Being a bartender may look like a cool, easy profession, but it’s not. It is fun and interesting, but it’s challenging and requires a specific set of skills. Tending bar is not just mixing drinks. It also involves social dynamics, alcohol laws, conflict de-escalation, time management, effective communication, customer service, preparation, and predicting the future. Also, you’ll need to invest in a pair of comfortable, waterproof boots. There is no sitting in bartending.
Successful bartenders always strive to be better than they were the previous shift. Take a look at some of the things you should know before becoming a bartender.
Tending bar is not just mixing drinks. It also involves social dynamics, alcohol laws, conflict…
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It’s Not Non-Stop Parties – For You
There may be lots of partying going on around you, but you are always on the job and you cannot forget that. You are more like the host, chaperon, or designated adult than the life of the party. Can you handle being the lone sober person being responsible while everyone else is sloppy and silly? You will need to develop a confident, unflappable attitude with unwavering patience and politeness.
You May Become a Cocktail Nerd
When beer and spirts is your business 8+ hours every day, you may become obsessed with learning about new recipes, obscure liquors, cocktail history, superior ingredients, and experimental methods. Believe it or not, being a bartender can involve more reading than college. Essentially, being a great bartender is about creating enjoyable experiences, which is easier when you have vast knowledge of your tools and ingredients.
Growth is a Journey
When you’re first starting out, there’s a lot to learn, some you can’t get from a recipe book. Enlist an experienced bartender as a mentor and watch everything she does and how she does it. But over the years, a strong sense of hospitality may be your best asset as a bartender. Listening, maintaining eye contact, reading your customers, and anticipating their needs is crucial and prevents a lot of problems. Two-thirds of bartending is providing great service to all your guests.
Long Late Hours
People mostly like to drink in the evenings and on weekends. So that’s when you will be working. You’ll often be starting work when your friends are clocking out. This means you’ll have to adjust your sleep schedule and when and how you do daily chores and errands.
You Deal with Problem Guests When They’re Drunk
Every service industry job involves handling grumpy, unreasonable, and mean customers. But with bartending, there’s the added fun of dealing with them when they’re inebriated. Alcohol can make a bad personality much worse. As a bartender, you will encounter all sorts of people with different tolerance levels and different reactions to alcohol consumption. You must be confident, tactful, and stern when dealing with inebriated problem guests.
You’re the Calm Amid the Noisy Chaos
A late-night bar in full swing is a fast, hectic world of sensory overload. Some places play smooth jazz and cater to contemplative after-work drinkers, but most bars pump out loud, energetic music. Plus, as the night wears on and people get drunker, they get louder. You must correctly decipher drink orders, perhaps slightly slurred, over the music, laughing, and shouting. Maybe learn to read lips.
It’s Not All Fun and Games
It’s fun making people happy and ensuring they’re having a good time, but when alcohol is involved, it’s serious too. You evaluate guests, stop serving when they’re drunk, card people, refuse underage customers, and prevent drunk driving. Most states require bartenders to complete responsible seller/server training, which covers protecting yourself from liability, recognizing alcohol effects, preventing intoxication, refusing sales, and checking IDs.
Bartending School Isn’t Mandatory
There are plenty of bartending schools that promise to turn out rock star mixologists, but that’s not necessary to get a job. Some people advise against them. Online bartending training programs are a great alternative. One way to get into the business is to start as a restaurant or lounge server, hostess, or barback to learn it from the inside and then work your way up to bartender. Plus, this will give you time to complete online server training and research the tricks of the trade.
Source: TABC Blog by Learn 2 Serve