Historic Harry's bar in Venice frequented by Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles close to being tapped out

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 18, 2012 09:30 hrs

Italy's economic crisis has left the iconic Harry's Bar in Venice close to being tapped out, which was a popular stop on the celebrity circuit, counting Truman Capote, Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles, Arturo Toscanini among its regulars, who had a favorite table there.

Founded in 1931, the bar soon became a favorite of European aristocrats as well as prominent artists and writers

In 1948, Giuseppe Cipriani invented the Bellini, which later became one of Italy's most popular cocktails.

Harry's Bar boomed as foreigners flocked to Venice, lured by its stylish furnishings and classic Italian cuisine.

It was particularly popular among Americans, who made it a must-see for a Venetian vacation, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The restaurant's prominence among American tourists only grew when the Ciprianis opened restaurants in New York and Los Angeles.

The bar is drowning in debt, struggling with a decline in American patrons and battling to cut labor costs.

According to the report, Harry's Bar inventor of the Prosecco-and-peach puree cocktail known as the Bellini has turned to a distressed-debt fund to revive its business.

"The banks told us that we've hit a limit," Arrigo Cipriani, the bar's 80-year-old owner and son of the founder, said in an interview.


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