Founded in 1962 by an American, everyone knows that Red Garter has already blown out over 50 birthday candles. However, the story behind Red Garter’s founder might still be unfamiliar information to many of you.
The man that brought America to Florence was called John Francis or “Jack” Correa, and he was in love with this city. So much so that he not only decided to move here but also to open a place completely different from anywhere else in Florence at that time.
He did this in Santa Croce, one of the most beautiful and touristic areas (although it has evolved quite a bit since then), so that the Americans who came to spend time in the city would have a place to meet and feel at home. In the end those four walls of the bar, furnished with recycled material and a lot of elbow grease, became a bit like home for him as well.
Correa exported the American Red Garter brand from Italy, which included a series of bars scattered around the United States born at the end of the nineteenth century as refreshment saloons for gold prospectors and merchants. He used a “giarrettiera rossa” (the translation of a red garter) as the characteristic logo.
Not long after, the Red Garter in Florence would also become a bar known for its banjo bands. However, it wasn’t simply Florentine musicians imitating an unknown culture. They were actually American bands that Correa had brought over from the United States. In a few years, Red Garter
became a symbol for those who wanted to enjoy a real part of American culture.
Over the years, these banjo bands were replaced by other musical genres. At the express wish of Correa, Monday evenings became dedicated exclusively to jazz, a genre of which he was a passionate listener.
Over the years the Red Garter has certainly changed, but what remains is the heart of his Florentine dream – a place to simply have fun, meet different people, and feel a little more at home in a foreign country.