Joanna Carpenter: The Sober Bartender
Artists, especially in New York City, often live a dual life. We audition by day, wait tables or bartend by night. But what happens when one lifestyle starts to negatively impact the other? I’m a singer, actor, and director. I’m also the beverage director at a massive space in TriBeCa, and a cocktail consultant on various other projects. What’s more, I stopped drinking liquor January 30, 2018.
We all know the negative impact alcohol can have on our bodies. But for me, it went deeper. I didn’t like who I became when I consumed distilled spirits. Furthermore, the pressure of working for a spirits brand meant I was constantly inundated with alcohol.
Being the bar director at Town Stages is no different in the sense that I am still surrounded by alcohol, but there IS a difference in that I have drawn boundaries and maintain a level of accountability for myself that didn’t exist before.
I’ll drink wine, and I love sherry and vermouth... but as much as I love creating and serving exciting cocktails, I have no interest in drinking them.
Artists encounter daily obstacles that prevent them from prioritizing self-care, and it became incredibly important to me to restructure my priorities. The party scene (even as immersed as I am in the bar world) simply doesn’t honor that path to wellness.
Every artist has to walk their own path, and I allowed my path to get too obstructed for too long. Someone else may or may not have a similar journey to mine, but at the end of the day, our job is to tell stories; if we, as artists, are not operating at our best because of a substance problem, what are we even doing?
Joanna Carpenter hails most recently from the world of craft spirits brand management. She is an industry leader in beverage/ brand relationship cultivation, and designing niche bar concepts. A seasoned hospitality veteran, Joanna has helped create cocktails for some of New York City's most recognizable spaces and is a proud, active advocate for creating equal visibility and support for women and persons of color in hospitality. Joanna is a singer, actor, and director, recently seen as the Baker’s Wife in INTO THE WOODS with NAAP/Prospect Theatre Co and “Run the World (Gays)”.