HARRY’S BAR – THE BEGINNING
On May 13, 1931, Giuseppe Cipriani opened Harry’s Bar in Venice. Located on the first floor of an abandoned rope warehouse off a dead end in Piazza San Marco, Harry’s Bar was designed to be destination in its own right. Named a national Italian landmark in 2001, this intention could not have been more fully realized.
At 50 square meters, it appeared to be a typical ‘cozy’ Venetian restaurant, but with the careful attention to detail and perfectly proportioned furniture, glasses and cutlery, Harry’s Bar was anything but typical. For years, the famously relaxed atmosphere has been imitated, but never reproduced.
In the 88 years that have followed its opening, Harry's Bar has become one of the most famous restaurants in the world. Unchanged since 1931 and staying true to its founding principles, Harry’s Bar has catered to a distinguished group of patrons who have gravitated towards this Italian institution. From Kings, Queens and Hollywood legends to Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Queen Elizabeth II and Truman Capote. Harry’s Bar has had a devoted clientele over the years whose appreciation of attentive service, good cuisine and a uniquely charming atmosphere brought them back time and again. The restaurant has been and continues to be overseen by Arrigo Cipriani.
In 1981, Arrigo opened Harry’s Dolci on the Island of Giudecca in Venice, an oasis of tranquility in the busy city. Located next to and old mill with the restaurant tables carefully placed along the front of the city’s largest canal, it delights patrons with views across the water to Piazza, San Marco. Like Harry’s Bar in Venice, Harry’s Dolci has not only become a local favorite, but a coveted spot for visitors to escape the frenzied city.
ACROSS AN OCEAN
Cipriani’s establishments in Venice became so popular that demand for them spread to the Middle East, Asia and the other side of the Atlantic. The unique atmosphere and simple, yet elegant, style of these much loved Venetian bars was bound for New York City.
Cipriani’s introduction to New York was in 1985, when Arrigo and his son, Giuseppe, opened Harry Cipriani on a corner of the majestic Central Park, located at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue. So successful was the enterprise that in 1996, Giuseppe opened Cipriani Downtown in SoHo. The Cipriani family’s talent in selecting locations was again apparent, as Cipriani Downtown opened long before SoHo became the exciting, eclectic neighborhood and hotspot for restaurants and shopping that it is today.
In 1998, Rockefeller Center approached Cipriani to take over operations for the Rainbow Room, the epitome of Manhattan luxury, with its spectacular skyline views and rich Art Deco interior. The Rainbow Room was a natural fit for the Cipriani portfolio. Cipriani became the guardian of this famed New York icon, until its lease terminated in June 2009.
The Cipriani brand continued its expansion in New York with Cipriani 42nd Street, another upscale banquet enterprise, which opened in 1999 in a landmark building that was previously the famous headquarters of the Bowery Savings Bank and dates back to 1921. It is remarkable for its ornate architecture and is located opposite another landmark, Grand Central Terminal. The marble floor mosaics are seen by many as reminiscent of St. Mark's basilica in Venice. Glamorous, elegant and now imbued with the Cipriani attitude for the good life, Cipriani 42nd Street quickly established itself as a New York institution.
Near the end of 2004, Giuseppe Cipriani partnered with a well-known developer to acquire a beautiful landmark building at 55 Wall Street that previously served as the Merchant’s Exchange and the New York Customs House. Much to the delight of local Wall Street professionals and international business people alike, the first Cipriani Club Residences opened in 2005, which was followed by the opening of Cipriani Club 55 in 2008. These Club Residences are the first in a long line of planned developments for Cipriani in cities around the world. Giuseppe had a greater vision for this downtown landmark and purchased the grand ballroom to add to the Cipriani portfolio of upscale banquet facilities in New York City. Cipriani Wall Street has hosted some of the most elegant social events and galas, including the well-known Cipriani Wall Street Concert Series. Recently added to the event portfolio is the Iconic Cunard Building space at 25 Broadway another landmark interior and exterior building that is known as the most romantic space in the world. Cipriani Miami Restaurant (2013).
TO THE EAST AND BEYOND
In the spring of 2003, Cipriani opened Cipriani Hong Kong, a restaurant on the 12th floor of the Old Bank of China building, a splendid Art Deco environment that harks back to the splendor of the 1920’s. Cipriani partnered with Chinese business mogul, Sir David Tang to create one of the most prestigious private members clubs in China.
In May 2012, two more locations were added to the European Portfolio: Cipriani Monte Carlo and Downtown Ibiza.
In 2010, looking this time into the Middle East, Cipriani launched Cipriani Yas Island, a complete luxury, hospitality destination for the UAE. In 2015, Mexico City (Cipriani Masaryk), Cipriani Dubai, Socialista (Dubai) and Socialista (London) opened.
In 2018 Cipriani Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Cipriani Las Vegas opened.