Papa's Potables at Hemingway's
by scott huver
“Drining is a way of ending the day,” offered Ernest Hemingway, who knew whereof he wrote. The new Hollywood Boulevard nightspot Hemingway’s offers an appropriately lit-chic environment for closing out the day over cocktails, a paean to “Papa.”
Conceived by nightlife impresario Johnny Zander (Tropicana Bar, Teddy’s), Hemingway’s eschews the machismo brio associated with the bullfight-loving bard in favor of a gentleman-of-letters, library-inspired drinking den. Towering shelves and columns loaded with books (10,000 vintage volumes snared from estate and yard sales and aesthetically hand-placed by Zander himself) and a wall boasting more than 50 time-worn typewriters, each with a sheet of paper bearing a notable line crafted by Papa, surround a recreation of a 1931 etching of Hemingway’s hand—his creative conduit in life, art and, yes, drinking. “His hands—that’s who he was,” says Zander.
|Ernest Hemingway (MIDDLE) with a couple of drinking buddies|
Researching a Legend
The thematic notion “started when I began researching photographs of Hemingway, and many of them were of him at a desk with his typewriter, surrounded by books,” says Zander, a former Lagerfeld model who lived in Paris and visited other fabled Hemingway haunts like Cuba and Key West, melding inspirations. The main room is decidedly Parisian, the foyer an homage to the exotic ports of call. The drink menu honors the Hemingway canon: Spanish sherries and cocktails named for his tales, crafted with liquors and ingredients culled from locales where he crafted his prose. The scenemakers are a more refined crew from the increasingly eclectic east-of-Cahuenga end. Crowds and the volume of DJ music are carefully controlled to encourage conversation and an appreciation of the atmosphere. The venue even has the blessing of its namesake’s ultimate Hollywood product: his granddaughter Mariel.
The author wrote that his aim was to put to paper what he saw and felt in “the best and simplest way.” As a smart and spare but vibrant nightspot, Hemingway’s matches that standard. Papa, we imagine, would be proud. 6356 Hollywood Blvd.
photograph by john bryson/sygma/corbis (hemingway)