Ron is an 11-year veteran of what he calls “the hangout of the service industry,” and he’s been tending bar for half a century. Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, he moved to Florida in 1967—first Pensacola, then 25 years in the southern part of the state.
“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” he says. “It’s second nature.” Ron is a beer drinker—usually Miller Lite—but adds, “I like my cognac, too, but not so much anymore. The older you get, the less you drink.” When I ask him his age, he responds: “Too freakin’ old!”
Ron’s an impeccable dresser. You’ll never see him without one of his 25 fedoras, and he completes his look with nice slacks, suspenders and cummerbund. “My father always told me, ‘Walk in like you own the joint,’” he says. When the customers walk in, Ron says, they don’t mistake him for the clean-up guy. His wardrobe takes up two full bedrooms of his house in Fort Walton Beach.
You can find Ron at Whiskey Barn Sundays through Wednesdays. On his days off, he likes to “do a little fishing, a little shopping.” His favorite Beachcomberland restaurants are Mary’s Kitchen in Fort Walton Beach for lunch and Pandora’s on Okaloosa Island for dinner.