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OP: Sloppy Joe's Bar: Season 1934

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by Jose Abeal Y Otero

This small (3” x 2”) staple-bound booklet was produced throughout the 1930s as a souvenir for the original Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana, founded by Spanish immigrant Jose Abeal Y Otero. The bar was a frequent haunt of well-to-do Americans—looking for a reprieve during Prohibition—and Europeans, both enjoying the festive nightlife the Caribbean island offered.

Sloppy Joe’s became the place to go and, along with its single-piece 60-foot mahogany bar, it was known for its celebrity draw. Notable clientele over the decades included the Duke of Windsor, Frank Sinatra, Ernest Hemmingway, Graham Greene, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, and John Wayne. The bar’s popularity endured throughout the war years. Later, the Cuban Revolution and US embargo led to decreased interest and accessibility, and the bar closed in 1965. After a long restoration process, it reopened in 2013.

We are pleased to offer one of these uncommon souvenirs from the 1934 season. It includes a brief history of the bar and its owner, which is then followed by cocktail recipes and a list of sandwiches available for purchase. For an item produced with cheap materials as a “freebie,” they are not often found in such Fine condition as this copy.

Also included in this offer are two original postcards from the bar. One, featuring a black and white photograph of the bar and patrons, is blank on the back. The other, featuring a color illustration of the packed bar, has a previous owner’s name written on the back where it is missing some of the glossy paper, likely from being taped up. A great gift and an unusual find.

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