The photo below is of Museo Chicote at Via Gran 12 in Madrid. Previously known as Chicote’s, from when founder Pedro Chicote opened his eponymous lounge in 1931.
It was a favorite watering hole for Ernest Hemingway, back when he worked for a news syndicate with offices up the street at Via Gran 28.
And over the decades it’s been patronized by many rich and famous people, including Salvador Dali, Sophia Loren, Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra.
There are photos of all of them on the wall above the bar and elsewhere in the lounge.
But one person clearly ranks over everyone else: Sinatra. And the decorative signage outside the lounge makes that clear.
The sign with Sinatra’s name- his first and last name- is both wider and taller, though these photos don’t show it. The largest letters, other than “MUSIC” are for Sinatra’s first name. Followed by the only name needed to refer to the guy.
Over on the right side of the frontage, “Hemingway” not only doesn’t get a first name, he has to share the sign with Ava Gardner, who does get her first named used, though with really small typeface. (Kinda ironic, in light of the fact that Sinatra really yearned to share any space with the lovely and sensual Gardner, who reportedly broke his heart after a passionate but failed love affair.)
Or maybe I have it all wrong, and Mr. Chicote felt that Hemingway was such a presence that he didn’t need a first name?
OK. Sure. Why not.
Though I suspect the real reason is that lots more people listen to music recordings than read books.
Hemingway was a literary lion. But Sinatra made teenage girls wet their panties with excitement, women swoon and men overheat with jealousy.
No matter how much Hemingway drank or how many animals he killed, he couldn’t match that.
Sinatra has his own photo out at the front of the restaurant, all smiling and “ring-a-ding-ding” looking.
Ernie has his picture prominently displayed with Mr Chicote, clinking glasses at the bar. With his name beside the photo. As does Grace Kelly, pictured below Hemingway, looking rather like she’s in no mood to bend an elbow at the moment.
Other more recent but less legendary celebrities are pictured, but not named. Like Hugh Grant, in the upper right of the photo below.
Museo Chicote is a great place on a great avenue. Excellent in its own right, even without it’s long history.
And lots of fun to sit and ponder if you’re drinking at the very same spot where Hemingway or Picasso or Ray Milland or Sinatra once sat.
Though somehow I can’t picture Sinatra anywhere but a booth, holding court. After all, he was The Chairman of the Board.
Btw, who’s this guy, anyways? Seems awful young to be drinking.