Cool, classy, with an aura of warmth and hospitality… ready to fix you with an intricate looking drink in seconds.
When you head to a club or a pub, you will notice them right away. They are the bartenders. They come in different shapes and sizes, with each one having a unique personality. They will even have their own unique signature mix! Whether it's in a high-volume nightclub or an upscale cocktail bar, you will always find them on the other side of the bar counter, skilfully mixing drinks. Aside from the trendy music and hyped-up party goers, bartenders are the main attraction of a bar business.
A bartender, by definition, is the person behind the bar of a club that mixes and concocts different types of drinks. Barman, Barmaid, Mixologist, Barkeep, and Bar Chef, are some of the names that people call them. Bartending used to be a dead-end job, normally for college students that are trying to earn money while studying. But contrary to that now, bartending is a profession that has been steadily gaining popularity. By the turn of the century, there had been an upsurge for bartending jobs, bartending training, and bartending school.
But what makes bartenders so cool? How do bartenders become so good at what they do? Do they spend half of their day getting drunk just to come up with a good mix of cocktail? Are skilled bartenders born that way? You might have these questions in mind while thinking about them and their profession, especially if you are an aspiring bartender or a bar owner who's still learning the ropes.
There is no magic in becoming a skilled bartender. Plenty of people who want to become one undergo training in bartending schools, where they learn the basics of shaking, stirring, flaming, layering and blending. If you have just received your bartending license and are pretty much a newcomer to the bartending scene, there is no natural talent needed. You might not have that many tricks up your sleeves yet, like juggling or throwing bottles and then catching them in mid-air. Legendary bartenders started with little knowledge too, actually. But you can surely start to be a pro through this list of skilled bartenders’ best practices.
Skilled bartenders are people persons. Being in a hospitality business needs a people person and skilled bartenders know that. You will find them greeting their guests and opening small conversations when needed. To practice your people skills, always have that sociable atmosphere. A warm smile always leads to a good conversation...followed by a good flow of orders of drinks. Make your guests feel comfortable around you by talking about appropriate topics. You don’t need to be a chatterbox just to keep your customers' attention, but it will be a sure help to know some jokes or updates on current events. Know your guests, ask simple, non-intrusive questions, keeping in mind that your current guest can be a future patron, so it pays to know them, bit by bit.
Skilled bartenders are masters of their craft. There is a long list of mixes and concoctions that a skilled bartender can come up with. And they know every detail of the drink that they will serve you. This is one core knowledge that every skilled bartender should have. If you know what you are serving, then you will have more confidence and pride in presenting them to your guest. You'll also have good chances of offering a fitting mix to a guest who hasn't decided on what to order yet. For the novice bartender, this can be difficult although it is imperative to know that skilled bartenders do not learn everything overnight. Your learning curve will be hastened by your research and experience. Start by acquainting yourself with a few drinks and mixes. Work your way through crowd-favourite orders, and practice all the time to perfect your craft.
Skilled bartenders have excellent memory. Sharp memory serves skilled bartenders well. They thrive successfully in this business and in their own careers because they know their patrons, and their craft, by heart. Bartending is no way near a routinary job since you get to interact with different people every day, aside from being able to mix more glasses of drinks and refreshments too every day. How do skilled bartenders manage to accomplish all that? By having a healthy mind. How do you train your mind to remember your patrons and your craft? That is the reason why it is important to connect with your guests and to practice your skill. Interaction with the people that you work for and applying your acquired knowledge helps your mind be familiar with them.
Skilled bartenders practice multitasking. Skilled bartenders consider their time as precious. Every second is important, especially on nights when the crowd is building up and drinks are expected to pour from the bar. Multitasking is one valuable skill that you should apply in your work. You will find it easier to work with both hands especially when everything gets a little bit too hectic. Efficiently take orders and line them up for you to fix. Depending on the style of business transaction that you are comfortable with, find your best, most efficient way in mixing drinks while taking into account the orders that need to be prepared and the payments that need to be received.
Skilled bartenders are clean and well-organised. They provide conscious effort in arranging and tidying up their workplace. How is it helpful? A clean and organised environment helps you focus and work faster. Keep your bar counter clutter-free by taking away used glasses and wiping your counter clean. It will invite more guests if they know that they can sit by the bar counter and have a clean, neat space from which to order a drink. Organise your tools, equipment, restock your ice, garnishes and drink supply to avoid unnecessary delay because of confusion and last-minute restocking.
Skilled bartenders are attentive. Skilled bartenders have a keen sense of attention to details. They know how to pick up on a person’s mood or the situation. This helps them open the right conversation, even offering the right drink to a guest. Attentive service is very essential in a setup where alcoholic drinks are being served. Learn to observe. Monitor the situation inside your bar by being perceptive to people’s actions. You, being the bartender, should be in control of the situation at all times. If a guest is already stepping out of his boundaries as a client, then that is your cue to take action.
Skilled bartenders know how to have fun and when to start it. Bartenders are like the centre of gravity in a bar. People crowd around them to get a drink and be entertained. Learn to have fun with people. Every guest has a story to tell. A guest might just want to have a good laugh. Every guest is looking forward to hearing a good story. Or they just need a simple advice or two. Being adaptable to your customer’s needs is fun. You’ll realise that aside from being a bartender, you can also be an entertainer, an advisor, a teacher, a good listener, even a psychiatrist.
Does this blog help? Do you think that being a bartender is the right career path for you? Or do you think that being a bartender on your own bar business will help you more in effectively managing it? If you said yes to all, then these restaurant and bar manuals might be of help. View our catalogue now!