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Career as a Bartender

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Who is a Bartender?

A bartender can generally mix classic cocktails such as a Cosmopolitan, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Mojito.A bartenderis a person who formulates and serves alcoholic or soft drink beverages behind the bar, usually in a licensed establishment. Bartenders also usually maintain the supplies and inventory for the bar

Bartenders are also usually responsible for confirming that customers meet the legal drinking age requirements before serving them alcoholic beverages.

What does a Bartender do?

Mixes and serves drinks to customers, either directly to customers at the bar, or through waiters and waitresses who place drink orders for dining room customers.

A bartender will typically do the following: - Check identification of customers to ensure they are of legal drinking age - Clean bars, tables, and work areas - Operate cash registers, collect payments from customers, and return change - Manage bar operation and order and maintain liquor and bar supplies- Greet customers, inform them about daily specials, and give them menus - Take drink orders - Pour wine and serve draft or bottled beer and other alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks - Mix drinks according to recipes

Bartenders who use this equipment, however, still must work quickly to handle a large quantity of drink orders and be familiar with the ingredients for special drink requests.

In some establishments they may also use carbonated beverage dispensers, cocktail shakers or accessories, commercial strainers, mist or trigger sprayers, and ice shaver machines.

In addition to mixing and serving drinks, bartenders’ stock and prepare garnishes for drinks and maintain an adequate supply of ice and other bar supplies. They also may wash glassware and utensils and serve food to customers who eat at the bar. They are typically responsible for ordering and maintaining an inventory of liquor, mixers, and other bar supplies.

Different types of bartenders?

The Mixologist

These different bartenders are someone who cares about craft. They may have studied bartending under a well-known restaurateur or perhaps they are a self-taught drink scientist. Although often mocked amongst other industry people, secretly we thank you; you have elevated the art of bartending in society’s eyes. The bars they work in most likely have a dozen mason jars filled with unique garnishes and ingredients. While the drinks might cost a bit more, if you love liquor, there is nothing better than being served by someone who really knows their stuff.

The Career Bartender

For a lot of people, bartending is a means to an end; a job to keep you flush during college or something you do during a brief stint of unemployment. You will know the long-term employee by their unflappable attitude, seemingly unending drink knowledge, and how they appear to know everyone else in the industry.

The Club Bartender

All hail club staff. Are truly the unsung heroes of our world. Your workplace is hot and loud, your customers are drunk and demanding, and your hours are long and grueling. You may not always have it in you to smile, but you serve and serve and serve. If it were not for your high-volume skills, everyone would go thirsty.

The Local Bartender

Sometimes like the Career Bartender, the local bartender isn’t just some random person behind the stick, they are a beloved part of the community. They know everyone in the neighborhood and are often friends with many of their regulars. They may even live nearby and participate in group outings with their customers. The Local Bartender is like the glue that holds the neighborhood together.

The New Bartender

New Bartender. Maybe you are in college, or maybe this is the first real world job you have had since you grew out of babysitting. You arrive on the scene with stars in your eyes ready to make fists full of cash and live that heady lifestyle you have heard so much about. While you will make cash, and you will have fun, get ready for a tough awakening. The rest of us wish you well.

The Showy Bartender

Often confused with The Mixologist, the Showy Bartender is another entity entirely. They have probably picked this up working in a place where “flare” bartending is part of the appeal. They can be seen crazily flipping bottles and pouring 20 shots at a time with three shakers. Wherever they learned it, they areusing it to their advantage. If you are not a little bit nervous while they are working, they are doing something wrong.

What is the workplace of a Bartender like?

Bartenders work on their feet for long periods of time. Many lift heavy cases of liquor, beer, or other bar supplies

Bartenders work in restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, and other food service establishments.

They often fill drink orders for waiters and waitresses who are serving dining room customers. As a result, bartenders must work well with their colleagues to ensure that customers receive prompt service.

Knowledge areas that need to be acquired –

Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.

Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.

Skills –

Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.

Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.

Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential act to choose the most appropriate one.

Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Technology skills

You might use software like this on the job:

Point of sale POS software

  • Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale

  • NCR NeighborhoodPOS

  • Internet browser software

  • Web browser software


An outgoing personality

  • Communication skills

  • The ability to work well in a team

  • Tact and diplomacy for dealing with difficult situations

  • Numeracy

  • Physical fitness and stamina

  • A good memory

  • Reliability

  • Responsibility

  • Calmness under pressure

  • Flexibility

  • A smart appearance


People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.

They do well at jobs that need:

  • Dependability

  • Self-Control

  • Integrity

  • Attention to Detail

  • Cooperation

  • Social Orientation


high school diploma/GED or no high school diploma/GED usually needed

Job Outlook

Employment of bartenders is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Overall job prospects are expected to be very good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

Average Bartender Salary in India


Frequently Asked Questions

Q) Is it worth to choose a bartender career?

1. It is Actually Hard Work

Many people go into bartending thinking that it’s a really easy job and that they'll just be hanging out at the bar all day. While it’s true that it’s a social job with a lot of fun aspects, it’s also hard work, both mentally and physically. Bartenders must do hours of prep work and cleaning while memorizing people’s orders, keeping an eye on unruly customers, and honing their knowledge of cocktails, to name a few.

2. You Have to Be Nice to People

There are bouncers to help you out when you get in trouble, but you’re really going to need to learn to put up with some not-so-fun stuff from people if you’re going to be good at bartending.Bartenders must do hours of prep work and cleaning while memorizing people’s orders, keeping an eye on unruly customers, and honing their knowledge of cocktails, to name a few.

3. You Need to Be Able to Set Boundaries

People frequently hit on bartenders and getting romantically involved with customers is almost always a bad idea.Although you are going to have to be nice to people, you will also need to be careful not to be too nice.

If you are not good at setting social boundaries, you will probably want to avoid this line of work.

4. You'll Make Good Money, but It Won't Be Steady

A good bartending gig can earn you a lot of money, but you are by no means guaranteed a steady income. Much of a bartender's income comes from their tips, so the shifts you are given and the customers that happen to come in while you are working can greatly impact how much you actually earn. Weather, the changing of the seasons, and sheer luck make it difficult to rely on your paycheck.

Q) Are bartenders happy?

Bartenders are below average when it comes to happiness.

At Career Explorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, bartenders rate their career happiness 3.0 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 35% of careers.

Q) What are bartenders like?

Being a bartender involves a whole lot more than just making drinks and taking people’s money.

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