In Havana, Cuba, this busy side street houses the famous bar where the famous writer Ernest Hemingway invented the Mohito. La Bodeguita del Medio is one of the most famous restaurants in old Havana; the walls are full of signage and graffiti.
This place has history, which is evidenced by the graffiti
This restaurant dates back to 1942, a small shop known as La Bodeguita de Martínez,playings music, selling drinks and some sautés. Even then, it was already frequented by artists and thinkers who would meet at La Bodeguita.
Over time, La Bodeguita started to host more food and drinks and the number of people who dined there. So, even though they don't know exactly when this started, it became known as La Bodeguita del Medio.
Signatures on its walls that made the La Bodeguita del Medio bar famous been deleted
This famous bar has seen countless Cuban and foreign celebrities, such as Nicolás Guillén, Ernest Hemingway, Mario Benedetti, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel García Márquez, Alejo Carpentier, Gabriela Mistral, Mario Moreno “Cantinflas”, to name a few.
But sadly, in 2021, the La Bodeguita del Medio renovated the 80-year-old bar and removed all signage and graffiti. People were outraged, claiming that the "signatures and graffiti were heritage." Some claim that the Cuban government was responsible for the removal, but they steadfastly deny the allegations.
This fine art photograph of the outside of the famous establishment stands as a historical testament to the culture of Old Havana. The graffiti wall was photographed in 2017.
© Dan Kosmayer, 2017