10/17/13 - Havana Times - Havana's Cafe Fortuna: A State or Private Establishment?
HAVANA TIMES You open the door to Havanas Café Fortuna nestled beyond
a steep set of steps to the chimes of little bronze bells shaped like
If it werent for the glass counter before you, youd think you had
mistakenly stumbled into the living room of some extravagant collector.
A thin layer of dust covers the shelves, vintage Zenik camaras, Russian
nesting dolls, Selena-brand transistor radios and archaic reel-to-reel
recorders that surround you.
Before you can put your finger on what the ghoulish rag-doll hidden behind
the door, the metallic sheet advertising Candado-brand soap and the Soviet
sailor cap have in common, a waitress hands you a menu and invites you to
tour the rest of the place.
The cafe is an old house with three dimly-lit rooms and intensely-colored
walls, a place where curiously enough the volume of the background
music does not force customers to shout whilst conversing.
You can sit at a sewing table, inside a bathtub or on the landing of an
old, wooden staircase that leads nowhere (or, perhaps, the attic where the
hermit collector lives).
It might be hard to decide what you want to order with the 24 types of
Since youre in Cuba, you might be surprised by the fact the waitress does
not point out that about half of the menu items arent actually available.
Also, the coffee served at Café Fortuna isnt mixed with roasted
Sitting in the warm ambience of the café and smelling the sweet-tasting
infusions, you can almost persuade yourself the collector actually exists,
that he likes Picasso and has an obsession with typewriters.
When youve finished your coffee, these musings dissipate, inconsistencies
begin to appear and questions arise.
Is this a State or a private establishment?
What private establishment makes wallpaper out of cutouts from Cubas
Granma newspaper and statements by Hugo Chavez?
What State establishment doesnt have apathetic waiters, monotonous menus
and dreadful décor?
Located on 3rd and 28 streets, in Havanas residential neighborhood of
Miramar Playa, Café Fortuna is full the day through.
The menu includes a broad variety of infusions (from 0.70 to 2.75 Cuban
Convertible Pesos), imported beer and light (mostly cheese-based) snacks.
The waitresses and waiters are kind and accommodating.
You just have to ask, and find out Café Fortuna first opened its doors in
2006 and yes is in fact State property.
It is run by the same State that has set up dodgy junk-food stands in most
of Havanas neighborhoods and, in the best of cases, literary cafes that
have gradually run out of coffee and books over the years.
A visit to Café Fortuna and you might walk away thinking State management
can actually work
at least in the nicer part of town.
Original Source / Fuente Original:
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