Bartending is a fascinating vocation which involves displaying the knowledge and creativity with charm, extreme stamina, and patience to prove your worth every minute of the day (or rather night). Read to know more about this profile.
The famous bookstore in the city always buzzed with wannabe writers, literary geniuses, critics, hardcore readers, and many more who could do anything for the love of their life, 'books'.
At a corner, away from the eyes of all those, sat a young girl who almost adored sipping a cup of black tea and turning the pages of the Bartender's Guide or Imbibe. Pure literature novels were her first love. She would luxuriate in Hardy and Milton and sometimes in Conan Doyle, but this sudden new-found joy in reading bartending books was surprising.
Anyway, her indulgence called the attention of a man, who was none other than one of the biggest hoteliers himself. It was a coincidence that the city's most famous hotel was in the same building as the bookstore. The man was always up for experiments. He invited her to join him and within a few months she was quite a rocking member of the service industry.
That was the story of how a young girl became a bartender. But, everyone's not that lucky and welcome co-incidences are uncommon. You definitely need a degree or experience or both to become a well-known bartender. So, we present to you the most appropriate work profile in case you are up for the hard work and dedication that this profession requires.
Facts About Bartending
Before getting into the details, let us find out what bartending is all about.
If you ask people, you would surely get the answer, 'It's fun and it's cool'. Sure it is, it's a lot of fun and a lot cooler than many other professions, sans the pains of long unending shifts, endless hard work, etc., etc., etc.
If you have no love for sleep, hate to follow routines, tired of maintaining good health, love to starve yourself and just adore watching people merrymaking all around while you don't have time to blink, this sure is meant for you.
Okay, it's not all that bad. You just have to be immensely good at multitasking and need loads and loads of patience.
By multitasking, you have to manage the bar, all kinds of guests, your complaining boss, the money part (the billing, tips, the extraction at times from not so willing customers, the runaways who are sure they don't want to pay) and also should be in a position to project your PR and marketing skills.
Phew!! That wasn't much.. By patience we mean, managing all these duties keeping a cool head and also managing your manager at the same time (he would never seem to be happy, how much ever you work!!).
How Does a Bartender Work
The abode of a bartender is his workstation and he spends a major part of his time in setting up the bar and workstation. He checks the given things daily and sometimes at regular intervals on a busy night.
The liquor stock (including the number and quantity)
The wine stock―all important brands (more than one brand of each grape variety)
The speed rail―must have all the fast-moving brands in the right order
Freezers―must be well stocked with beer
The cigar humidor
The bar―must be properly supplied with ice, juices (fresh and packaged), crushes, additives, fresh fruits and vegetables, non-alcoholic liquors, soda, energy drinks, and other garnishes.
Cleanliness and hygiene―all glasses, cutlery, and the bar itself must be thoroughly clean
Bar display―must be attractive and innovative
Now that the workstation is all set, the bartender gets the ball rolling for the evening. He prepares himself to welcome every soul who walks through the door.
The bartender must be sharp enough to judge a person the moment he walks in. Through experience he becomes quite capable of determining the age, status, and character of a person. He greets his guests and makes it a point to cater to their needs. A bartender must have a very amiable personality and must always be willing to help.
A bartender must have a sharp memory as he is expected to remember the faces of guests along with their drink preferences. He may need to remember their profession, their hobbies, their likes and dislikes.
It gets quite taxing when your manager passes a piercing glance if you manage to forget the number of ice cubes a guest prefers in his drink (even if he is visiting your bar after God knows how many years!). He must be very smart and diplomatic.
They have to learn where to invest their precious limited time which would reap them benefits for many evenings to come. Building a rapport and good customer relations is one of the major pointers of becoming a successful bartender.
Using his/her charms to impress and win over a guest proves to be rewarding. He needs to be updated with current affairs and things happening around. Basic knowledge of finance, sports, and entertainment works as conversation starters and also aids in customer building. Marketing skills and the knack to upsell, however, are polished with time and experience.
Today, bartending has become quite a sought after career option as it is itself a cocktail of fun, creativity, innovation, business, marketing, and obviously involves a lot of money.
There has been a rapid increase in the number of schools which have mushroomed all over the country. Though you actually do not require much of a qualification to become a successful bartender, learning the most important tricks of the trade will always prove to be helpful.
You can enroll in a full-time course, or do a certification which is of a shorter span. All of these programs compulsorily include -
All information related to a bar
Detailed cocktail beverages and drink recipes
Attire and conduct instructions
Tips to work under extreme pressure
Handling untoward situations
All state and local laws and regulations related to liquor and tobacco
Some of these schools provide options of finding jobs for their graduates as well.
Students planning to go for hotel management can also specialize in bartending and bar handling after completing the mentioned course. Experience is much needed to attain a senior level and also for deciding the salary.
A fresh graduate has to slog very hard to achieve the skills and knowledge needed to reach a certain level of seniority. Employers too prefer experienced bartenders who have skills and personal qualities, and education usually takes a backseat. The minimum age to become a bartender is 21, though people above 25 are usually preferred.
Bartending is a great learning experience in itself, and one must scan the pros and cons of this job before taking the decision. It is challenging and appealing, nevertheless, think before you choose.