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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Culture

Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana, Ad from 1938

Posted August 19, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Culture.
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In Havana everything starts from Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the greatest meeting place of the globe.
Sloppy Joe’s offers to visitors the largest assortment of the Cuban Rums and Imported Liquors at Wholesale Prices.
We sell all leading brands of Havana Cigars at factory prices.
Where quality of products is guaranteed by the house.

Advertisement from July 14 1938 Who’s Who Havana Cuba magazine

Member Comments

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On July 23, 2006, Bob O'Neill wrote:

Hello,
Back in the 1920’s or 1930’s, my great uncle Walter Buettner and his wife Glady’s visited Cuba and spent time in Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana.  He was a very sucessful, wealthy gentleman who enjoyed travel and the “good life”.  Anyhow, his daughter passed away recently and left some facinating items of interest to me.  Among them is a photo of him and his friends at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, all dressed in tuxedo’s and looking very formal.  I also have an unopened bottle of Sevilla-Biltmore Special Reserve “American Rye Whiskey” that was imported and bottled especially for the Hotel Sevilla Biltmore in Habana - Cuba, with a Sloppy Joe’s Bar label on it.  These items have made me very curious about Sloppy Joe’s and the history of these items.  Are there any experts that you know of that could help me find an approximate date of these items ?  Does Sloppy Joe’s Bar still exist today ?  Was the Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana somehow connected (in ownership) to the Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida where Ernest Hemmingway used to hang out ?  I would greatly appreciate any further information about these topics that you might be able to provide.
Much thanks,
Bob O’Neill
Twin Lakes, WI

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On September 17, 2006, jan haustein wrote:

you probally have recieved a mail about the topic!

but sloppy joe does not exist anymore after the revolution the family escaped from havana. For many years the building was left abadoned until it somehow fell apart today there is a hotel in the place. the latest more or less that you can see from sloppy’s is the film our nam in havana with alec guiness which is film in 1959 in havana just before the revolution. I am a danish person who have lived in havana for many years an a lot of the stories from havana has my interest thats why a know a bit of sloppy’s

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On October 14, 2006, LINDA Sanders, wrote:

MY MOTHER AND HER FAMILY USED TO VACATION IN CUBA FOR MANY YEARS.  I HAVE A WONDERFUL PHOTO OF MY MOTHER, HER FATHER AND THE OWNER OF SLOPPY JOES WITHIN THEIR BAR.  IT IS PRICELESS!

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On March 13, 2007, craig wrote:

I have a small menu from Sloppy Joes Bar in Havana Season 1933. It has short bio on Jose’ and a drink and food menu. Really cool artifact. The mention that his friends callrd his bar sloppy and the name stuck. Hmmm, That sure brings the story the key west bar into question.

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On March 13, 2007, publisher wrote:

You can find interesting Cuban and Hemingway memorabilia on ebay from time to time.

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On May 01, 2007, Ricardo wrote:

Where street of Havana are the Sloppy Joe Bar?
Which hotel are now?
Thanks
Ricardo

response me to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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On November 09, 2007, Harol Lopez wrote:

http://doncraneo425.blogspot.com/2007/11/original-sloppy-joes-havana-cuba.html

http://doncraneo425.blogspot.com/2007/11/original-sloppy-joes.html

Sloppy Joe’s 2007

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On November 09, 2007, Harol Lopez wrote:

http://doncraneo425.blogspot.com/2007/11/original-sloppy-joes.html

2007

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On January 10, 2008, michael watters wrote:

My grandfather Joseph Lyons owned Sloppy Joes bar in Havana in the 1920s/early 1930s. He returned to Scotland in early 1930s where he owned a hotel in Ayr.

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On January 12, 2008, Mako wrote:

Nice photos, Does any anyone have exact address where it used to stand , and what hotel is there now?

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On January 12, 2008, James August wrote:

Zulueta 26, Habana, phone M-7157

Short Biography:

Mr. Jose Abeal (Sloppy Joe) came from Spain to Cuba in the year 1904 and went to work as a bartender on Galiano and Zanja Streets Havana, where he worked for three years, and then, he gave up his job and sailed for New-Orleans, La.

In this city he went on working as a bartender for six years. From New Orleans he went to Miami, Fla., and also worked in different bars for another six years. In the year 1918, he returned to Havana and got a job as bartender at a cafe named “Greasy Spoon” and six months after, he decided to go in business for himself and bought what was then an insignificant grocery store at the corner now occupied by the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar.

While operating this small grocery store, he was visited by several friends from the States. It so happened, that while some of them were visiting him and seeing the poor condition of the place, one of them said, “Why, Joe, this place is certainly sloppy, look at the filthy water running from under the counter.”

From then on, the name, Sloppy Joe stuck to Jose Abeal as part of his own life
and was destined to make him and his business famous and internationally known.

http://www.oldcubaart.com/TN-21.htm

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On January 12, 2008, publisher wrote:

James,

That’s interesting. Thanks for posting.

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On April 12, 2008, Mike wrote:

n late December 1934 my father traveled to Havana with a couple of hundred businessmen and athletes as a good will tour. Most of the men were representatives of the cigar and sugar industry.

However, the athletes were students of Tampa University and were brought along to play the Cubans in football, baseball and basketball. They beat the Cuban teams in basketball and football but lost to them in baseball.

On new years eve 1934 my father and three teammates celebrated the coming new year in Sloppy Joe’s bar.  After successfully pulling down every arm in the bar in a Hemingway style arm wrestling event my father was awarded a bottle of rum.

I have a photograph taken after he was given the rum with him, his three teammates and a showgirl who is holding the bottle. What is interesting about the photo is the bartender who happened to get his mug in the shot.  He is resting his left elbow on the bar with his bicep flexed and his right fist behind the bicep making it flex even more.

Above their heads and near the ceiling are two visible pictures. One is of a steam liner but the other is a photo of a man. I wonder who he might be?

On the reverse side of this photo, which cost 50 cents, is a picture of the bar from the outside. Looks like it was taken from across the street out a second story balcony perhaps. 

The name Sloppy Joe’s Bar is visible on the building.

If anyone was interested and could give me directions I will try and upload it.

Thanks;
Mike

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On April 20, 2008, Michael wrote:

I lived in that building for 8 years when i was younger. I used to live on the very top floor. It was almost in ruins back then, i heard it was remodeled. I have a lot of memories in that building, and it was incredible seeing those pictures i havnt seen in years. I remember in detail every floor, every corner. It was a building that made history, and if i ever travel back there it will be my first stop.

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On July 22, 2008, tricia park wrote:

ok joes fans here is the low down. Sloppy joes still stands the most resent photo was taken november 8 2007 from a man living in cuba that posts picks on his blog sight.  The NY times december 9 2007 story, old havana gets a lift Cubans dont benefit states that Eusebio Leal Spengler is working on restoring parts of the city to bring back tourists he has restored more than 300 buildings acording to the times and Joes is on the list.  I am most interested in the interior lay and would love to know the floor plan.  Time Life has pictures on their web site of the interior that are verry good and worth looking at taken from the our man in cuba movie.  I have some more stuff lurking around my favorites list if any one is interested I would love to talk my name is tricia and my e-mail is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  and Michael Sun April 20th I would love to talk I can give you links to the photos in 2007   more quick info the uper levels of joes was a hotel and now has trees growing out the sides and windows.

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On July 22, 2008, tricia park wrote:

sloppyjoes.org

now shows the current restoration in progress   viva la sloppy joes

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On July 24, 2008, Mako wrote:

Leal is an incredible man

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On July 24, 2008, Mako wrote:

Leal is a gentleman and some one who is dedicated to trying to restore the grandeur of Habana Vieja.
He works many long hours each day and is passionate about what he does

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On July 25, 2008, william knight wrote:

I have been filming in Cuba for eight years. I made a film about Fabio Delgado one of Cuba’s best cocktail makers .He worked at Sloppy Joes, his favourite bar, for many years. he was a member of the club de cantineros an elite organisation. Fabio invented 33 cocktails including one for Erroll Flynn. You can see him here in action at the rum museum in Havana. He died a few months after the filming, quite an amzing man with a wealth of stories.

http://www.cubavue.tv/pages/cocktail1.html

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On July 25, 2008, publisher wrote:

Good stuff, thanks for posting.

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On August 02, 2009, Natasha O'Quinn wrote:

Writing from Jesup, Georgia…I live in a house built in 1913.  When we bought the house several things had been left behind.  One interesting piece of history was a little book of cocktails from Sloppy Joe’s in Havana, Cuba Season 1938.  It is in mint condition and I love it.  My husband and I have some great memories of Sloppy Joe’s in Key West but would have loved to have seen the original!

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On October 11, 2009, Javier Bravo wrote:

My grandfather, Jose Bravo, was Galician, as Jose Abeal y Otero (Sloppy Joe) which emigrated to Cuba the same year my grandfather born in 1904. 16 years after, my grandfather also emigrated to Cuba which makes the story even more interesting for me as I am a bartender.

Facundo Bacardi Masso was as well Spanish, creating Bacardi in 1962.

I am doing a lot of research about Jose Abeal so i will keep you posted.

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On June 30, 2011, B29bomberboy wrote:

What is the progress on the restoration?  Ready to sit at the bar as my father and his many, many comrades did back in the Spring of 1945.

Going to enjoy one of Sloppy Joe’s house drink made of pineapple juice, cognac, port wine, orange curacao and grenadine.

Also a few of these classic cocktails!

American Girl
Blue Moon
Mary Pickford
Millionaire
Around the World
Miami
Havana.

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On October 28, 2011, christiane wrote:

I have in my possession a doll from a manual handling can dance. It’s a blak danser.aan the bottom side of the pop is inscripion “the French doll storms.
parfumes and novelties.next Sloppy Joes bar havana cuba!?
Who can help me figure out where this doll is mad!?