Any new job can be a little daunting before you go in and realise it’s nothing to worry about. But when it comes to a bar job, people worry about breaking glasses, forgetting orders, or making the wrong drink – don’t. Everyone has been there, so much so that it’s almost a rite of passage when working behind the bar. However, we have some tips for any other worries that may be on your mind!
Though you may worry about working on a busy night, that can actually be the best part of your shift! Time flies as you’re busy and you get into a rhythm really quickly! Immerse yourself into these moments. Remember to give a nod to waiting customers so that they know they’re not forgotten. Customers can get a little impatient in queues and a friendly acknowledgement is all they need for an enjoyable night.
Stretch and wear comfortable shoes. Bar jobs are really physical jobs, with shaking heavy shakers for cocktails. You'll be working long hours on your feet, bending down to get ingredients from under the bar. It all adds up. Try to take time to stretch every so often and make sure your feet are comfortable as this will help you in the long run. While it’s very tempting to try and look your best for a new job, comfortable shoes are best! Remember that very few people will see your feet behind the bar.
Don’t be surprised if you have to do the smaller tasks like restocking and cleaning. It is normal to start off doing some barback work before you’re manning the bar full time.
You don’t need to go to bartending courses, but reading up on the trade isn’t a bad way to go. The best way to learn is to do, after all. That being said, it is good to know the chemistry of flavours and certain drinks so that you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Two books that would be great to read are The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan and The Drunken Botanist by Amy Steward.
Study the menu. One thing new-starts worry about is getting orders wrong. So, why not read up and memorise every cocktail and what it requires? It doesn't have to be perfect, but it might offer you a little confidence. It might be good to learn a few fun facts about some of the drinks just to get the customers chatting!
In any new job it's easy to forget to ask simple things like the location of spare items. Then, months down the line, you still don’t know where they’re kept – don’t be afraid to ask! Don't shy away from having a nosey around to see where things are kept. You’ll never know how much you need bin bags in a bar until you’re working in one yourself, so it’s best to find out sooner than later.
And lastly, have fun! Don’t stress yourself out too much, so be patient with yourself and enjoy your time, it’s such a great sector to be in and you’ll never have a day alike!
Do you have any advice for someone new to a bar job? Let us know in the comments below!
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