A Day In The Life: Drew Atkin


Drew Atkin. Photo by Hubert Bonnet

Name: Drew Atkin

Age: 57

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Princeton, NJ. (The “preppiest” town in America.)

Where do you live? I live in Minneapolis’s North Loop Neighborhood. I love the energy of this part of town. Unique bars and restaurants give me plenty of ideas for new cocktail recipes.

Who do you live with? I live with my husband James, and my dog, Wrigley. We just got married this past Valentine’s Day in Las Vegas.

What is your occupation? After a successful career as an entrepreneur I retired and started Bartending By Drew. BBD is a private bartending service. We specialize in corporate events, social events, and weddings for the LGBTQ community. Many of our staff come from the best restaurants and bars in town. I also bartend at the Bank Restaurant in the Westin, Minneapolis. We have a great happy hour. Come visit.

When did you come out? 2014—I was a late bloomer. It’s great to live in a city that is so supportive of our community.

How’d that go? Of course, like many, I thought it was going to be a disaster.  It turned out to be exactly the opposite! My entire family and close network of friends have been so supportive.

When do you wake up? I’m usually bartending until after midnight so I’m not usually up before 10:00 a.m., unless Wrigley needs an early walk.

Phone alarm or old school alarm? No alarm. I love having the kind of occupation that let’s me sleep in.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Take the pooch for a walk and stop at Spyhouse for coffee and the best almond croissant in the Twin Cities.

Breakfast? It’s my favorite meal of the day. Love the French toast at Egg and I and the blueberry pancakes at Keys and the Lowry.

Coffee? Absolutely. I love strong French brews. My friends say my coffee tastes like tar so they don’t let me make it often.

Cream or no? Half and half with Splenda (I know…it’s not good for me).

How do you spend your commute: Walking. I work right in the neighborhood. Absolutely the BEST way to commute.

If your job were like a yearbook, what would you be voted? Most likely to make sure everyone has a good time. That’s a bartender’s primary job. Anyone can mix drinks.

What inspires you? Successful entrepreneurs. I was fortunate to be an entrepreneur before I retired. The energy and innovation that a small passionate group can create is incredible. I’ve tried to bring this perspective to Bartending By Drew.

Do you eat your lunch while working or take a break? Not a huge lunch person. When I’m working I eat whenever I can. Bartenders rarely get a chance to have a sit down meal. We are always moving.

Is your work space tidy or a hot mess? It’s a hot mess. Thankfully, James is the organized one in this relationship.

What’s been your favorite job? I love bartending. You meet great people and usually have the chance to take someone’s bad day and make it better. While a cocktail helps, it’s really about listening and being a shoulder to cry on. I also loved founding my first company, ClickIQ.

Who are your heroes? I think hero is a very overused term. My heroes are those who have the courage to be comfortable in their own skin. I have a lot of respect for innovators who redefine an industry by thinking creatively and acting swiftly.

Favorite weeknight meal: Go out, take out, or cook in? I like to cook but I’m rarely around, so take out. Schezuan Spice or Black Sheep are my go-tos.

Most embarrassing moment: Very early in my career I was in a big client meeting and wanted to prove myself. As we were talking about price I chirped in, “We always want to maximize expenses for our clients.” Everyone just stopped and looked at me. I had meant to say minimize expenses. We still got the client but it was a great, if painful, learning experience.

On a usual weeknight, you are doing what? I have the opposite schedule of most people. I am either doing an event or working the 2-12 shift at the Westin. My social life begins after midnight. As a 57-year-old, this has taken me a long time to get used to.

Favorite weekend activity: We love movies, new restaurants, and breweries. If I’m not working we are usually doing something like that. I’m also a big Twins fan and we can walk to the stadium from our apartment! On TV, I am a huge Law & Order and Million Dollar Listing fan.

Words of wisdom to share:
“Never, ever, ever, ever give up.” — Winston Churchill
“Life is short. Stake awake for it.” — Caribou Coffee napkin

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