s often live music.
Hemingway enjoyed his sugarless papa doble daiquiri (double shot of rum) at El Floridita (Obispo, esq. Monserrate, tel. 07/867-1301, bar open daily 11:30am-midnight). It may not quite live up to its 1950s aura, when Esquire magazine named it one of the great bars of the world, but to visit Havana without sipping a daiquiri here would be like visiting France without tasting the wine.
For chic, try Sloppy Joe’s (Animas esq. Zulueta, tel. 07/866-7157, daily noon-2am). This once-legendary bar—founded in 1918 by José Abel, who turned a dilapidated and messy grocery store into “Sloppy Joe’s”—reopened in 2013 after decades in ruins. It’s been remade as it was, with glossy wood paneling, glass cases around the sides displaying bottles of rum, and a long mahogany bar with tall barstools and flat-screen TVs. The Sloppy Joe house drink is made of brandy, Cointreau, port, and pineapple juice (CUC5).
Just around the corner is the trendy Bar Asturias (Prado #309 esq. Virtudes, tel. 07/864-1447, 10pm-2am), a cool and colorful club to the rear of the ground floor of the Sociedad Cultural Asturiana. Go for the jazz, jam sessions, and boleros.
Beer lovers should head to Plaza Vieja, where the Factoría Plaza Vieja (San Ignacio #364, tel. 07/866-4453, daily 11am-1am), a Viennese-style brewpub (a.k.a. Taberna de la Muralla), produces delicious Pilsen (light) and Munich (dark) beer. You can order half-liters (CUC2), liters, or a whopping three-liter dispensa. This tall glass cylinder is fitted with a tap and filled with beer kept chilled by a thin center tube filled with ice.
The penny-pinching farandula (in-crowd) heads to Bar La Chanchullero (Brasil e/ Berraza y Cristo, no tel., daily 1pm-midnight), a cool down-to-earth hole-in-the-wall on Plaza del Cristo.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Havana.