Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

Hemingway

(Jussie Smollet) – Don Hermanos, Havana

As I mentioned earlier (here), it’s easy to get cynical in Havana, if you believe the publicity then Ernest Hemingway regularly frequented Sloppy Joes, La Floridita, Dos Hermanos… indeed its difficult to find a bar that doesn’t have a claim to Hemingway, and I struggle to imagine how he found time to write.

I’d visited Sloppy Joes, more of that elsewhere, and tried to get into La Floridita but it was rammed with tourists even before noon, so I though I’d try Dos Hermanos.

Dos Hermanos is one of those Hemingway bars, down by the docks on Ave del Porto, a ten minute walk from the Cruise ship terminal and conveniently situated mid way between the terminal and the craft market.

As my stay on the cruise ship was all inclusive I didn’t order food, but called in on my last day in Havana for a sneaky drink on the way back to the ship after a trip to the aforementioned craft market.

It’s bright and airy, recently refurbished, with a plaque on the outside stating its heritage back to 1894 and claiming the patronage of Federico Garcia Lorca, Alejo Carpentier, Enrique Serpa, Marlon Brando, Errol Flynn and Ernest Hemingway and ‘intellectuals from Cuba and the world’.

Inside you’re faced with a massive bar, piled high with various varieties of Havana Club rum (their museum and visitor attraction is just down the road) and a few other spirits. I asked the barman the price of a Mojito and he replied (in excellent English) 4.20 local (the local ‘convertible’ peso (or CUC), used by tourists, is about the same as a dollar).

I explained that I’d spent up and was down to my last eight (a five and three note) which I put on the bar. He grinned and confirmed that that was just enough for two.

The Mojitos were, as you might imagine, delicious and potent – I can envisage vast plantations of mint outside Havana to service the Mojito market – and the ambience great.

There’s a lot of money being spent in the vicinity, the old port buildings are being refurbished and I suspect a new cruise terminal/shopping mall/hotel won’t be long away.

In the meantime it’s a great place for a drink.