Chapter 3

Havana between the World Wars

Prior to World War II, Havana served as a rich man’s playground and, during the 1920s, an escape from the restrictions of Prohibition. A national casino, thoroughbred racetrack, elite country clubs, and new hotels catered to America’s upper class. Those thirsty for a legal drink hopped about the S.S. Florida for Havana’s nearest taverns of which the most famous was Sloppy Joe’s. Of Havana’s hostelries, the magnificent Hotel Nacional de Cuba welcomed presidents and royalty after opening in 1930.

Havana between the World Wars