How to Become a Bartender In 10 Easy Steps
To all the full-time students, travelers, or people just looking to make some good extra cash, Bartending is an awesome paying, part time job to consider.
I was once a full-time student that had no help from my family for costs of school or bills. I like everyone else had bills to pay, had obligations to school and needed a better income than a minimum hour paying job. I started working in the restaurant industry at age 19 and by the time I had started cock-tailing/Bartending I was perfectly content, able to pay my bills, able to pay for school costs as well as able to balance my work, school and family life. Now I am using this job as a platform to help pay for my travel expenses and start my own business.
Here are 10 easy steps to becoming a bartender that I wish I would have known.
1. Get a Job in The Restaurant Industry
First and foremost, you need to quit the job you are at and get yourself a job in the restaurant industry. This is seriously not as hard as you would think, there are millions of bars and restaurants everywhere that are constantly looking for new people. I myself started out as a hostess because I had no previous restaurant experience. It is OKAY to start as a host, this way you can work yourself up and understand all front of the house duties.
2. Go the Extra Mile
When someone wants their shift covered, take it. When someone is too hungover to work, offer to work later for them. When the restaurant needs a party covered that no one wants, tell them you can do it. Having this attitude will not only get you under the raider of your management this will also show that you are an asset to the team and you could most likely handle more responsibility (i.e. Bartending)
3. Be Positive (like your blood type)
This one is huge! I cannot stress enough how unique it is to work with a positive service industry person. I can tell you that when people are looking to start bartending the workers we will automatically rule out are the ones that are negative on a regular basis. Bartending is a hard job, it is a job that you constantly must be “on” for and when your “off” you throw off everyone’s attitude. No one likes to work with the negative Nancy and I’ve seen time and time again negativity spread like herpes so just smile it’s not just you that is slammed.
4. Offer to Bar-Back
I know many bartenders that got their job this way. Bar-backing is essentially becoming the bartenders female dog (for lack of better words) and learning from them. This is a great way to get your foot in the door with little to no experience. Yes, you are going to have to do the job that nobody wants to do but trust me this will soon pay off if you are clear that you want to learn.
5. Ask Questions
If you are serving, hosting, cocktailing, or cooking when you have time to ask questions—do it! Now obviously don’t become annoying because that’s not what your trying to portray. You are trying to show the bartender that you are genuinely interested in what they do and asking questions about drinks and beer will only further educate you for becoming a bartender later.
6. Educate Yourself
When I first wanted to learn how to bartend I educated myself before stepping behind the bar by looking up various common cocktails. I did this all on youtube.com and it was easy to find these videos, literally just look up The Most Common Cocktails. This was crucial to do because it not only made me more confident when I was thrown in the bar but it also showed that I had some previous knowledge and didn’t need as much help.
7. Get a Bartending App
You are never going to know every single cocktail that was ever invented. So, don’t waste your time with that. Especially if your new, a bartending app is super helpful and will keep you on your game always.
8. Fake It till You Make It
Seriously, most bartenders have no idea what they are doing on a regular basis. The best advice I can give to you is to never let it show. Confidence is key to this job even if you have no idea what the f*ck you are doing. Like I said before you are never going to know each and every cocktail that was ever invented. So, when someone asks for a brain hemorrhage—smile, stay calm and go look it up on your phone. You got this and hopefully by now you got the app. Either way google always works.
9. Practice Your Pour’s
When you have down time practice, practice, practice! When first starting out, bar poor’s can be an awkward thing. It doesn’t help that you have the whole bar looking at you. So, when your slow ask to practice with the poor test kit or do this at home with a bottle and have some fun, Cheers!
10. Be Available, ALWAYS
There will be a time when the bar needs help but nobody is willing to do it, trust me. One day a bartender might be sick, or someone might not show up for a shift and this is your chance. Step up and tell them that you are willing to do it and be confident in it. Once you take this step and show that you got this, then there is no reason they shouldn’t put you behind the bar.
Above all else don’t forget to get your alcohol class 12/13 permit. It is about a 6-hour course that you can do online usually for around $20. This way you can be ready for when they need you.
Please remember to leave me a comment to let me know if you enjoyed this post!