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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Trader Vic's/Polinesio, Havana, Cuba (restaurant)
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Trader Vic's/Polinesio, Havana, Cuba (restaurant)
Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 486
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2013-04-17 10:46 pm   Permalink

I was watching your trip on FB. Looks like a blast, especially for a bunch of guys who appreciate classic cars like you all do. Thanks for the clear shot of the classic Trader Vic lamp... you should make some of those. I'd buy one for sure! I've always wanted one...

[ This Message was edited by: Trad'r Bill 2013-04-17 22:47 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11415
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-04-18 09:51 am   Permalink

Very good guys, did Notch bring the Pete Moruzzi book? I am very happy to see the trip came to such a successful fruition!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 03, 2003
Posts: 861
From: San Jose, CA
Posted: 2013-04-18 3:03 pm   Permalink

We actually have 3 copies now amongst the 4 of us. I've read it through twice. Excellent book! We did have a copy with us which helped out in our journeys. Did you see our pics on FB, Sven?

Stephen and Bill, I think Cuba is calling you guys too. Do it!

Custom Tapa Swag Lamps and Sconces Built By Kahaka

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2008
Posts: 236
From: Port Saint Lucie, FL
Posted: 2014-11-10 3:35 pm   Permalink

not much, but you can see a bit of the outside of Trader Vic's at 0:26



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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posts: 1551
From: Long Beach, CA via Dallas, TX
Posted: 2014-12-19 10:12 am   Permalink

They might see a spike in business when US travel opens up shortly.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11415
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2015-01-16 12:36 pm   Permalink

Indeed! :

That sounds very good! And folks, you have your travel guide in this here book at hand!:


This and more from author Pete Moruzzi:

>>Touring the Mafia’s Havana Hangouts of 1950s Cuba<<

Now that restrictions have eased for U.S. travel to Cuba, the former mafia-run restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels of pre-revolution Havana await rediscovery.

There are an amazing number of sites that have survived 55 years of neglect in Havana that give the feeling of a time when mobsters like Meyer Lansky and Santo Trafficante Jr. ran the roulette wheels, crap games, and card tables in posh joints across the city. In my book “Havana Before Castro: When Cuba Was a Tropical Playground” I focus on the incredible history of the American mafia – the Mob – in Cuba.

By 1958, the Mob had finally completed their fabulous hotels and casinos that were transforming Havana into the Las Vegas of the Caribbean. Take a walk to the corner of 21st and N streets where you’ll find Santo Trafficante’s ultra-mod 1956 Hotel Capri. On the morning of the revolution, casino host George Raft stood atop a craps table and successfully held back the pitchforked mob by offering a free buffet in exchange for not torching the place. Since then the hotel’s been renovated but it continues to evoke a cool midcentury modern vibe.

Wandering down the hill to the bottom of 21st Street you’ll find the historic Hotel Nacional de Cuba that overlooks the sea. Built in 1930, the Nacional hosted Lucky Luciano’s infamous 1946 mafia summit attended by the biggest gangsters of the era, including Lansky, Trafficante, Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia, Vito Genovese, Joe Adonis, Joe and Rocco Fischetti, and Moe Dalitz. On hand to entertain was the young mob-darling Frank Sinatra. Explore the hotel and then relax on the veranda with a frosty mojito and President Kennedy’s favorite Cuban cigar, a Montecristo No. 2.

Just down the seaside highway from the Nacional is Meyer Lansky’s spectacular Havana Riviera, a 21-story midcentury modern masterpiece built in 1957. It’s as over-the-top as the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, yet as sleek and sophisticated as the Rat Pack’s Sands Hotel once was in Las Vegas. In fact, the Havana Riviera is now the best-preserved example of a swank 1950s Vegas/Miami Beach resort hotel in the world. Standing in the lobby you are transported to the height of pre-Castro glamour as it once existed in Havana. Go there before some clown remakes it into yet another sterile Hyatt or Marriott.

Visible from anywhere in the city, the towering, elegant 1958 Habana Hilton at the crest of 23rd street was renamed the Habana Libre when Castro took over on New Year’s Day. Just one year earlier, feared capo Albert Anastasia had been murdered while getting a shave at a New York hotel reportedly because he had pushed too hard in trying to take control of the Habana Hilton’s yet-to-open casino. The hotel also houses a former Trader Vic’s Polynesian bar/restaurant. Renamed the “Polinesio,” it has been in a Cinderella slumber, remaining an unaltered example of the style. While the food and drinks may have suffered, the Tiki Modern décor is astounding.

Scattered around Havana are other Mob-controlled hotels and upscale restaurants, including the hotels Deauville and St. Johns, and the Louis XIV style Monseigneur restaurant (with Meyer Lansky as part owner) located across from the Hotel Nacional. A map on page 180 of my book provides addresses for you to explore all of these mob-related sites.

There has never been a better time to immerse yourself in Havana’s mafia-related past. Go now.<<



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2015-01-16 12:38 ]

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