Sloan created the bar after becoming frustrated in his search for a quality cocktail in Paris. He had gone into partnership with a New York American named Clancy, who owned a bar in Manhattan. Clancys bar was dismantled and moved to Paris, piece by piece, where it was put back together. Thus, the New York bistro found itself in a new environment, where it would become a bit of an oddity for more reasons than its unlikely journey.
The bar found popularity as more and more Americans flocked to France before the First World War. The bar was sold in 1923 due to the troubles brought on by Sloans lavish lifestyle and financial misgivings. It was then acquired by MacElhone and it became Harrys New York Bar (in Paris). Eighty-nine years later, the bar remains owned by the MacElhone family.
The bar became a favorite of great American writers who found their way to Paris, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as actors such as Clint Eastwood and Humphrey Bogart.
Many great cocktails were also invented in Harrys Bar, including the Bloody Mary in 1921.
But perhaps the most interesting of all things that originate from the establishment is the ability to predict US presidential elections. Since 1924, the establishment has run micro-elections, and only twice has their outcome been proven wrong.
Only American citizens are allowed to vote in the elections, and they must provide a passport to prove they are a valid citizen. There is no multiple voting, and the details of those who have voted are kept separate.
"We ask Americans to show us their passports," said MacElhone, "Then they are given voting papers."
Thus far, nearly 300 ballots were cast, with Obama leading Romney by 32 votes (55.3% to 44.6%).
Harrys Bar stressed it is impartial to whom votes, and that all are welcome to participate. "We are the place where both Democrats and Republicans come for a drink. Everybody speaks to one another."
And how influential is the Harrys Bar poll? Isabelle MacElhone is not in any doubt. Smiling, she said,
"I was told that the White House telephones Harry's Bar on the evening of the vote without saying who is calling to find out the state of play with polling. I havent been able to verify this, but thats the way legend has it.
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