How to Become a Bartender
There are many different ways to become a bartender. The most popular ways are by going to a bartending school and by learning on-the-job.
Definition of a Bartender
A bartender is a person that serves alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages at a bar.
What is the age requirement to become a bartender?
The age requirement for a bartender varies by state. Many states require the person to be of legal drinking age to work as a bartender. Most states, if not all, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. Since every state is different, please check with your ABC Board to get more information.
Qualities of a Bartender
- 1. Great personality, easy going person, a people person
- Bartenders interact with many people everyday. If they don't have a great personality, customers are not going to come back to them.
- 2. Good math skills
- Bartenders need math skills to make change quick.
- 3. Good memory
- Bartenders have to remember all the mixed drinks that a customer ordered.
- 4. Knowledge of liquors, cocktails, wines and beers.
- Bartenders have to know what they're selling.
- 5. Team Player
- Many bars have more than one bartender behind the bar, so bartenders have to work together as a team.
- 6. Able to work under pressure
- Many times bartenders get a lot of people coming to the bar at once, so they have to be able to work under pressure. Sometimes bartending could be a very stressful job.
- 7. Good grooming
- Bartenders have to look presentable when they bar tend.
Do I have to go to a bartending school to become a bartender?
No. You don't have to go to a bartending school to become a bartender. Some places might want you to go to a bartending school, but for the most part you don't have to.
It is a good idea to go to a bartending school because bartending schools provide a lot of information in a short period of time. Students learn about liquors, bartending techniques, bar glassware, garnishes and how to make about 150-200 mixed drinks in a simulated bar. They also learn about behaving properly in different types of establishments.
Note: Bartending schools can not guarantee a job placement.
If I don't go to a bartending school, how can I become a bartender?
You can get a barback or cocktail waitress job at a bar or nightclub. Then, you work your way up to a bartender. The bartenders at the place you work will train you to become a bartender. You will learn a lot of things by just working in that establishment.
Barbacks: They are the bartenders' assistants. They're responsible for preparing the cocktail garnishes, washing glassware, stocking beer and liquor, changing kegs, etc. They work behind the bar next to the bartenders.
Cocktail Waitress: They are servers who specialize in serving drinks.
Do I have to have a bartending license or certificate to bartend?
It all depends on the state, county, city or establishment where you want to bartend. Some places require that you get certified before getting a bartending job.
How do I get certified?
You have to take a class and then you take a test. The class talks about laws of your state, the Blood Alcohol Level (BAL), DUIs, fake IDs, serving alcohol to minors, facts about alcohol, preventing intoxication, the dangers of drunk driving, how to refuse service, etc.
Where do I get certified?
What is a bartender's salary?
Bartenders make minimum wage or less. Their salary is primarily their tips. Their income comes from the tips received from the customers and not much from the pay check that they get from the place they work at. All bartenders rely on tips for their living.
What are the things that every bartender has to know?
Every bartender has to know ...
- Mixed drink recipes
- Bartending techniques
- Bartending equipment / tools
- Cocktail garnishes
- Bar glassware
- How people order mixed drinks
Is it hard to get a bartending job?
It's not hard, it just takes time to get the bartending position at a bar or nightclub. Many bars or nightclubs don't hire bartenders. They train their barbacks or cocktail waitresses to get any bartending position that is available.
I recommend getting a job as a barback or cocktail waitress. Then, work your way up to become a bartender. If you can afford a bartending school, you should go to get more knowledge about the business. You should also get certified. You will learn many things when you take the class to get your certification.
Note: All this information applies to bartenders in the United States. I don't know about other countries. If you know about other countries, please let me know.