Top Ten Literary Watering Holes - Page 2

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Top Ten Literary Watering Holes: Floridita, Havana, Cuba
PAPA'S PERCH: Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba  (Tony Hisgett/courtesy, Wikimedia Commons)

5) Brasserie Balzar, Paris, France
Soak up the ambient intelligence at this long-time, Left Bank haunt of intellectuals, artists, and writers. Your fellow diners are likely to be professors and students from the Sorbonne or authors thrashing out deals with publishers.

Planning: Expect French classics; try the onion soup.www.brasseriebalzar.com, www.parisinfo.com

4) Literaturnoe Kafe, St. Petersburg, Russia
For lovers of Russian literature, and the poetry of Pushkin in particular, a visit to St. Petersburg is a pilgrimage. This café was the location of Pushkin's last meal, in 1837, after which he went on to lose a duel with his wife's alleged lover. Pushkin's effigy sits at a desk in the entrance hall. Dostoyevsky was also a regular. Occasional poetry readings keep the literary tradition alive.

Planning: The café is on Nevskiy Prospekt. There are several other Pushkin-related sites in the city. petersburgcity.com/for-tourists/guides

3) Floridita, Havana, Cuba
While the cocktails score more highly than the food, this Regency-style bar-restaurant, which opened in 1817, is an unmissable shrine to Ernest Hemingway and a throwback to the 1930s. Hemingway came here during a Havana trip to research For Whom the Bell Tolls. Homages include the dish "Papa & Mary," created here in honor of Hemingway and his fourth wife.

Planning: Other restaurants in Havana offer better food at lower prices. Just sip a daiquiri here. www.cubatravel.cu

2) White Horse Tavern, New York City
The White Horse has a room dedicated to poet Dylan Thomas, who reportedly downed 18 whiskey shots here one night in 1953 before going back to the Hotel Chelsea to drop dead. (Medical evidence shows that his demise was from unrelated causes.) This pub has long attracted literary figures, including Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, and Bob Dylan.

Planning: On the corner of Hudson and 11th Sts. Try the White Horse whiskey or the excellent ales. www.iloveny.com

1) Rose Room, Algonquin Hotel, New York City
Luminaries of stage, screen, and literature have long graced the tables of this watering hole in what is now one of New York's top boutique hotels. But it is probably most celebrated as the place where an intellectual circle later known as the Round Table lunched daily from 1919 to 1929. Members included comedian Harpo Marx, poet Dorothy Parker, and Harold Ross, founder of the New Yorker.

Planning: The Algonquin is on Club Row, 44th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. www.algonquinhotel.com

This Top 10 List is just one item on the menu in FOOD JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe. This beautiful new book from National Geographic presents hundreds of delicious destinations—spotlighting specialties and ingredients, markets, seasonal delights, great food towns, kitchen secrets, ultimate luxuries, and the best in desserts, wine, beer, and more.

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