The Bartender’s Cure is out now with Flatiron Books. You can read the first chapter now if you sign up for my author newsletter, and it is available wherever books are sold, or for check-out at your local library.
Samantha Fisher definitely does not want to be a bartender. But after a breakup and breakdown in San Francisco, she decides to defer law school for a year to move to New York, crashing on her best friend’s couch. When she is offered a job at Joe’s Apothecary, a beloved neighborhood bar in Brooklyn, she tells herself it’s only temporary.
As Sam learns more about bartending and gets to know the service industry lifers and loyal regulars at Joe’s, she is increasingly seduced by her new job. She finds acceptance in her tight-knit community and even begins a new relationship. But as the year draws to a close, Sam is increasingly pulled between the life she thought she wanted and the possibility of a different kind of future. When destructive cycles from her past threaten to consume her again, Sam must decide how much she’s willing to let go of to finally belong.
“Bartender-writer Straton invites the reader to belly up to Joe’s polished brass bar and learn how to mix cocktails, stay out of the weeds, and get to know the nightwalking crowd alongside Sam. Compelling and informative, this sure-bet read-alike for Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter (2016) looks head-on at the physical, mental, and emotional toll of working in the hospitality industry, as it blends Sam’s internal struggles with the joy she finds in mixology, in equal parts.”
“A novel that asks you to hold your drink up high and salute all your messy, past selves. The cocktail recipes are good, but the heart in these pages is even greater. A debut from a writer with a poet’s eye, who renders Brooklyn neighborhoods and the people that mill through them with extraordinary tenderness.”
—Jean Kyoung Frazier, author of Pizza Girl
“Like a finely crafted cocktail, this novel’s brilliance exists in its perfect balance of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and strength. As much a love letter to the service industry as it is a coming-of-age story, Straton’s rendering of Brooklyn bars and found families will leave you yearning for your favorite local.”
—Camille Perri, author of When Katie Met Cassidy and The Assistants
“The Bartender’s Cure is an evocative coming-of-age story and captivating glimpse into the world of bartending and cocktail lore. Wesley Straton’s prose is simultaneously restrained and dazzling, and protagonist Samantha Fisher is tough yet tender, singular yet familiar. This is one book hangover I’m in no hurry to recover from.”
—Margarita Montimore, author of Oona Out of Order
“A love letter to the school of life, this tender story about a dispirited San Francisco transplant looking for salvation on the Brooklyn cocktail scene is ambrosial and spiked—you’ll drink the words right up.”
—Courtney Maum, author of Touch and Costalegre