Meet Kevin O’Brien—He’s More Than Your Ordinary Bartender

An article I wrote for the October issue of Chilled Magazine.

After recovering from his lung transplant in 2007, Kevin O’Brien had no intention of returning to bartending. It wasn’t that living with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract, held him down, he was just focused on succeeding in radio broadcasting. After all, he had his BA in Mass Communications and back then, bartending was just a side job.

It wasn’t until 2010 when O’Brien got back behind the bar, after his cousin, a manager at Kodiak’s Restaurant and Bar in Farmingdale, New York was in need of an experienced bartender.

“He got me a spot there and I realized how little I knew and began learning more about mixology, craft beer, and hospitality,” O’Brien said. “After a year at Kodiak’s I decided to stop working in radio and commit to learning more about the bar business.”


According to O’Brien, living with cystic fibrosis makes what he wants to do all the more special. Before his surgery in 2007, he would go to work as a bartender with his oxygen tank even when his lung function was plummeting below 10%. Read More