Ernest Hemingway's 8 Favorite Bars Around the World

by Cindi SutterFounder & Editor of Spirited Table® -text by RYAN SMITH architecturaldigest.com - Posted July 19, 2018

The Nobel Prize-winning author could not only write but drink better than most people in history—and these were the establishments where he allowed his talents to flourish. 

Ernest Hemingway is not only known as one of the great American writers, but as one of the great American drinkers as well. From his time in places like Paris, Havana, Lima, Venice, and the United States, Hemingway loved a drink, and didn’t discriminate based on the ambiance. From the fanciest hotel bars to dirtiest dives—as long as the drinks were good—Ernest was eager to indulge. In honor of what would be Hemingway’s 119th birthday (July 21), here is a look at some of Hemingway's favorite bars around the world. Many would end up finding a home within his work, helping a few of them achieve iconic status.

 Photo: Getty Images/Jose Ignacio Soto

Photo: Getty Images/Jose Ignacio Soto


The Ritz (Paris, France)

The Ritz is so closely tied to the author—who set part of The Sun Also Rises(1926) here—that a bar here is named after him. Hemingway famously “liberated” the hotel from German forces in 1944, racking up a bar tab of 51 dry martinis shortly after.

 Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images


Sloppy Joe’s (Key West, Florida)

Hemingway wrote around two-thirds of his published works in Key West, which is no small feat given that his local was Sloppy Joe’s. The famed watering hole opened on December 5, 1933—the day Prohibition was repealed—offering 15-cent shots of whiskey. The bar's owner, Joe Russell, operated a speakeasy during Prohibition, supplying Hemingway with Scotch at the time. The bar maintains that frenzied bootleg vibe today, with guests arriving in the early hours of the morning to drink.

 Photo: Getty Images/Christopher Archambault

Photo: Getty Images/Christopher Archambault


Hotel Lutetia (Paris, France)

Another of Hemingway's Parisian haunts, Hotel Lutetia is where James Joyce wrote part of Ulysses (1922), with Ernest acting as occasional editor between drinks. The hotel has recently undergone a 200-million-euro renovation.

 Photo: Getty Images/Manuel Gonzalez Olaechea Franco

Photo: Getty Images/Manuel Gonzalez Olaechea Franco


Bar Ingles (Lima, Peru)

During his time in Peru, Hemingway was known to frequent the bar in the Country Club Lima Hotel, which has been named best Pisco Sour in Lima. They serve over 60 of the famed drink a day, and you wonder how many of those would have been going on his tab.

 Photo: Getty Images/REDA&CO

Photo: Getty Images/REDA&CO


Harry’s Bar (Venice, Italy)

During Hemingway’s time in Venice in the late '40s, he practically lived at Harry's Bar, where he had a table of his own and often drank with the owner. The bar features in his short story Over the River and Into the Trees (1950).

 Photo: Getty Images/Brandon Rosenblum

Photo: Getty Images/Brandon Rosenblum


La Floridita (Havana, Cuba)

Home to the famous Hemingway daiquiri, which was invented by the “cocktail king of Cuba,” albeit by chance. The author stopped in one day to use the restroom, and, upon seeing every patron drinking the same cocktail, asked for a sip. He then asked for one with less sugar and more rum, and the Papa Doble was born.

 Photo: Getty Images/B&M Noskowski

Photo: Getty Images/B&M Noskowski


La Bodeguita del Medio (Havana, Cuba)

Elsewhere in Havana, Hemingway would opt for a mojito—at La Bodeguita del Medio, the supposed home of the drink. A plaque in the bar includes a quote from Hemingway: “My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita.”

 Photo: Paul Street / Alamy Stock Photo

Photo: Paul Street / Alamy Stock Photo


Casino Bar (Ketchum, Idaho)

From 1959 until his death in 1961, Hemingway lived in the quiet Idaho town of Ketchum—near Sun Valley, known primarily for being a skiing destination. He spent many nights at this local watering hole, which was actually a functioning casino at the time. Today it’s still a no-frills locals' dive that he would still gladly make it to for happy hour.