"To the Ritz!" exclaimed Hemingway as the cabbie raced towards the prestigious Ritz Hotel. Eager to create yet another cocktail in his own honor, Hemingway needed the perfect combination of elegance, class, and attention to detail. There was only one option, The Ritz Paris.
Hemingway kicks the doors open and yells to the Bartender, "I need a drink, and I need it now!". Colin Field, undeterred and unmoved, whips up the perfect cocktail. Hemingway takes a quick sip...and lets out a light smile. The tension across the bar fizzles out like steam from a tea pot.
Okay, we'll admit we made up that story... But Ernest Hemingway would have wanted as grand of an introduction equal to the grandness of Bar Hemingway. The opulence combined with the craftsmanship of Bar Hemingway make for one of the great bars in the world. The leather chairs, the gold leaf, all seem to blend together perfectly. After all, if the Ritz Hotel can't be opulent, who can?
Why is Bar Hemingway Famous?
So why is Bar Hemingway is famous anyways? Let's take a step back and examine why the Ritz Hotel holds such a special place in the hearts of Parisians and globe trotters alike.
Why is the Ritz Hotel Famous?
This Ritz Paris was built in 1898 and designed by Cesar Ritz, hence the name Ritz hotel. The hotel was built overlooking the Place Vendôme is one of the most splendid courtyards in all of Paris France. The hotel was one of the first in Europe to have an en suite bathroom, which was the ultimate sign of luxury.
The Ritz Paris became synonymous with opulence, service, fine dining and essentially created the term "Ritzy". A bit Ritzy for my taste? The iconic hotel not only had the perfect location but the clientele to back it up. The Ritz Paris quickly rose in prominence and hosted many celebrities like Coco Chanel ,F Scott Fitzgerald and of course, Ernest Hemingway. The hotel began naming many of their suites after their famous clientele. The most opulent suite of them all is the Coco Chanel suite.
The Ritz Hotel has a more infamous reason why they are famous as well. As the Nazi's marched through Paris, they Luftwaffe set up their headquarters within the Ritz. Hard to blame the Ritz Hotel for this as they were under the command of occupying forces. Another interesting tidbit about the Ritz, Ernest Hemingway discovered that his wife wanted a divorce in the hotel and then he proceeded to drop her photo into the toilet and shoot it with a pistol. A bit aggressive if you ask us, but Ernest Hemingway lived his life at 100mph.
What is the History behind Bar Hemingway?
What's the story behind Bar Hemingway? There had to be a bar before they named it after him right?
While Ernest Hemingway used to drink there, the bar was known as the Little Bar. Initially the Ritz only had a bar to accommodate men but as cultural norms loosened, the Ritz decided to open a bar that catered towards only women, Le Petit Bar. As men and women began to mingle and enjoy drinks together, The Ritz Hotel decided to open up the cocktail bar to both men and women.
During the 1970's, the Ritz Hotel was going through a relative slump and actually began to lose money for the first time in their history. With the help of an Egyptian investor, the Ritz Hotel began its epic turnaround. The new ownership decided to rename Le Petit Bar , Bar Hemingway, after their long-term famous guest. The name worked out to be draw to both Americans and Europeans alike.
During the recent remodel, the hotel decided to keep Bar Hemingway as it was. So you can still enjoy Bar Hemingway as it was. The leather chairs and classic style remains.
Did the Bar Hemingway Invent Any Cocktails?
While bar Hemingway currently serves unique cocktails like Serendipity, Bar Hemingway is not necessarily known for inventing any of the classic cocktails. However, Cesar Ritz is famous for help branding one the most famous liqueurs, Grand Marnier.
The story goes as follows, Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle one of the original investors in the Ritz Hotel, had just developed a new orange flavored liqueur for drinks. Unhappy with the contemporary nomenclature for his liqueur, "petit wine" or "parks", Louis Marnier decided to listen to his friend Cesar, and name his new liqueur Grand Marnier. To this day at Bar Hemingway, Grand Marnier is a featured liqueur in many cocktails and drinks on the menu.
What Cocktails to Order?
Colin Field is also famous for creating the Clean Dirty Martini. Sounds counterintuitive...which it is. However, the secret is freezing the olive brine into the ice cubes....we think. Then shaking the shaker vigorously. Bar Hemingway is also famous for one of the most expensive drinks in the world. Listed at 1500 EUR, the Ritz Sidecar, which is a combination of Ritz Fine Champagne 1865 Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice.
Colin Field can whip up any drink however. We've had Martinis, Vespers, Old Fashioned's and they have all been excellent. This iconic bar is truly one of the greatest in the world.
Browse the menu, and you'll quickly realize you can't go wrong with any of the drinks and the service is impeccable.
Does Bar Hemingway Serve Food?
Bar Hemingway serves excellent bar snacks and famously serves hot dogs just like Harry's New York Bar.
The food is delicious and served elegantly.
Is there a Dress Code at Bar Hemingway?
Like most high-end hotels, there is no specific dress code. However, expect to dress to the occasion. Put on something nice. Avoid shorts and sandals.
Do you Need a Reservation at Bar Hemingway?
You do not need a reservation at Bar Hemingway. However, since the bar is small it can fill up quick, especially on the weekend.
What Else to Do at The Ritz?
The Ritz Hotel is a great place to wander the halls and take in all the ornamentation. The walls are steeped in history and glamour. A true trip through the past. They have a lovely dining area in a greenhouse type structure. Even the bathrooms are stunning with gold leaf ornamentation. The courtyard around the Ritz Hotel is gorgeous as well. The Place Vendôme is stunning. There is plenty of high end shopping as well. Be sure to stop by Hemingway bar for a cocktail first.
Interested in Other Great Bars?
As we travel the world, we carefully select the greatest cocktail bars that live up to both taste and style. Often these great bars are steeped in history, but many are new and understand the craft behind what makes a cocktail bar special.
Harry's New York Bar, Paris was moved entirely from New York to Paris France, piece by piece. The same mahogany has been there for over a hundred years.
While the Beverly Hills Polo lounge matches the Ritzyness of the Ritz. Steeped in glamour and celebrity, is must go when heading to Los Angeles.