In 1942, Angel Martínez bought out the small Bodega La Complaciente in Empedrado Street, in the old Havana district. He renamed the place Casa Martínez. Angel Martínez sold typical Cuban products and, from time to time, served dinner to the regulars. But mainly, the people who were found at the Casa Martínez, were there to have a drink with their friends, and savor a brand new cocktail called Mojito, made with rum, mint, sugar, lemon and club soda.
In 1949, the cook Silvia Torres aka “la china” prepared the food. Very quickly, the Casa Martínez became the centre of Havana’s cultural effervescence. Attracted by the bohemian charm of the place, writers, choreographers, musicians or journalists met there in a convivial ambiance. Encouraged by a need for restaurants in the Old Havana at the end of the 1950s, the place started to serve food to everyone.
Numerous writers, artists and celebrities were regulars of the Bodeguita : Ernest Hemingway , the poet Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gabriela Mistral, Agustín Lara, Nat King Cole, Nicolás Guillén, Julio Cortázar, Joan Manuel Serrat, Margaux Hemingway and Salvador Allende