After having worked through college as a server and bartender, Brooks moved to Louisville, KY to work at Proof on Main in the 21C Museum Hotel, a property recognized by Conde Nast Traveler as the “Best Hotel in America.” As the Dining Room Manager of Proof on Main, Brooks focused on the beverage program for the restaurant and hotel, and was a part of the team that led Proof to be recognized as one of Esquire Magazine’s “10 Best New Restaurants.”

Upon promotion to General Manager, his continued focus on a widely varied, cocktail-forward beverage program led to recognition in Food & Wine magazine, Bon Appetit, and Sante Magazine, which recognized Proof as the “Outstanding Spirits Restaurant in America.”

After leaving Proof on Main and moving to Charleston, SC, Brooks continued to work for Bonadies Hospitality, developing concept strategy and beverage programs for Morgans Hotel Group, The Jefferson Hotel, and L’Auberge Del Mar in San Diego, among others.

While living in Charleston, Brooks joined forces with Mike Lata, James Beard Award winner, as Dining Room Manager of FIG Restaurant. After two years, he was promoted to General Manager, where his work on the beverage program earned mentions in Garden & Gun, Wall Street Journal, Esquire Magazine, and more.

In 2012, Brooks was tapped to be the opening General Manager of The Ordinary, the second restaurant from Mike Lata. Under his leadership, The Ordinary was recognized by GQ and Esquire Magazine as one of their “10 Best New Restaurants in America,” and was a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. While at The Ordinary, Brooks was recognized by Eater for their “Young Gun” Award, recognizing under-30 F&B professionals in America.

Brooks left The Ordinary in 2013 to open his own project, Leon’s Oyster Shop. Leon’s has been featured in AFAR, Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, and Garden & Gun, and received 5-stars from the Charleston City Paper. Upon opening, Brooks was featured in Food & Wine magazine in their “Fast Track” section for “redefining what Charleston likes to eat and drink.”

As a writer, Brooks contributes written content to a number of national press outlets, and currently serves as the Contributing Beverage Editor for The Local Palate. He is a contributor to Martha Stewart Living, A Hotel Life, PUNCH, and is a Contributing Editor at Conde Nast Traveler.

As the founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Company, which produces small-batch non-alcoholic cocktail mixers, Brooks has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Monocle Magazine, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and Imbibe Magazine, among others. The products are sold nationwide at major retailers (Anthropologie, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, ABC Carpet & Home), and are also distributed internationally in Spain, Australia, Sweden, and Canada.

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. products have been recognized as a “Product of the Year” by both Bon Appetit and Cooking Light.

In 2016 Brooks opened Little Jack’s Tavern, a classic tavern serving familiar but smart pub standards and a full bar with an emphasis on classic cocktails.