Woman to Watch: Jennifer Zewe

Owner of Artful Libations and RallyPoint Sport Grill

Jennifer Zewe started 2024 on a high note. Her side hustle has blossomed into a booming business, and she is the new proud owner of RallyPoint Sport Grill in Cary’s Harrison Square. We caught up with her to learn more about her path to success (and favorite cocktail).

Tell us about yourself!
I have worked in the service industry my entire career. I moved to Raleigh with my now husband in 2012. He walked in to RallyPoint to sell Groupon and walked out with a job for me. I worked six days a week on day bar, slowly building lunches up and making ‘regulars.’ I absolutely loved being inside those four walls. I told James (my husband) that I would retire from there one day when I got too ‘old’ to be behind the bar.

Jennifer Zewe

I became bar manager, and one day in 2017, a regular of mine wanted me to bartend his wedding. Long story short, I started a wedding bar service called Artful Libations. I stayed at RallyPoint six days a week while building my “side hustle.” I knew that I would need a storefront soon, and what better than the bar that I helped grow over the past 11 years!!! After two amazing months as an owner, I still lock the door at night, pour a beer and cry, as I can’t believe this is real life.

What tips do you have for other women starting out with a “side hustle”?
Embrace the hustle and flow. Start by identifying your passions and strengths and channel that energy into creating something truly unique — something that brings you pure joy, because it will be the hardest you have ever worked. Don’t be afraid to take risks and seek mentorship when needed. Remember that success is not just about winning big hands, but growing from every hand you play. Don’t give up!!!

Describe a day in the life!
A whirlwind of excitement and challenges (and very little sleep)! My mornings begin with Artful emails and catch-up, getting to RallyPoint in time for lunch, to see all my favorite regulars and help my staff. Ending the night with more Artful catch-up, and a glass of wine with my husband.

What sort of industry training do you have?
My first job at 16 was Bruegger’s Bagels, and 25 years later, I still have a passion for the service industry. My journey has been a mix of formal training (I am a certified Cicerone beer server and WSET Level 2 wine certified) and hands-on experiences.

What plans do you have in store for RallyPoint?
We are excited for our new menu rollout, keeping RP favorites and creating new ones. Have you seen our patio?! We can’t wait to give it lots of love to create an environment of sports and fun!

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
POKER!!! My dream since I was 19 was to play poker professionally. Owning my own businesses has given me some freedom to begin making that dream a reality.

What challenges have you faced along the way?
Keeping the confidence that yes, I can do this.

How has Artful Libations grown over the years?
Year one, we had 15 weddings that my husband and I worked. Fast forward to 2023, we executed 118 events with an amazing staff of 12 bartenders. This year, we have 180 events on the calendar, with the goal of hitting 200 by the end of the year!

What’s your favorite artful libation?
Ooo! I do love a great flavored fresh margarita. Strawberry, blackberry, spicy, you name it, I’ll drink it.

Stop buying margarita mix and make your own! It’s super easy: Boil sugar and water, blend in strawberries, and strain out the seeds. Add fresh lime juice and your favorite tequila (I’m a blanco girl). Easy and refreshing!

What draws you to the service industry?
My love for people and impacting their day. I am a people pleaser, so the service industry really gives me alllll the feels in my heart.

How can readers celebrate with you?
We are having our grand reopening party at RallyPoint this Friday, March 15! From 5 p.m. to close we’ll have food, a DJ, and giveaways. Can’t wait to see you there!

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