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Become A Bartender

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Working As A Bartender

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • $24,260

    Average Salary

What Does A Bartender Do

Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.

Duties

Bartenders typically do the following:

  • Greet customers, give them menus, and inform them about daily specials
  • Take drink orders from customers
  • Pour and serve wine, beer, and other drinks and beverages
  • Mix drinks according to recipes
  • Check identification of customers to ensure that they are of legal drinking age
  • Clean bars, tables, and work areas
  • Collect payments from customers and return change
  • Manage bar operation and order and maintain liquor and bar supplies

Bartenders fill drink orders either directly from customers at the bar or through waiters and waitresses who place drink orders for dining room customers. Bartenders must know a wide range of drink recipes and be able to mix drinks correctly and quickly. When measuring and pouring beverages they must avoid spillage or over pouring. They also must work well with waiters and waitresses and other kitchen staff to ensure that customers receive prompt service.

Some establishments, especially busy establishments with many customers, use equipment that automatically measures and pours drinks at the push of a button. Bartenders who use this equipment, however, still must become familiar with the ingredients for special drink requests and be able to work quickly to handle numerous drink orders.

Bartenders in some establishments also use carbonated beverage dispensers, cocktail shakers, commercial strainers, trigger sprayers, and ice shaver machines.

In addition to mixing and serving drinks, bartenders stock and prepare garnishes for drinks and maintain an adequate supply of ice, glasses, and other bar supplies. They also wash glassware and utensils and serve food to customers who eat at the bar. Bartenders are usually responsible for ordering and maintaining an inventory of liquor, mixers, and other bar supplies.

Some bartenders run their own bar or catering business. In addition to their standard bartending duties, these owners also are responsible for hiring, training, and supervising their staff; budgeting for and ordering supplies; and setting prices.

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How To Become A Bartender

Most bartenders learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training usually lasting a few weeks. No formal education is required.

Many bartenders are promoted from other jobs at the establishments in which they work. Bartenders at upscale establishments usually have attended bartending classes or have previous work experience.

Although most states require workers who serve alcoholic beverages to be at least 18 years old, most bartenders are 25 or older. Bartenders must be familiar with state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Education

No formal education is required to become a bartender. However, some aspiring bartenders acquire their skills by attending a school for bartending or by attending bartending classes at a vocational or technical school. These programs often include instruction on state and local laws and regulations concerning the sale of alcohol, cocktail recipes, proper attire and conduct, and stocking a bar. The length of each program varies, but most courses last a few weeks. Some schools help their graduates find jobs.

Training

Most bartenders receive on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks, under the guidance of an experienced bartender. Training focuses on cocktail recipes, bar-setup procedures, and customer service, including how to handle unruly customers and other challenging situations. In food service establishments where bartenders serve food, the training may cover teamwork and proper food-handling procedures.

Some employers teach bartending skills to new workers by providing self-study programs, online programs, videos, and instructional booklets that explain service skills. Such programs communicate the philosophy of the establishment, help new bartenders build rapport with other staff, and instill a desire to work as a team.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some bartenders qualify through related work experience. They may start as bartender helpers and progress into full-fledged bartenders as they learn basic mixing procedures and recipes. Some bartenders also may start as waiters and waitresses.

Advancement

Advancement for bartenders is usually limited to finding a job in a busier or more upscale restaurant or bar where prospects for earning tips are better. Some bartenders advance to supervisory jobs, such as dining room supervisor, maitre d', assistant manager, and restaurant general manager. A few bartenders open their own bars.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Bartenders must listen carefully to their customers’ orders, explain drink and food items, and make menu recommendations. They also should be able to converse with customers on a variety of subjects and create a friendly and welcoming environment.

Customer-service skills. Bartenders must have good customer-service skills to ensure repeat business.

Decisionmaking skills. Bartenders must be able to make good decisions. For example, they should be able to detect intoxicated and underage customers and deny service to those individuals.

Interpersonal skills. Bartenders should be friendly, tactful, and attentive when dealing with customers. For example, they should be able to tell a joke and laugh with a customer to build rapport.

Physical stamina. Bartenders spend hours on their feet preparing drinks and serving customers.

Physical strength. Bartenders should be able to lift and carry heavy cases of liquor, beer, and other bar supplies, which often weigh up to 50 pounds.

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112 Bartender jobs More

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Real Bartender Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Bartender Employees Only LLC New York, NY Jan 15, 2012 $42,000
Bartender Employees Only LLC New York, NY Jan 07, 2012 $42,000
Bartenders Vulcan LLC T/A Veritas Washington, DC Mar 09, 2011 $41,740
Bartender Nantucket Hotel Holdings LLC Nantucket, MA Jan 01, 1970 $34,081
Flair Bartender Kahunavile of Las Vegas Inc. CA Feb 19, 2010 $33,914
Food Bartenders JVM Sales Corporation Linden, NJ Jan 31, 2011 $29,322
Bartender Greenwich Country Club, Inc. Greenwich, CT Jul 01, 2014 $29,218
Bartender Greenwich Country Club CT Jul 01, 2014 $29,218
Bartenders The Lighthouse Inn, Inc. West Dennis, MA May 05, 2015 $28,133
Bartender The Lighthouse Inn, Inc. MA May 05, 2014 $27,924
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Top Skills for A Bartender

CustomerServiceSkillsCraftBeersNon-AlcoholicBeveragesBeverageOrdersHighVolumeEnvironmentPOSDrinkOrdersFoodOrdersMenuItemsLimitProblemsCustomerSatisfactionSpecialEventsDrinkRecipesSaleBartendCommunicationSkillsMixDrinksFoodItemsBeverageServicePitFruit

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Top Bartender Skills

  1. Customer Service Skills
  2. Craft Beers
  3. Non-Alcoholic Beverages
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed powerful customer service skills through daily interactions with patrons.
  • Mix beverages, specialty liquors and craft beers to serve customers.
  • Mix and serve alcoholic beverages; serve beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Take beverage orders from servers and directly from guests or patrons.
  • Provided fine dining service in high volume environment at an upscale country club.
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Bartender Career Information : Bartender Salary