Harry's Bar is one of my most favorite spots in Venice, and definitely a place I would not want to miss when visiting.
It was founded in 1931 by Giuseppe Cipriani, and it is still run by the Cipriani family. Giuseppe's son Arrigo (italian for Harry) was born a year after it opened, and he started to work in the family business age nineteen. To this day, he makes his rounds greeting his guests, or joins them for coffee or a chat.
Famoulsy, Giuseppe Cipriani invented the Bellini cocktail (the main ingredients are peach and prosecco) and - a perhaps a little less known fact- the Carpaccio dish (both inventions were named after italian painters). And according to DH, their special dry Martini is excellent too.
Harry's Bar has a rich and colorful history, which is why it has been declared a national landmark in 2001. It was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway and Humprhey Bogart, and today's clientele is still very much the same eclectic mix of people who've frequented Harry's Bar for decades: some are well known, others are long-time local regulars and then there are visitors from all over the world, from all walks of life. The backdrop is a seemingly unchanging decor and setting, and even the way the staff operates feels exactly how I remember it from my very first visit, almost twenty years ago. The combination of all this creates a compelling and special atmosphere, which I have not found in any other place to this day.
The low tables and chairs make for a cosy, intimate and comfortable seating (ask for a corner table in the back of the room). We were lucky when we had our lunch... (the très charmant) Harry told us that we were surrounded by Venetian families (the night before we came for a quick drink, and it seemed that there were just as many tourists as in the whole of St Mark's Square).
the food is fresh, simple and delicious
and the Carpaccio simply perfect
The upstairs dining room is small, cosy and beautiful, and offers breathtaking views over the Grand Canal and the Canal San Marco ~ perfect for private functions
However, I prefer downstairs... it is such fun, and there is so much to see.
Harry's Bar, Calle Vallaresso 1323 (right next to St Mark's Square), Venice, Tel: +39 041 528 5777
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