Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Walked Into a Bar…And Poured Scorn on the Minimum Wage

The ex-bartender serves up soundbites on low wages for restaurant workers.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) at the Queensboro Restaurant in QueensDrew Angerer/Getty

When was the last time your bartender talked to you about the need for a fair wage or about the exploitation of tipped workers? Well, if you were at the Queensboro Restaurant in Jackson Heights last night, you sure would have gotten an earful from the 29-year-old behind the bar. 

Wearing a blue and gray apron, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) mixed drinks and served tables for an hour last night to show support for the Raise The Wage Act, which would gradually boost the federal minimum wage for tipped workers.

“The federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13 an hour—that is unacceptable!” Ocasio-Cortez, a former bartender, said. From behind the bar, she told patrons and supporters that any job that pays that rate is “indentured servitude.”

Ocasio-Cortez delivered pizzas to hungry customers and showed her skills with a shaker behind the bar, chatting about the need to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to $15 an hour. The restaurant was packed with people taking selfies and posting videos of the congressional freshman and internet celebrity

And she wasn’t the only politician hanging out at a bar on a Friday evening. Former President Barack Obama met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a brewery in Ottawa, Canada. Let’s hope that they left a nice tip for their bartenders—who already get a minimum wage of about $10 an hour. 


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.