Bartender jobs are fun and vibrant, but are by no means easy. Being behind the bar is a totally different experience to being the customer in front of the bar. Serving up complicated cocktails on a Friday night with a bar full of queues is high pressure, and you need to be quick on your feet to get the job done – not to mention adjusting to night shifts!
So let’s take a look at what it takes to become a successful bartender.
- Do you need training to be a bartender?
- How much does a bartender earn?
- Tips for becoming a bartender
- Top bartending CV skills
Do you need training to be a bartender?
No, bartending in the UK is a job that doesn’t require any formal qualifications or training – although it can’t hurt to have it! Many bars hire inexperienced trainees and provide training once you’ve been hired to make sure you can confidently serve up the bar’s hottest recipes and uphold their reputation.
How much does a bartender earn?
The average salary for bartender jobs in London is £22,492. But don’t forget, you also have the opportunity to earn tips as a bartender, particularly if you work in a high-end bar where a lot of wealthy professionals like to go.
Tips for becoming a bartender
Start as a barback
Barbacks don’t make up the drinks, but they play a key role in making sure the bar runs smoothly throughout the night. It’s a great way to familiarise yourself with bartending without chucking yourself in at the deep end. As a barback, you’ll be responsible for keeping the back of the bar tidy and stocked, as well as collecting any glasses and loading the dishwasher.
Know your cocktails
Most bars will have their own spin on certain cocktails that you’ll get to know on the job, but learning the key ingredients of the most common cocktails will help you in the interview process. Cocktails like margaritas, long island ice teas, and cosmopolitans are very popular – so knowing the ingredients to these will give you a headstart.
Learn the basics of wines
Do you know your dry wines from your sweet wines? How about the difference between a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc? When you’re working behind a bar, you’ll often have customers ask for drinks like a ‘dry white’, so knowing the difference between the wines will definitely be a huge advantage.
Get to grips with the lingo
The world of bartending has a language of its own. Expect to hear terms like ‘neat’, ‘on the rocks’ and ‘virgin’. Just brushing up on this lingo before you step foot into your first shift will make your life a lot easier.
Top bartending CV skills
Bartenders need to be sociable since bars are a place where people go to socialise. So to really enjoy your job and do it well, bartenders need to be warm, friendly and chatty.
A little bit of flexibility goes a long way in the world of bartending. With shift patterns changing and different problems arising throughout the night, you need to have a flexible approach to chop and change, and muck in wherever you’re needed.
Again, bartending isn’t a relaxing or easygoing job. It’s 8 hours of non-stop being on your feet in a quick-paced environment. You’ll need to show employers you can keep up and won’t be put off by the intensity of the work.
Bartenders often have several things popping up at one time. You need to be able to handle several orders in one go, all while taking payments, keeping the bar area as clear as possible and interacting with your customers at the bar.
Ready to jump in?
Working in a bar is hard work – but it’s great for sociable people and, because of the quick-paced nature of the role, the shifts tend to fly by in no time at all. Just be prepared to have achy feet at the end of the night, and undergo a steep learning curve to get to grips with the world of beverages!