What are Thad Vogler's favorite cities to visit?
I go to Havana about once a year, and it’s just an amazing city. Like every great city, it’s got an unbelievable sense of place. Architecturally, it’s kind of a time warp — if you can imagine development stopping in 1959, and endless innovation and maintenance with very little resources. Everything is sort of beautifully decayed, but also perfectly representative of that period, of the late 1950s. And also, in the 19th century and early 20th century, it was a grand city, very Parisian in layout. It has the same feel as New Orleans with those avenues of row houses with balconies and three- and four-story architecture.
There are a few bars there that I’m really drawn to there. They are immaculate jewels that operate the way they were in the '50s and even before. Floridita is my favorite bar in the world. It’s been operating continuously for 100 years in downtown Havana. They still wear the same waistcoats, and they still make drinks in very much the same way. The bar in Hotel Nacional is the same way. There’s also a place called La Bodeguita del Medio in Old Havana — people claim it’s where the mojito was born.
I also lived in Paris for a while. Paris is just awesome on the cellular level — you just can’t walk a block without encountering something beautiful or delicious.