It’s tiny. It sits on a corner in an out of the way spot on the way back to Shacks Beach. If you don’t know it’s there, the only way you’ll find it by accident is if you’re going to Tropical Trailrides or one of the rentals along Playa Shacks. In just a few months drive-bys and word-of-of-mouth made Ola Lola’s a popular local watering hole.
Lola herself is a character, an expat Americano with a PhD in marine biology and “an eccentric by choice” who writes children’s books about marine life. One of her books about the sex life of a coral has been translated into Japanese and Chinese among other languages.
Her beer list is international with beers from Argentina (‘cause a local requested it), Japan (because she likes all things Japanese and plans to make Japan her next move), as well as the usual Corona, Coors Light, Heineken, and the local Medalla. She serves good wine, some she makes herself, in a place where wine – especially fine wine – is an afterthought. She makes a mean rum punch and the self-described “best margarita in the world.” (Is there a bar anywhere that doesn’t serve the “best margarita in the world?”)
Lola likes local. She serves cheese from a local cheesemaker right up the road. With the cheese she serves these incredible olives she packs and pickles herself in vinegar she makes herself. On Sunday night she has musica by local performers, guys who are carpenters and day labors but love music.
The clientele at Lola’s is as much a character as Lola. Last night a big wedding party packed the place after leaving the fancy resort up the road.
“Lola’s drinks are cheaper and better,” one guest said. A rum-and-coke (otherwise known as a Cuba Libre) is 3 USD at Lola’s, 6 USD at the resort. A Heineken is $2.50 at Lola’s, 5 bucks up the road.
The well-heeled wedding party sat cheek-by-jowl with four or five local day workers drinking a cold Medalla (the cheapest beer on the menu) on credit against tomorrow morning’s wages. A woman came in after work having passed countless other bars to get to Lola’s “’cause I like it here.”
Ola Lola’s is for sale. Lola want’s to move to Japan by New Year’s. We are thinking of buying the place. Would that be the ultimate expat cliché? Buying bar to move to another country. Maybe I can win it in a poker game.