Food & Drink

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bartended in New York Before Winning the Democratic Nomination

On November 14, 2017, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted a photo of herself bartending at Flats Fix, a taco and tequila bar in Manhattan, with a caption explaining why she was getting into politics. On June 27, 2018, 225 days later, she won the nomination for the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district.

“The funny thing about beginnings is that you rarely know you’re in them,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in an Instagram caption. “My beginning felt like a dead end. My beginning was losing a parent to cancer, working a hard job in the wake of that loss, and complete uncertainty about the future of my family.”

Things are starting to look a little more certain. Ocasio-Cortez beat 20-year incumbent Joe Crowley by 16 percentage points on a platform focused on Medicare expansion, tuition-free college, immigration and criminal justice reform. If she’s voted into the House of Representatives on November 6, she will be the youngest woman to ever serve in congress and the first person of color to represent the district, which covers the Bronx and Queens.

“Our district is 70 percent people of color, and we have never had a person of color represent us in American history,” she told NowThis.

Ocasio-Cortez grew up in the Bronx. Her dad ran a business and her mother, from Puerto Rico, cleaned houses. She received degrees in economics and international relations from Boston University, and worked for Senator Ted Kennedy. When her father died of cancer in 2008, she took on two jobs in New York to make ends meet. One of those jobs was behind the bar. A photo of her shaking a cocktail is still on the first page of the Flats Fix website.

“I was taking brunch orders, with the AC off, and people from progressive political groups were calling me,” Ocasio-Cortez told the Chicago Tribune about the days leading up to her decision to run. Nelson Armando, who works at Flats Fix, told the New York Post that “people would come in just to see her” even before she ran.

Ocasio-Cortez faces Republican Anthony Pappas in November. There are seven Democrats for every one Republican in New York City, Money reports, and she is expected to win. Regardless of any political leanings, we think the country will benefit from having more bartenders in office.