As with many trends in the past few years, old has become new, and the Bevador Room in Fort Walton Beach is no exception.

As with many trends in the past few years, old has become new, and the Bevador Room in Fort Walton Beach is no exception.

The classy back-room craft cocktail bar within Coasters harkens back to the roaring ‘20s with a classic menu and a refurbished Bevador refrigerator that stands as a focal point of the bar.

"It’s a totally different style of bartending,” bartender Dave Miller said, comparing Coasters' front, pub-like bar to the Bevador Room in the back. “We use all fresh ingredients. No wells. Everything is top shelf. And we take more time talking to customers; it’s a little more personal back here.”

Take one look at Miller and you’ll know it’s no secret he has an artistic side — his colorful sleeve tattoos are a dead give-away of his love of artistic expression. However, his creative side runs deeper than his skin tapestry, as he soon revealed his little-known journey into the bartending profession.

“I was a musician,” he said. “I started off playing drums in a local band. This is probably the first place I played at 18 years old; we were the house band.”

Miller said when the band broke up, he began working as a doorman for Coasters, then worked his way behind the bar two years ago.

Now the front-man of the Bevador Room, Miller said he gets to explore his creative side again with craft cocktails.

“I get to mess with stuff; it reminds me of cooking,” he said. “It’s just a lot of experimenting. It’s an art. I love garnishes a lot and making designs in the drinks. It’s really a craft.”

Five months ago, when he first delved into craft cocktails, Miller said he was challenged by his manager to make a drink using his least favorite ingredients.

“He said, ‘Pick three things you aren’t too keen on,’ so I picked gin, basil and grapefruit. From those three ingredients we created the Great Basil. A lot of people don’t like gin, but if you get the right ingredients, it actually pairs really well with them,” Miller said.

In fact, Miller got so comfortable with gin that now it is the feature ingredient in his signature sip.

“The Clover Club is a 1920s-style drink using gin, lemon juice and raspberries. It’s a simple three-part drink,” he said. “I also use a simple syrup and egg white for the frothy texture.”

Miller said the use of egg white sometimes makes customers apprehensive, but he has learned to encourage customers to try it before judging it.

“When I first started off, I started messing around with a lot of egg and I got really discouraged because people weren’t wanting to try it. They were afraid of the protein in the egg,” he said. “But then I started not caring what people thought, and I got really creative.”

As the Bevador Room has grown in local popularity, Miller said customers have become more adventurous with their flavor palates.

“When people come in here, they want to try the whole menu,” he said. “Still a lot of people don’t know we’re back here, but it’s spreading on social media and by word of mouth and it’s really starting to catch on.” 

The Bevador Room is in the back room of Coasters at 214 Miracle Strip Parkway SE in Fort Walton Beach. The bar is open daily from 3 p.m. to 4 a.m. Call 850-664-6899.