Monday, November 7th 2011 - 05:49 UTC

Cuba opens in Washington a bar in honour of Ernest Hemingway

The Cuban Interests Section in the US capital has opened an invite-only bar in honour of the US writer Ernest Hemingway, who spent considerable time in Cuba during the 1940s and 1950s.

Working hard to keep up with the demands of all the thirsty “gringos”

“Very little has been said or written in the United States about the close relationship of this important literary figure with Cuba,” Cuban representative Jorge Bolanos said at the opening of the bar late Thursday.

The United States and Cuba severed diplomatic relations in 1961 following Fidel Castro's communist revolution, and while the Interests Section is still based in a historic Washington mansion, it operates through the Swiss embassy.

A year ago, Bolanos oversaw restoring parts of the grand building, and decided to rename one of the rooms after the writer to be used on special occasions.

“We hoped there would be a third Hemingway bar, not in Havana, but here” said spokesperson Juan Jacomino. Two other Hemingway bars operate in the Cuban capital.

In a sign of the exclusive bar's early success, on opening night, waiters were working hard to keep up with the demands of all the thirsty “gringos” calling for drinks.

Hemingway lived in Cuba on and off from 1939 until 1960 and wrote parts of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” there. The 1940 novel set during the Spanish Civil War is considered one of his greatest works.

His Cuba years also inspired “The Old Man and the Sea,” a 1952 novel believed to have played a major role in his winning the Nobel Prize for Literature two years later.

The Nobel Prize winner's home officially has been a Cuban museum since 1961.

2 comments Feed

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1 GeoffWard2 (#) Nov 07th, 2011 - 07:45 pm Report abuse
At this moment I am on page 111 of my 1954 Jonathan Cape edition of 'The Old Man And The Sea'.

Many re-readings over the 50 years,
and it has change for me fundimentally from a story of derring-do,
to a profound statement on what it means to be a human in old age.

It is both uplifting of the spirit and incredibly sad in its inevitability.

My greatest read of all time,
and Hemingway's igniter of my personal 'lions on the beach at sunset' - the life-memories that I will take to my death-bed.

Yup, there is so much more to life than blog-postings and, were the weather better, 'my' beach is where I would be right now.
2 ElaineB (#) Nov 07th, 2011 - 08:53 pm Report abuse
Nicely put. I once tried to follow in Hemingway's ghostly footsteps around the bars of Havana but he was more than a match for me. : )

I might try to get an invite to the bar in DC the next time I am there.

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