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Harry's Bar [Hardcover]

Arrigo Cipriani


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Book Description

24 Nov 2011
A meeting place for writers, artists, models, and the stars of stage, screen, and corporate boardrooms, a luxurious restaurant whose fabulous concoctions and timeless decor have often been imitated but never matched, Harry's Bar in Venice has remained one of the world's most renowned watering holes for more than sixty years. Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Sinclair Lewis, and other luminaries have tasted its famous cocktails and enjoyed the bar's original inventions, such as the "carpaccio" appetizer and the now-ubiquitous bellini. Filled with engaging wit and lighthearted charm, Arrigo Cipriani's history of Harry's Bar is a delight to read--and the next best thing to a table at Harry's Bar itself.

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Review

In his charming memoir, Mr. Cipriani tells how Hemingway liked to order . . . . [W]e find out how bellinis . . . came into existence, [and] why tablecloths shouldn't be green.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good service viewed as a calling 6 Jan 2005
By Andrew W. Johns - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's hard to believe that its been almost a year since I was in Venice, enjoying a cocktail at Harry's Bar one evening before dinner. This book sheds some light on the history and reputation of the establishment. However, in spite of the title, this book isn't just about Harry's Bar. It also has characteristics of a memoir, describing the author's experiences both in Venice and in New York, where two related establishments have existed at various times. There are also traces of a gossip column in here as well, as the author describes some of the rich and famous who have patronized Harry's Bar over the years.

This is a pleasant read, if a little shallow in content. Perhaps the most interesting element of this book (at least for me, anyway) is the author's views on what constitutes quality service. It is interesting to read an insider's rant against the popular trends in the hospitality industry. I also enjoy the descriptions of Venice, as they provided me with a wonderful chance to reflect on the beauty of that city.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Happens in Harry's Should Stay in Harry's 7 Dec 2007
By John F. Rooney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In November of 2007 in Harry's Bar, that venerable Venice institution, my friend and I had two small martinis each, and I bought a copy of this book which the wait staff gently push. The bill for the two drinks and the book was $132.00, so we know that Harry's is pricey. Giuseppe Cipriani founded the bar in 1931 with the financial aid of a wealthy American named Harry Pickering who provided the bar with its name. Pickering was a silent partner and within a few years Cipriani bought him out. This book is told by Giuseppe's son, Arrigo. The father apprenticed in every aspect of the hospitality industry and loved it.
Giuseppe picked out the small fifteen foot by thirty foot space which had been a cordage warehouse at the end of a dead end street on the lagoon right near St. Mark's Square. He espoused three things in his business: quality, a smile, and simplicity.
This is, of course, a puff piece, a self-serving promotion for the bar and its numerous other restaurants and enterprises. A touching scene is a description of the father's funeral with seven splendid gondolas and the sixteen magnificent gondoliers. The city's vaporini slowed to watch the procession pass.
Harry's was and is host to the famous of the world. Ernest Hemingway helped make the bar famous as did Orson Welles, Truman Capote, the Aga Khan, Barbara Hutton, and innumerable other celebs. It's a gossipy, kiss and tell-all book. One wishes at times that Arrigo would be more discreet in his stories. It should have been his dictum that what happened in Harry's stayed in Harry's.
The last half of the book is really well-padded and falls apart as the boastful Arrigo tells about establishing his New York empire. There is a chapter in which workmen natter on about nothing and a long-winded chapter containing what Arrigo thinks is the hilarious correspondence between himself and a customer.
The pureed peach and champagne cocktail called the Bellini was invented there, and is still the signature drink of the place. Carpaccio was popularized there.
Arrigo has a sharp tongue and is not afraid to be nasty and sarcastic about certain customers. It's a gotcha piece as well as a puff piece. Having been there several times, I can say that the Venice establishment does have a wonderful ambience, and the help are friendly. Oh, but those exorbitant prices are probably those most memorable feature of the place. But if you can't afford to play, don't suit for the game. May Harry's live forever. Cheers!
4.0 out of 5 stars Harry's Bar - a Venice Landmark 5 Jun 2014
By SueGrace - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An enjoyable view of Venetian recent history, Harry's Bar also shows interesting links between Venice and New York City which students and residents of both cities will will appreciate.
4.0 out of 5 stars ah Harrys bar a true destination . 2 Jun 2014
By alexander D - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
having enjoyed the bar ,the Bellinis , the carpaccio , the low key elegance of this place all captured in the understanding of the Roots and the Reality of a special place, delightfully portrayed in the book . easy to read and quite absorbing . First Prize visit the famous place, or read the story. with all its lessons of passion for serving people and adding real environment entertainment and great simple eating.. whetted my appetite for a revisit in the future.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellenct Reference Book 10 May 2009
By J. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an easy and enjoyable read that gives you a true look into the world of the Ciprianis. Includes original photos as well!
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