Perhaps it was that he found the love of his life at Sunset Tavern and Deli Lane or maybe it was his brother’s introduction to the place while managing Daiquiri Days here years ago that set the stage for Rockaway, New Jersey native Brian Kelly to find his calling at the classic South Miami establishment.
“I came down here when I was 21 to visit my brother and I have been here ever since,” said Kelly. A mild tempered amiable bartender with slicked back hair and a secretive smile, Brian or “Brain” as his descriptive name tag suggests, is known for delivering friendly service along with the classic adult beverages and good food Sunset Tavern is famous for.
“It’s a great vibe here and everyone has a good time,” said Kelly. During the day I have more time to spend with customers and become like a part time therapist. At night it gets very busy and the crowd changes into more of a college scene.”
An unpretentious local hang out that attracts down-to-earth professionals from Brickell as well as area lawyers, accountants, business folks, UM students and South Miami stalwarts who can reminisce about community history; Sunset Tavern has become an institution.
Open over ten years now in the same spot where the famous bar “My Father’s Mustache” used to be, owners Mike Maler and Jan Kirchoff. mix it up with seasonal events like Oktoberfest, Stand up to Cancer Golf Tournament hosted by manager Patty Karpinski, Spiny Lobster Tournament, and holiday theme parties.
“The owners here are open to lots of our ideas and they take them seriously,” said Kelly. “We like to change it up and do fun stuff. Going out to the golf tournament and helping Patty out makes me feel good. Last year it was great out there helping people with donations and donating prizes for a good cause. I love this place and consider it my home going on ten years now.”
The love seems to be reciprocated judging by the popularity of the FIU agriculture graduate’s own entrepreneurial adventures. Kelly makes some super tasty homemade pickles that are a fan favorite around the bar. Ideal for a pickled martini or to jazz up a vegetarian meal, the sweet and spicy pickle business seems a natural for Kelly who enjoys sharing his bite size delights with patrons. Kelly hopes to eventually take his pickles on the road and do the farmer’s market circuit.
“I would love to get a booth at the farmer’s market but waking up early is hard for me. We are looking for a house now in South Miami. Coming here and meeting my wife here is the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s amazing, if I never came down with my brother I would have never met her or gotten this job.”