Havana Gato Tuerto Entertains Tourists

Havana Gato Tuerto Entertains Tourists


A peculiar nightclub in Havana entertains tourists who come to the city from around the world, especially visitors seeking a bohemian and very musical ambience: El Gato Tuerto (The One-Eye Cat).
This bar or nightclub on O Street between 17th and 19th Streets, Vedado, and it even frequently appears on Cuban television programs. It combines Cuban love songs and painting as it also serves as a gallery. In its beginnings the local tableware was totally made by the painter Amelia Pelaez (1896-1968), one of the most significant of its type and time.

This place of two floors and an entrance gate, had as regular visitors the playwright Virgilio Piñera, the national poet Nicolas Guillen and especially many singers of bolero and filing.

The list includes Moraima Secada, Elena Burke or the visit of painters such as Wilfredo Lam, many of whom have died, or the eccentric musician Juana Bacallao, who is still performing.

As a novelty, the house drink – as always – has the name of ‘The cat’s orgasm’, made from whisky, creams and cocoa.

El Gato Tuerto opened its doors in 1960 on the initiative of Felito Ayon, an entertainer and founder of the also famous Bodeguita del Medio, the country’s most emblematic restaurant, located in Old Havana.

The aim was to create a gathering of love and joy, and so at first customers could also read and buy books, records, and works of art.

The lower floor was dedicated to troubadours, pianists and singers, who from one corner, at the end of the bar, entertained the nights. In that case, the restaurant was upstairs so as not to disturb diners.

Its walls were decorated with works by Cuban painters such as Amelia Pelaez, Raul Acosta, Mariano Rodriguez, Luis Mariano Pedro, Alberto Falcon, Tomas Marai and Raul Tapia, with designs by Evelia Piña and Frank Olorticochea, especially in the club’s early days.

The shows began in the late afternoon, and even the first album of poems by Nicolas Guillen (1902-1989), National Poet of Cuba, was presented there.

By the 1970s, the building was closed and reopened from 1980 to 1985. Then it was remodeled again and then the world’s longest bolero (76 hours) was sung with the participation of 498 singers and 2,175 songs from June 21 through 25, 2001.

Even the playwright and poet Virgilio Piñera (1912-1979) identified it as ‘In the One-Eyed Cat there is a night inside the night’. It is therefore a very special place for tourists. (Taken from Prensa Latina)

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