If you’ve read Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, you know all about his hand-to-mouth days as a young writer in 1920s Paris. Oh, those romantic days, when the fireplaces weren’t simply ornamental, when fisherman worked the Seine, when a young man — Hem — could spend his days poor, happy, and writing in cafés, and his nights drinking at the Ritz Hotel with the epoch’s literati: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound…
Inspired by the book, we decided to have a drink at the Ritz’s famous Bar Hemingway, a tidy, cozy corner decked out in Hemingway memorabilia. Except, when we got there, the tiny bar was full (of Americans). No problem, we were offered a table in the adjacent bar and promised a spot in Le Bar Hemingway as soon as one came available. We waited. We sipped our icy martinis — I especially enjoyed a martini a la framboise, augmented, as our waiter informed me in Australian-accented French, “with just the essence of framboise” (he spoke the truth — it was not at all sweet, but delightfully fruity) — we munched bar snacks. We had almost given up hope.
But then hope arrived in the form of a white-jacketed waiter, who whisked us to a tiny table (photo above) in the Bar Hemingway. We wedged ourselves in and finished our drinks. I admired some of the photos of Hem and first wife, Hadley. We considered having a second round. Decided against it. We got the bill.
Would you like to guess, mes amis, the cost of two martinis chez Bar Hemingway?
Looks like we’ll be taking our feast elsewhere in the future. Good thing it’s moveable.