Brian Minkel

People of O-Town

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Living on tips doesn’t bother him. He sees it as a way to earn instant gratification for his work.

“I like the immediate satisfaction,” Brian Minkel said. “Someone who’s project-driven, they have to wait for that. Serving someone to help them have a better day is rewarding.”

Minkel, 45, is a bartender at Burton’s Thornton Park and has lived in Orlando since 2001. Minkel moved to Orlando from Wisconsin because his mother and sister live here. He also said it’s a great place for people of his profession to live.

“It’s a hospitality town,” Minkel said. “It’s what I’ve done my whole life.”

Bussing tables at the age of 15, Minkel has been in the service industry since he could work. He started bartending at 21.

The downtown lifestyle appeals to him. Being able to walk to get where you need to go is something that suburbs don’t have. He lives five blocks from work.

“I love living downtown,” Minkel said. “Being able to walk to work and just being part of the neighborhood.”

He also volunteers as the vice president of the local chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild. The group meets monthly to discuss new drink recipes, network with fellow bartenders and share job openings.

“It helps people have pride,” Minkel said. “I mean, this is a profession, not just a part-time job for some of us.”

The meetings also allow local breweries to come in and showcase their new brews. Companies will share their spirits with the guild to hopefully sell to the bartenders’ respective bars.

Outside of work, Minkel likes to golf and go out to the Lodge and Casey’s with his co-workers.

“Without just saying that I like to hang out in bars every once in a while — which I do like to do — I like to golf,” Minkel said.

And his favorite drink? Margarita on the rocks.

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