The highly-anticipated Cuban cafe and bar El Libre will open its doors in the Quarter next week, Helen Freund reports. Though it recently appeared the cafe would open as a BYOB spot, co-owner Konrad Kantor verifies that in fact the spot has received its license to booze, which is good news, because he's a top name in the local bartending scene—most recently of Doris Metropolitan fame— and will run the bar program at El Libre.
What else to expect: A "jewel-box storefront" with artistic nods to Ernest Hemingway that partners Blake Lindberg, Konrad Kantor and Bruce Fowler stenciled and painted themselves. Two floors that seat 20+. A menu from chef Barbara Stamatelatos' that features Cubans and build-your-own breakfast items, and plenty of dessert items— "sweet plantain bread, rum-soaked drunken tres leches cake and an assortment of cookies" —from pastry chef Leah Tenace.
Add all that to Kantor's crafted daiquiris, Cuba libres and mojitos, or a cup of Cafe Bustelo, and you too may be transported back to a time when the air was filled with cigar smoke and danger and Hemingway was deep in his cat-hoarding phase.