Have you ever wondered how to become a bartender? Is getting the certificate worth the time? Here’s everything you need to know to make it a successful career.
Bartending has a certain charm that makes you want to be one. Whenever you’re working a bartender job while pursuing your passions, or you want to make bartending your long term career, that’s all perfectly possible. There are bartending schools that offer training programs and teach everything on how to become a bartender.
Before we go on about mixing drinks and what makes the perfect Mojito, here’s a little more information that you’d want to know before pursuing bartending.
What Is a Bartender?
Working as a bartender is a career in the hospitality industry, where the necessary skills can be learned through direct experience. A big part of a bartender’s responsibility is to confirm specific requirements like age and health concerns before serving a drink.
Taking up a training course is still the wiser choice; part of it is educating trainees on the decision-making side of the job when it comes to serving alcohol or dealing with intoxicated guests.
Today, training courses are open to everyone. The short course teaches bartenders how to serve customers with the right etiquette, showing them how to have a great time even for guests who prefer non-alcoholic drinks and beverages.
Fun Facts about Bartending
- Jerry P. Thomas was dubbed “the father of American Mixology” for popularizing cocktails in the country. He was a well-respected man who owned a saloon back in the 1800s in New York City. Aside from creating recipes for drinks, he also wrote a guide for bartenders, which is still in print today. His signature was a drink called Blue Blazer.
- In 1888, just a few years after Jerry Thomas died, Harry Johnson, another aspiring pioneer, published his own illustrated guide called Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual. He made sure to add management instructions for hotels and other businesses. It was received as a saving grace by small business owners who wanted to run their establishments better by implementing a system.
- The first-ever mixed drink was composed of a spoon of gum syrup, a few drops of a medicinal concoction called bitters, served in a glass rinsed with a dash of absinthe, and garnished with lemon peel. This cocktail was called Sazerac by Antonine Amédée Peychaud, created sometime during the late 1700s to early 1800s.
- Ada Coleman was the most famous barmaid or female bartender of all time. She was offered a job to serve drinks at a hotel after her father died when she was 24. She started coming up with original recipes and became quite popular – good enough to be promoted as head bartender at the Savoy Hotel in 1903. She served famous people like Charlie Chaplin, Mark Twain, and the Prince of Wales.
How To Become A Bartender – Following 6 Simple Tips
If you want to know how to become a bartender, here are 6 tips on how to become one.
1. Ask Yourself, “Why Do I Want To Be A Bartender?”
Bartending may seem appealing, but it demands a lot of hard work being at the other side of the bar. Yet many seem to think that being a bartender is the best job in the world. Having perks like a flexible schedule, earning above the minimum salary, and not being bound to a specific location is incredibly appealing.
But as mentioned, being a bartender carries a responsibility, which is why it pays pretty well even for a few hours work. It may pay $15 an hour, 17 dollars an hour, or depending on the location you may even earn $27 per hour. While bartending is not necessarily a high-income skill, it is something that has the potential to more than decent earnings.
A person with good people skills and a kind, patient personality would be a match for the job and at the same time, liking what you do is an essential aspect of your choices. As a bartender who appreciates the profession, it is part of the job description to feel responsible over everyone who enters your bar.
2. Bartending School And License
It’s one thing to learn a few bartending skills to impress people you know than to work as one.
While you learn many skills on the job, it may be good to consider getting your licensee. When you choose to go to bartending school, you’ll learn all the skills you need in a more theoretical and structured way.
Whatever decision you want to make, it’s entirely up to you. Determine what would best fit your goal, and go for that.
3. Get A Job As A Bartender’s Assistant Or Barback
So what is a barback? A barback is the equivalent of a busser, who cleans up after the customers in restaurants and cafeterias. Why is this important? Part of a barback’s job is ensuring that the bartender has everything he needs during service hours; restocking alcohol and beverages, preparing fruits and garnishes, cleaning up, and keeping everything orderly.
Working as a barback shows how a bartender operates and gives you the chance to familiarize yourself with all the tools of the trade. First hand experience during service hours is also the best training a bartending trainee can have.
4. Work Part-Time Under an Experienced Bartender
It’s important to have someone experienced in the business to show you the ropes. You may already have learned some tricks in the training course and certification programs, but you’ll find that it’s different once you’re standing behind that counter and trying to mix a drink.
Work beside a mentor who can show you how to deal with the stress that comes with the job, move with confidence and ease despite being surrounded by people who want something from you. This mentor will be the one guiding you through the actual experience, a critical phase that isn’t taught in bartending schools.
So, work part-time under an experienced bartender for as long as possible or until you feel confident enough to serve by yourself. This is a step you shouldn’t skip, as it can teach you a tremendous amount about bartending.
5. Write Your Resume
You can look at your resume as a review of how much you’ve learned so far. It’s a checklist of whether or not you’re ready to take on a bartending job all on your own. If you’ve been following the steps on how to become a bartender up until now, then you should already understand that you have to know what you’re doing as a bartender before you can set off alone.
Write a detailed resume and read it back to yourself carefully. If it’s convincing and confident enough for you, you’re ready. But if not, then there’s always the part-time option. You’ll have plenty of time to practice and perfect your style. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupational growth rate for bartending is 2% faster than the average. There will always be plenty of jobs for people who have the necessary skills and credentials.
6. Practice Everything You’ve Learned
Finally, you got your first gig as a bartender. Your people skills and eagerness to please are always in play but never forget the level of wit and confidence you have to maintain while you stand behind that counter. Your better judgment and presence are the things keeping your customers happy and coming back.
Working in the hospitality industry doesn’t always mean you’re there to provide anything customers ask for. Being a professional in this industry often means knowing when to turn customers away. Your presence as a bartender is to keep the fun, which involves spirits and alcohol, at a controlled level, silently watching over them.
Conclusion – How To Become A Bartender
Becoming a bartender is one of those jobs which can be found anywhere due to high demand. The process may not take as long as occupations that need diplomas or degrees to qualify, but how to become a bartender who is right for the job is not an easy task.
A bartender is present, serving liquor and beverages not to be part of the “fun night” for customers. In charge of making and dispensing drinks, a bartender is there to have hands-on control on the level of intoxication allowed in the room, have a say on particular concerns, especially when it comes to health, and be the host of the night who sets the rules to ensure everyone goes home in one piece.
Marjolein is a financial consultant who has built over €4,000 monthly passive income and saves over 70% of her income. Read Radicals’ inspiring story, from stuck in the 9-to-5 to loving life. Feel free to send Radical a message at the bottom of this page