This is the first of a series of posts dedicated to the most legendary martini bars on the planet. No surprise I’ll start with what is now called “The Hemingway Bar” at the Ritz Hotel in Place Vendome in Paris.
To understand why this bar is a legend, here goes a story (full story here):
During WW2, Ernest Hemingway, officially a war reporter, had volunteered to help the US intelligence services by making contact with French Resistance fighters, when the US forces were entering France and the Nazi were retreating . Reportedly, the key mission of Hemingway was the one of “being the first American in Paris and liberating the Ritz”.
Indeed, on August 25 he turned up at the Ritz on a Jeep mounted with a machine gun at the head of a group of Resistance fighters, announcing that he had come to personally liberate the hotel and its bar.
When the manager of the hotel told him he could not enter with a weapon, Hemingway put the gun in the Jeep and came back to the bar, where he is said to have drank 51 dry martinis. in a row. This was actually a celebration!
In 1994 the Petit Bar was renamed Bar Hemingway in his memory, and filled with a vast amount of memorabilia and photos from his travels. With a very traditional setting of wood panelled walls complemented by the leather sofas and deep leather chairs, the Bar Hemingway is indeed a legendary place to enjoy a drink, in honour of Ernest and of martini-imbibed peace.
A fantastic review of the bar can be found in this article of The Senior.
Also, check out this video interview with bartender Colin Field here.