Award Winner

Dusk’s Danielle Teller: From Karate Kid to Motif’s 2022 Favorite Bartender Award Winner

Danielle Tellier doesn’t care what you drink. 

“You want something fruity? Do you like vodka? Gin? Tequila? You want a Long Island Iced Tea? I’ll make you one in 45 seconds. I don’t give a shit what you drink, I don’t care if it’s the grossest thing in the world, I’ll make it for you. What do I care? I’m not drinking it. Here’s your Fireball & Cran.” 


She grew up in Woonsocket, lived for a year in Louisville, Kentucky then spent a couple years in Ohio before returning to Rhode Island.

“The midwest was nice but it never felt like home. I was landlocked and everyone was a little too polite. I believe in being kind but it was always like Why are you being so nice? What do you want? There wasn’t a sense of urgency and I like a sense of urgency. I’m a New Englander.”

In kindergarten, she wrote a book about who she was and what she liked and on the last page she drew who she wanted to be when she grew up. “The Karate Kid was real big, so that’s what I drew, I wanted to be a black belt in karate.”

She saw her first concert, Fleetwood Mac, at the Providence Civic Center when she was six and saw Slayer when she was ten. “I was the weird kid… I’m a little less angsty now, but all-in-all I haven’t changed much.”

When she runs into people from high school and they ask what she does for a living she tells them she bartends and manages a music venue and they say, “Oh, that makes perfect sense. Of course you do.” 

In her downtime, she relaxes as hard as she works. “If I’m not working I’m literally sitting on my couch consuming media.” She likes horror movies, fantasy movies, comedies. “I really like dragons and wizards… I have Dark Arts tattooed across my knuckles and it’s not a Harry Potter reference. I don’t want to defend against them, I want to use them.”

Her style remains unchanged year after year – oversized black band T-shirts, black pants, hair swept over one eye. “You can’t see half my face at all times.” She didn’t go to college because she didn’t want to waste time on school when she didn’t know what she wanted to study, but she knew whatever happened, she’d figure it out. 

“I’ve always had a job. I had a part-time job when I was in high school and in the summer it became a full-time job, whether it was Burger King or the grocery store, I’ve always worked.”

She thought she’d work at H&M forever and work her way up to district manager. “You know in your late twenties, early thirties you’re like Okay, this is a career path.” But then she found bartending. 

“Dusk was my first bartending job. Rick [Sunderland] gave me a chance.” On her first shift she learned how to pour drinks and picked up the rest from there. “I don’t believe in coincidences, it fell into me because it was supposed to, I was supposed to be there with those people in that place at that time.

I don’t plan on stopping but it’s a little scary because can my body keep doing this? In nine years I’ll be 50, can I work 60 hours a week when I’m 50? Can I bartend until two in the morning when I’m 50? I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.” 

She approaches life with an outspoken gratitude, regularly acknowledges her good fortune, and writes off her work ethic and ingenuity as necessities. 

“I don’t have a choice… I’ve been lucky but that can change at any second. So I’m going to do what I can while I can because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, we just got through a fucking pandemic. That was scary shit.” 

Even when COVID restrictions began to lift, Dusk faced logistical challenges.

“We’re a live music venue and we couldn’t have live music because performers had to be 12 feet from the audience but our stage is 12 feet from the bar, so the audience would have to be behind the bar with me.”

To earn extra cash, she took on a second job. Now, she works two days at a salon and three nights behind the bar at Dusk, picking up shifts when she can and managing Dusk’s socials and helping with the booking. 

“For almost a decade I’ve gotten to do this and pay my mortgage, how lucky is that? My job is going out and hanging with friends and seeing live music, I’m just lucky.”

Dusk is back at full capacity with a lineup of hardcore, black metal, death metal, post-punk, soul, burlesque and more. 

“We have such a great music scene here, people are like Hey, can we have a date and put a show together? Fucking hell ya you can!”

Follow @dusk_providence for show info, and stop by Dusk on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night to meet our favorite bartender, Danielle Tellier.