Harry’s Bar Receives Eviction Notice

One of Harry’s Bar lunch specials: baccalà with caponata

Harry’s Bar captured the hearts of Florentines and tourists alike when it opened in 1953. Now, the famous restaurant faces the consequences of an eviction notice. 

On Thursday, July 20, the manager of Harry’s Bar, Roberto Monsellato, received an eviction notice from the property manager. The notice states that the restaurant failed to pay its rent and was non-compliant with requests to do so.  The restaurant closed that day and, for the moment, has not reopened.  Local trade unions are concerned about the future of the firm’s 22 employees.

The owners of Harry’s Bar, the Bechi brothers, appealed the eviction notice, specifically noting that they have paid every bill on-time, in full. The appeal touches on the negative impact that the eviction notice has on the restaurant’s brand and image. They are proprietors of Sina that manages both Harry’s Bar along the Arno River and Harry’s Bar, The Garden in the Villa Medici Hotel, which opened last year.  The premises of the former belong to Gin srl, a company owned by a Florentine family headed by Olivetti Rason.

The restaurant cemented itself in the city’s history by serving multiple generations of Florentines and visitors. Its atmosphere reflects the international spirit of Florence, while still reflecting Italian and local culture.  

Enrico Mariotti and Raffaello Sabatini created Harry’s Bar in 1953, when Florence wasn’t the bustling attraction that visitors know today, but a smaller, provincial city. As the first American bar in Florence, it was one of the only locations during that time where guests could eat and drink all day long. The softly-lit space is decorated with historical artwork of various views of Florence. Although the wood and aura of the inside may seem masculine, the pink walls and rose-colored table cloths create a juxtaposition that is both traditional and unique. The bar offered classic cocktails and Harry’s specialties, and an extensive wine list accompanies the à la carte menu.

Located at Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, 22/R, the outside patio allowed guests to take in the sweeping view of the Arno, at the same time that the inside captivated diners with its timelessness and romantic feel.

The Court of Appeals will investigate all claims and ultimately decide the fate of the historic restaurant. This is a developing story, more information will be posted when appropriate.  (Camila Fowler/additional reporting by Natasha Sokoloff)