on December 23, 2004
Plush surroundings of red velvet seats and an elegant bar greet the visitor to El Floridita. This was by far the most sumptuous bar we visited in Havana, with prices to reflect that. This is where Ernest Hemingway came to sip a daiquiri (or three), and they don't let you forget it! There's a bronze statue of him (do the touristy thing and have your pic taken standing beside him) and plenty of photographs on the wall. There's also the chance to buy t-shirts advertising the connection between this place and the author. While drinks are more expensive here, the surroundings make it worthwhile, and even the musicians are better. Complimentary fried plantain chips also help to take the sting out of the prices. Service is swift and attentive, and the red-liveried staff are perhaps the best in Havana—a far cry from the indifferent service you'll get elsewhere. If you're not eating here, take a look behind the red velvet drapes into the rather charming dining room—very 1950s and very evocative! There are usually coach parties here during the day, but for a bar in Habana Vieja, this is surprisingly roomy, and you can sit at the bar or at a table. Whichever you choose, this is an unmissable sight. I almost didn't bother, but I am so glad I did!
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