PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston December 2022

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32 Password: Havana By Billy Fong. Photography Élio Nogueira. Clutch, from $1,095 E m i l i a 's H a v a n a , a speakeasy loaded with mystery, is restaurateur Ben Berg's latest entry into his ever-expanding hospitality empire. With its access hidden behind pantry doors in The Annie Café & Bar's kitchen, the boîte is inspired by dark, smoky Havana of the 1950s when nightclubs flourished, the bossa nova was king, and Hemingway called it home. With live bossa nova beats nightly, ferns and palms wave in a tropical milieu, monkeys frolic across wallpaper, a massive crystal chandelier is suspended amid swaths of silk, and a rum fountain pours forth in the midst of the bar. Berg tapped Julep's James Beard Award-winning bar owner Alba Huerta to create the cocktail menu with variations on the Cuba libre, daiquiri, el Presidente, and mojito. Bar food includes two caviar presentations, lobster corn empanadas, duck Cubano, truffle tartar, snapper and scallops ceviche, and king crab croquetas. With only 50 seats, Berg is so certain that this will be the place to be that he's confident in adding premiums to the bill: All reservations are charged $50 per person entertainment fee, the first seating minimum check is $100 per person, and the second seating minimum check is $150 per person. Let's not quibble over Cuba. Two seatings, 7 and 10 pm. DJs add to the late-night scene on Friday and Saturday. Emilia's Havana, The Annie Café & Bar, 1800 Post Oak Blvd., By Shelby Hodge. Photography Brian Kennedy.

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