Tips for New Bartenders
These tips are designed to help those new to bartending become better than the average. These are things that any experienced bartender will tell you that you either should know, or should be doing. These are more so work performance related tips, rather than actual How Tos.
Keep your workstation clean!
- The cleaner your station, the more professional you look. This includes the bartop; nothing is worse than leaning on a bar that's sticky.
Know where your equipment is
- Also known as mise en place, or 'everything in its place'. Keep your equipment clean and close at hand.
Leave your shit at home
- We are allowed personalities, but don't bring your troubles to work with you. No dirty laundry, no negativity, no inappropriate behaviour (within reason). You're being paid (and tipped) to be charming, smooth, entertaining and professional. Smile like you mean it.
If you move it...
- Put it back. If you use a bottle of spirit, put it back where it comes from. If you use any equipment, clean it then return it to where it lives.
The bar boils down to three areas: Serving, Cleaning, and Restocking.
- A bad job on one will bring the entire lot down around your ears. There is always something to do.
It's YOUR bar.
- Never let a customer tell you what's going to happen; maintaining control of the relationship between server and guest is part of your job.
- Always carry a waiters friend, three pens, and a lighter. A notepad is handy. Know your specials and your drinks / products of the week.
Remember: your job is not to meet the customers expectations. It is to exceed them.
Tips for the Advanced Bartender
Understand your local liquor laws and licensing.
- Understanding the regulations that govern your workplace and how you should be serving is a must to be a serious bartender.
Learn to grow that third eye.
- You should be able to read your bar at a glance; who wants a drink, who needs a refill, who needs to move onto water.
Shaking vs Stirring
- Read the information available, and form your own opinion. Then put method into practice.
- Learn about the extra bar duties in your bar. How to descale the glasswasher, how to change a keg, where to find the less commonly used items (extra straws, napkins, speed pourers), etc.
Open Your Mouth
- If you see something and question it, or wonder why you do something a certain way, ask the more experienced bartenders or your manager. If you have an idea, tell someone. Hiding your desire to learn and help won't do anyone any favours.