Sipping bellinis at the Legendary Harry’s Bar, Venice
When, after a long day’s sightseeing, you want to sip a cocktail in an atmospheric bar, Venice has plenty of choice. But there’s really one place to go if your beverage of choice is a bellini cocktail: Venice’s legendary Harry’s Bar. Let’s take a look at this famous bar and its illustrious history.
A history of Harry’s Bar
Harry’s Bar, Venice has been going since 1931, when it was founded by a bartender named Giuseppe Cipriani. Legend has it that Cipriani had been a bartender at Venice’s Hotel Europa, a favourite of an American man named Harry Pickering. When Pickering unexpectedly stopped showing up at the hotel bar, it transpired that he’d been financially cut off by his family after they’d discovered his drinking habit. When Cipriani learned of this, he leant Pickering 10,000 lire. Pickering returned two years later and, having ordered a drink, gave Cipriani 50,000 lire with the suggestion that he open a bar and name it after him.
The rest, as they say, is history, and in 2001, Harry’s Bar was declared a national landmark by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs. Along the way, it’s been a favourite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, and visited by other famous names including Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and George Clooney. Harry’s Bar is even mentioned in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited as a watering hole frequented by Charles and Sebastian when they’re in Venice.
What to drink at Harry’s Bar
If you’re in the market for a bellini cocktail, Venice has Harry’s Bar to thank for this popular drink and it’s the obvious choice for a first visit. If that’s not quite your cup of tea, you may prefer another of the bar’s famous beverages, a dry martini, which comes in a small, stemless glass.
Interestingly, Harry’s Bar is also the home of carpaccio, so if you fancy a bite to eat, that’s a good dish to go for. Food at Harry’s Bar is expensive – indeed, it’s just as much a restaurant as a bar – but you’re paying as much for the ambience as for the food itself.
How to find Harry’s Bar
You’ll find Harry’s Bar at Calle Vallaresso 1323, right on the Grand Canal, next to the Hotel Monaco. Just two minutes’ walk from Piazza San Marco, it couldn’t be easier to find, as you can see from this map.
Now all you have to decide is whether to go for a bellini or a dry martini… Saluti!