Harry's Bar, Florence 1990s
In 1953, two young Italian entrepreneurs called Enrico Mariotti and Raffaello Sabatini created Harry’s Bar and American Grill in Florence, Italy.
Their friend Giuseppe Cipriani, patron of the famous ( and first) Harry’s Bar in Venice that opened in 1931 and whose customers included Americans-abroad such as novelists Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote, baseball star Joe di Maggio, heiress Barbara Hutton and architect Frank Lloyd Wright, acted as consultant.
He gave the pair advice about the kind of food to serve and what drinks to offer – led by the Bellini, the Martini (15 parts gin to one part martini) and the Negroni. Service, of course, had to be impeccable and unobtrusive and tourists from all over the world- not just Americans- flocked to the establishment.
In the 1970s, a Los Angeles outpost of the Harry’s Bar in Florence opened in the ABC Entertainment Center in Century City.
Every detail of the bar and restaurant at the original was replicated in Los Angeles, down to the furnishings.
This charming menu cover showing the location of Harry’s Bar alongside the River Arno in the Tuscan city was also duplicated and prices were shown in both Italian lire and dollars.
Harry’s in Los Angeles flourished for three decades.
But while the Harry’s Bars in Venice and in Florence still exist – and are known and respected worldwide – the Los Angeles outpost is no more.
The establishment served its final Bellini in 2002 after the building where it was located - the ABC Entertainment Centre in Century City – was demolished to make way for an office building.
According to a post in the Los Angeles Times, Harry’s was best known for its annual Ernest Hemingway parody contest. The person who wrote what the judges declared the best ‘one really good page of really bad Hemingway’ would win a trip to Italy and dinner at the original Harry’s Bar and American Grill in Florence. Nice trip!
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.