Advice for Working in a Bar for the First Time

Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2019 by Amy ListonNo comments

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 bartending, people worry about breaking glasses 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 rather quickly!  Immerse yourself into these moments, but remember to give a nod to those waiting so that they know they’re not forgotten as people can get a little impatient in queues and a friendly acknowledgement is all they need for an enjoyable night.

Stretch and wear comfortable shoes.  Bartending is a really physical job, with shaking heavy shakers for cocktails, 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.

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 to recommend are The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan and The Drunken Botanist by Amy Steward.

Study the menu.  The one thing people worry about is getting orders wrong, so read up and memorise every cocktail and what it requires, and 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 we forget to ask simple things like the location of spare items, and months down the line still don’t know where they’re kept – don’t be afraid to ask, and have 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?  Let us know in the comments below!

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