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Bulla’s bar manager tells us his secret to getting drinks quick

Bulla Gastrobar
Photograph: Courtesy Bulla Gastrobar

Anyone who’s stepped foot in Bulla Gastrobar on a Friday afternoon knows that getting a drink at the bar requires some stealth maneuvering—the Coral Gables restaurant remains one of Miami’s hottest happy hours. But it’s not all lost for those who bravely venture here, especially if you heed bar manager Joel Mesa’s advice. 

Bulla seems to have a lot of regulars. Is that a coincidence?

I’ve always encouraged my guests to talk to each other, so introducing one stranger to another is a very usual thing. That’s how we’ve slowly built our constant clientele—and that’s one of the reasons why the bar is always busy during happy hour.

Bulla happy hours are notoriously busy. What should a customer do to get a bartender’s attention?

We train our bartenders to take care of the second layer of guests standing behind those seated at the bar, but Fridays are a challenge. You’ve got two options: Wave cash in the air—that always works—or ask the person in front of you to order your drink. A lot of guys at Bulla will order drinks for ladies at the bar. Guys in Coral Gables always like to be the hero.

What is your hangover cure?

Get out of your head and stop thinking it’s a hangover—they don’t exist. Sweat it out, and if that doesn’t work, take two Advil, drink a Gatorade and put on a pair of sunglasses. Denial, exercise and plenty of electrolytes.


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