Starting a career in bartending is one of the best decisions you’ll make. If you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment where there’s constant room for growth, then bartending is a job you’ll find immensely rewarding. Besides the exciting nature of the work, there are always new opportunities to learn something new – and earn more in the process.
If you’re looking at bartending as a viable career path, it’s good to start with the basics. Here are practical bartending tips to help you get off to a good start.
Tip #1: Set Your Foundations Right
Yes, you can get work as a bartender without prior experience. If you can wing it and waive the pressure with your confidence, then all the best to you. Understandably, however, working behind the bar with no previous training can be intimidating for many.
If you want to learn fast, veteran bartenders advise that you take up a job as a barback. A barback, runner, or bartender’s apprentice does most of the manual work to make sure the bartender has everything they need to run the bar.
A barback’s duties include cleaning, restocking, and assisting the bartender with ad-hoc tasks.
Working as a barback helps you familiarize with a bartender’s work firsthand and exposes you to the real-world instruction and bartending tips that you won’t learn anywhere else.
Tip #2: Learn from a Professional
If you can’t get a job as a barback, your best option to start off on the right foot is to learn from the industry’s best. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy for you to find the cream of the crop in bartending in your area.
Try looking up bartending veterans near you or ask for recommendations from friends or via online forums.
The benefits of learning from a pro cannot be understated. Not only will they be able to teach you bartending tips, they will also be able to divulge a unique, insider perspective on the day-to-day realities of bartending.
Most importantly, a pro can help you adopt proper bartending techniques from the get-go so you can avoid picking up habits that may cost you your bartending career.
Tip #3: Call Customers by their Names
Customers love it when you call them by their names. Hearing one’s name activates the same brain region associated with pleasures and rewards. So if you can, go the extra mile to learn your patrons’ names as they hand you their credit card or ask them deliberately as they wait for their drinks.
It’s an effective way to build rapport with your customers and make them feel at ease while being served. Happy customers are also more likely to give bigger bartender tips.
Tip #4: Build Good Habits Early
Simple things like cleaning and stocking the bar before the usual hustle hour, tidying after customers leave, and learning repeatable orders are practical to learn early. It helps you swing into a rhythm no matter how hectic things get. So, build a routine as you get familiar with your environment.
Tip #5: Don’t get Stuck
Successful bartenders are those who are always ready to learn.
Even if you’re just starting out, if you want to go beyond just serving classic cocktails, it pays to beef up your skills and learn mixology.
Impress your patrons with your impressive repertoire in cocktail making. Mixology teaches you drink history and techniques on how to add a twist to classic cocktail favorites by building on your understanding of ingredients and flavor profiles.
Being a cocktail specialist can land you a job as chief bartender or bartending manager if you have prior bartending experience. You can also work as a consultant and help businesses develop better bar menus.
Over to You
Now that you’ve learned the essential bartending tips, it’s time to take the next step. A bartending license may not be required in all states but some businesses might still ask you to obtain a bartending certification and learn basic alcohol awareness.
Check out Serving Alcohol’s bartending license courses and get yours in less than 3 hours.