Photos: Otmaro Rodríguez
Centrally located KingBar has become one of the hottest nightspots in Havana.
This venture in El Vedado, which has become a multigenerational family business, was begun five years ago by the Romero Padilla family. Originally intended as a restaurant designed for a diverse clientele, the high demand in the evenings led them to modify their concept. Commemorating this first five-year period, and in an effort to stay current with international trends, they’re now a tapas bar.
Where there used to be tables and chairs for diners, we sit on comfortable sofas with coffee tables that are ideal for relaxing: these days “the King,” as many people call it, serves cocktails and tapas with a chilled-out vibe. The furniture is made of recycled materials integrated into the rustic chic style where the color red and dim lights predominate in the decoration. The interior exudes a joy for the art of performance, and reminds us of the place’s maxim on one of its walls: “All we need is love.”
The King is bohemian, natural, urban, hypnotic, cosmopolitan, and very contemporary—every encounter here is a celebration. Even the flavors and textures are partying while the various snack offerings are served—the KingBar and campesino platters from the grill, bruschetta, and a cheese platter with five types of cheese, one for each year the place has been open.
Art accompanies everything on offer at KingBar. At the entrance there’s an interesting sculpture by artist Oscar Álvarez—whom the staff calls the “house sculptor”—who participated in the aesthetic conception of the place.
When the team was asked about the establishment’s success, they responded almost in unison that one of the greatest strengths of this venture is the service, thanks to the quality, sense of belonging, and energy of its staff, which pleases even the most demanding customers. “We serve everyone equally, with the same dedication. It’s an honor that they’ve chosen us and we thank all our clients for their loyalty since the start,” said one of the managers.
Its founders say that KingBar was conceived as a place without prejudice or stigma, where visitors can feel free to be themselves and the main goal is to be happy. “Many love stories have been born between these walls. It’s a refuge for the soul to be free, a place they’ll always want to return. A place for gatherings and unforgettable memories where friends from all over the world come back to. A place where no one should judge anyone else, where there’s no place for intolerance, and only one thing is king: the customer.”