The Most Emblematic Restaurant / Bar In Havana (Cuba) Turns 19 Years In The “City Of Hundred Spires”
Prague (Capital of the Czech Republic) has become one of the most hospitable major cities for Cuban migrants.
In this bohemian region nicknamed the “City Of Hundred Spires”, beer is the traditional drink of any establishment, so an authentic Mojito (made with natural spices that aid good digestion) is a delight for the palate of any inhabitant or tourist of the area. And you can only taste it in an authentic Cuban place such as La Bodeguita Del Medio.
This Restaurant / Bar was founded in the city of the Astronomical Clock 19 years ago (December 17th, 2002), six decades after the opening of the original restaurant in Havana (Cuba).
La Bodeguita del Medio is designed in the colonial style of 20th century Havana with live music and daily dance acts. It has two original bars and a replica of the famous Sloopy Joe’s Bar (a 20-meter long mahogany bar with high stools and luxurious display cabinets) that was made in Colombia. In this bar, besides the mojitos, you can also try more than 150 types of short and long drinks.
Regarding the menu, you will find typical Havana specialties, as well as seafood, fish, vegetables, and meat specialties. Also, and adding a bit of tradition, you will find the menu in Spanish and if you can attend every day at noon you will delight the international European menu.
Additionally, while you taste the variety of dishes and cocktails, you will enjoy a live Cuban band (generally trios) and performances by Latin dancers every night.
Six Decades Of La Bodeguita Del Medio
Based on the story written by La Bodeguita Del Medio in Prague
“For some reason unknown to us, it is said that La Bodeguita is located at a distance of one hundred cobblestones (stone carved in the shape of a rectangular prism for paving streets) from the largest American Baroque building in Cuba, which if proven, indisputably turns out to be true and is the Havana cathedral.
In 1950, La Bodeguita del Medio restaurant opened its doors at number 207 cobbled street…
Upon entering La Bodeguita (in Havana) for the first time, the olfactory senses revel in the delicious aroma of Cuban mint, while tasting the special herbs, which do wonders for the digestive system. Thus, these inseparable ingredients became the rudiments of the famous drink that we know today as MOJITO, whose current shape and flavor were developed in La Bodeguita.
At the back of the Havana Bodeguita restaurant, guests have the opportunity to sample excellent Cuban cuisine, while enjoying the sounds of traditional melodies sung by a Cuban trio.
Now let’s go back to… 1942 when Ángel Martínez Borroto bought a small shop in the still fortified old town of the city. A short time later, he dedicated himself to managing and developing his small business, called La Casa Martínez… For some time… clients would come to La Bodeguita to settle their business with a glass or two of rum.
Among the most prominent regulars who frequented the Bodeguita at that time, were the classic Cuban poet Nikolas Guillén and the notable prose writer Alejo Carpentier. Little by little, La Bodeguita established an impressive client base, which turned out to be a popular choice for intellectuals, artists, and bohemians… In fact, over time, La Bodeguita became a forum for progressive-thinking intellectuals (who came from Latin America and the world) to meet and debate.
…Initially, meals were only available to family members and the few waiters, prepared by Martinez’s wife, nicknamed “Armenian girl” (presumably because of her dark skin tone).
At this time, the main ingredients were a combination of black beans and white rice or as it were more often called: maoríes y cristianos.
To finish, the guests were served baked pieces of pork, called “Fried Pork Masses” and fried plantain chips known to the locals as “Plantain Tostadas.”
Martínez was dedicated to satisfying the requests of his most trusted customers and later began serving food, even though people only paid for drinks.
In 1950, the title of Martínez’s company was indefinitely changed from La Casa Martínez to the name the regulars had been using for some time: La Bodeguita.
This same decade also saw the arrival of a new wave of clients from around the world, including artists such as American singer Nat King Cole, Nobel Prize Winner for literature Ernest Hemingway, and female beauty idols Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren.
…Today La Bodeguita del Medio serves as an unwavering reminder of its bohemian past where guests, whether intellectuals, politicians, or passersby, continue to meet and pass the time.
As for the colonial Bodeguita building, dating from the late 19th century, many visitors believe that the collection of priceless signatures, memorabilia, and photographs preserved on the stone walls deserves to be listed in the Guinness Records Book.”