A 1956 Playboy article on Ernest Hemingway describes the author as follows: “Hemingway has cheated death time and time again to become a scarred and bearded American legend, a great white hunter, a husband of four wives, and a winner of Nobel and Pulitzer prizes. Sin has paid off for Hemingway.” An American legend indeed, this notable adventurist was also a patron of life’s finest pleasures, and was an avid eater and drinker. Here are six of the scribe’s best known spots to ingest and imbibe.
Sloppy Joe’s – Key West, Florida
A “Key West Tradition,” this bar opened in 1933 but underwent two name changes before it got to the name “Sloppy Joe’s” — a Hemingway suggestion. Hemingway loved the bar so much he once called himself a silent partner in its enterprise, and he even left personal belongings in their possession when he moved from Key West in 1939.
El Floridita – Havana, Cuba
This fish and cocktail bar is known as being one of Hemingway’s favorite haunts in Cuba, with the other being La Bodeguita del Medio. His distinction? “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita.” Today, the bar displays photographs and other memorabilia of Hemingway, and there is a “Hemingway-style” daiquiri available on the menu.
La Pepica — Valencia, Spain
La Pepica, on the promenade at the El Cabanyali beach in Valencia, is best known for its multiple versions of paella, the classic Valencian rice dish. You’ll find it hasn’t aged much. Photos of Hemingway on the wall show that the restaurant looks more or less the same since he ate there some 55 years ago. In his bullfighting memoir, The Dangerous Summer, Hemingway wrote, “Dinner at Pepica’s was wonderful.” Decades later, it still is.
La Closerie des Lilas – Paris, France
It was at this bar and bistro that Hemingway did much of his writing; history tells us it was here that he penned a great deal of The Sun Also Rises. Today, the establishment is split into a piano bar, restaurant, and brasserie, but there are plaques to tell you where Hemingway and other notables including Picasso, Man Ray, and Jean-Paul Sartre sat.
Olympic Bar – Ketchum, Idaho
Part of Michel’s Christiania Restaurant, the Olympic Bar was a favorite Hemingway hangout so much so that he had his own table, which is now known at the restaurant as “Table 8, The Hemingway Table.” Many of the classic cocktails and French vintage dishes remain the same.
Harry’s Bar – Venice, Italy
Harry’s Bar is easily one of the most famous bars in the world, and Hemingway is credited with helping make it so. Here, Papa had his own table in the corner, and immortalized the bar by writing about it in his 1950 novel, Across The River And Into The Trees. His favorite drink was the Montgomery — proportions of gin to vermouth at 15 to 1 — that he is credited with helping create.