FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar in Fort Lauderdale (800 E. Las Olas Blvd.) recently launched National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) with the unveiling of the rendering of “Esperanza” (Hope) – a Cuban-inspired mural by celebrated artist Erni Vales – on Tuesday, September 14, at 5 p.m., with a special happy hour featuring a meet and greet with the artist. The month-long celebration of hope will feature an “Esperanza Sparkling Mojito” and from October 1 to 15, a special prix-fixe “Esperanza” menu. At $39, the three-course meal includes numerous traditional dishes from the restaurant’s regular menu, as well as a limited-time reintroduction of a pre-COVID favorite and classic Cuban entrée, Vaca Frita.
Inspired by the recent uprising in Cuba and representing a renewed hope for the Cuban people, the mural, which will be 85 feet long and cover more than 1,500 square feet, will be painted on the SE 8th Ave. wall of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar. The original construction of Cuba Libre and support of this mural project was led by Broward County general contractor RCC Associates of Deerfield Beach.
“I am honored to have been chosen to bring to life ‘Esperanza’ for Cuba Libre,” said Vales. “My intention for this mural is for it to inspire continued hope for the Cuban people living on the island and their loved ones in South Florida and beyond. The flower shown on the mural is Cuba’s national flower and is its most famed orchid, known generally as the White Mariposa, symbolizing independence and purity. The sunburst signifies a hope for a new day along with the numbers on the dominoes marking a day of remembrance to reflect the significant date of July 11, 2021, when a series of solidarity marches broke out in the streets of Cuba and S.O.S. Cuba and Patria Y Vida became rallying cries and trending hashtags.”
Best known for his development of the 3D graffiti style that has influenced thousands worldwide, Vales is a Miami-based creative powerhouse, having created artwork for more than four decades across a variety of mediums, including graffiti clothing (L.E.S. Clothing, Miami), furniture with Ferra Design, canvas painting for galleries, street murals on subway cars and walls and notably, a 13-year collaboration with famed photographer David LaChapelle on widely seen shots of Madonna, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Lil Kim among others.
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Vales began painting the mural on Wednesday, September 15, at 9 a.m. and expects “Esperanza” to be finished within two weeks. An official unveiling of the completed work is set to take place on Monday, October 4, with a dedication ceremony and the announcement of an online auction of an NFT (non-fungible token) of Vales’ original work, culminating on the one-year anniversary of the uprising, the proceeds of which will benefit non-profit Cuba Decide.
“We are proud to showcase the ‘Esperanza’ mural at our Las Olas location to not only celebrate Hispanic Heritage, but to continue to bring awareness to the ongoing fight for freedom in Cuba,” said Cuba Libre’s Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot. “We want to amplify the message of hope by supporting a cause that is working tirelessly to fulfill the dream of a democratic Cuba.”
Inspired by the theme of the mural, guests are invited to raise a glass to freedom as Cuba Libre launches its new “Esperanza Sparkling Mojito” a limited time offering crafted by Cuban-born and Miami-bred master mixologist and U.S. Ambassador for Bacardi’s Havana Club brand rum, Giovanny Gutierrez, who was behind the bar at the mural design unveiling event. Happy hour guests enjoyed samples of the new cocktail passed by Havana Club promotional models and were able to purchase fresh cigars rolled live by Gables Cigars of Coral Gables. To further support Cuba Decide, a portion of the proceeds from each cigar sold that evening as well as from the sales of the new cocktail throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month will benefit the organization.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to celebrate, honor and reflect on the rich and diverse Latin cultures,” added Guillermo Pernot. “We look forward to celebrating this exciting time with our guests.”
The National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration will continue on Friday, September 24, with the launch of Cuba Libre’s highly-anticipated nightlife programming already enjoyed by guests at Cuba Libre’s four other East Coast locations. Diners are sure to catch Cuba Libre’s festive vibe as the restaurant transforms to welcome Latin music lovers every Friday and Saturday night. Professional salsa dancers will take to the floor for tableside performances beginning at 9 p.m. to lead the gradual transition from dinner service to the opening of the dance floor at 11 p.m. Guest will enjoy dancing to well-known DJs spinning Latin dance music, a dazzling light show, special effects and live specialty acts till 3 a.m.
About Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar is located at 800 East Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The popular concept, now with five locations, launched to much critical acclaim in Philadelphia in 2000, followed by Atlantic City in 2004, Orlando in 2008, Washington, D.C. in 2010 and Fort Lauderdale in April 2021, providing guests with a passport to Cuba’s intriguing flavors and cuisine. The restaurant’s name, which translates to “a free Cuba,” signifies hope for the future of the treasured island nation. The company’s mission is to provide an “escape” to Havana through exciting food, beverage and entertainment experiences that celebrate the Cuban people and culture. Two-time James Beard award-winning Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot’s menus feature tantalizing tastes that reflect Cuba’s culinary traditions, as well as the emerging modern cuisine that he is experiencing during his continuing travels to Cuba. Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar is poised for expansion into new markets with multiple new locations being planned. Principals Barry Gutin and Larry Cohen bring a unique combination of hospitality and expertise to each of their projects and have been partners in the hospitality business since 1995. For more information, please visit www.CubaLibreRestaurant.com.