Harry's New York Bar
Harry's New York Bar is a bar in Paris, France located at 5, Rue Daunou, between the Avenue de l'Opéra and the Rue de la Paix. The bar was acquired by former American star jockey Tod Sloan in 1911, who converted it from a bistro and renamed it the "New York Bar." Sloan had gone partners with a New Yorker named Clancy (no one seems to know his first name) who owned a bar in Manhattan. That bar was dismantled and shipped to Paris. Sloan then hired Harry MacElhone, a barman from Dundee, Scotland, to run the place.
At the time, American tourists and members of the artistic and literary communities were beginning to show up in Paris in ever-increasing numbers and Sloan hoped to capitalize on his fame and make the place a spot where expatriates would feel at home. His bar did become a popular spot for members of the American Field Service Ambulance Corps during World War I. However, financial problems from Sloan's overspending on a lavish personal lifestyle forced him to sell the bar.
In 1923, MacElhone, its former barman, bought the bar and added his name to it. He would be responsible for making it into a legendary Parisian landmark. When Harry died, in 1958, his son Andrew took over the bar and ran it until 1989. His son, Duncan, took over the bar and ran it unto his death in 1998, whereupon his widow, Isabelle MacElhone, took it over.
Over the years, Harry's New York Bar was frequented by a number of famous American expatriates and international celebrities such as Prince Serge Obolensky, Knute Rockne, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, Jeremy Shaffer, Efe Gures, Bill Tilden, Coco Chanel, Jack Dempsey, Primo Carnera, Ramon Novarro, Aly Khan, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart, Brendan Behan (who worked there circa 1948-49 according to his memoirs Confessions of an Irish Rebel), and even, occasionally, the Duke of Windsor.
In the 1960 Ian Fleming short story "From a View to a Kill", James Bond recalls visiting Harry's Bar during his first visit to Paris at age 16. He followed the instructions in Harry's advertisement in the Continental Daily Mail, and told his taxi driver 'Sank Roo Doe Noo'. He recalls "That had started one of the memorable evenings of his life, culminating in the loss, almost simultaneous, of his virginity and his notecase".
Other notable details
- The "Ivories" Piano Bar at Harry's is where George Gershwin composed An American in Paris.
- Harry's New York Bar is said to be the birthplace of classic cocktails such as the Bloody Mary, French 75, Side Car and Monkey gland.
- Harry's conducts a straw poll before each US presidential election, customers who provide proof of US citizenship can vote in the poll. The results have mirrored every election, except 1976, 2004, and 2016 since the poll began in 1924.
- Sturges, Preston. - p. 195, Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges: His Life in His Words. (1990). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-67929-5.
- "Andrew MacElhone, 73". New York Daily News. 21 Sep 1996.
- "Duncan MacElhone; Ran Harry's Bar in Paris". LA Times. 28 Mar 1998.
- "A century of Harry's Bar in Paris". BBC. 25 Nov 2011.
- Rob Chirico, Field Guide to Cocktails p. 66 and 189, 2005 by Quirk Productions. ISBN 1-59474-063-1
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