How to Become a Bartender

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Bartending is one of the most popular jobs in the food service industry in the United States. It has a high turnover rate and seems to adjust easily to the economy. There are many different types of bartenders – from those who work at five star hotels or upscale restaurants, to those who work at corner bars.

Bars need employees, and often have high turnover rates because it is a stressful job with odd hours. In order to become a bartender you will need some background information on how bars operate, what skills are required for success, which type of bar you would like to work at, and finally what your options are when it comes to schooling for a career as a bartender.

The first thing you will need to learn is what types of bars there are. A bar can range from the casual corner bar, to a trendy night club with upscale prices. You may even choose to work at a five star hotel or upscale restaurant as a bartender. Some bartenders also specialize in specific drinks like martinis, margaritas, or aperitifs.

There are different types of bars, and that will determine how much bartenders make per hour as well as the type of places you work in.

• Lounge – lounges have a slower atmosphere and offer drinks with snacks. These tend to be the least expensive bars, and most people who work here are also in charge of food service.

• Tavern – a bar that serves only alcohol, usually beer and wine with limited food selection. These bars can range from casual corner bars to upscale establishments. There is usually more of a laid back atmosphere where you will be less likely to encounter large crowds or rowdy customers.

• Sport’s bar – these bars are often decorated in sports memorabilia. They can be very casual, and they serve food as well as drinks.

• Dance club – these bars also serve alcoholic beverages and music is played in the background. There is usually a cover charge to enter and sometimes a minimum drink purchase requirement.

• Hotel Bar – these bars usually cater to guests of the hotel and their visitors. These can be very upscale and offer high end liquors, wines, and expensive snacks. They also usually have a good view of an area like a golf course or city skyline.

• Nightclub – these bars can be noisy and crowded with people dancing as well as drinking alcoholic beverages. The atmosphere is usually designed to be edgy, and they often have a cover charge or minimum drink purchases requirement.

• Piano Bar – these bars are similar to Nightclubs except there is an actual pianist playing the piano as people sing along with songs from the 20’s through present day. You will need to know how to play the piano or have a strong singing voice to work in these types of bars.

• Sports Bar – usually decorated with sports memorabilia and televisions playing various sporting events. These are casual bars that serve food as well as drinks.

• Coffee House – these bars are designed for people who want to go out for coffee or tea, but can also serve alcoholic beverages.

• Family or Children’s Bar – these bars are designed for families with children, and usually offer a full menu of food choices as well as drinks. Most of these do not serve alcohol during the dinner hours when they are frequented by families. They often have games like darts or billiards available for entertainment.

• Country or Western Bar – these bars are often decorated with a country or western theme and offer a relaxed atmosphere. This is very casual bar that serves drinks and food.

• Restaurant Bar – These bars can be found inside upscale restaurants serving various types of alcoholic beverages, as well as soft drinks and fruit juices. They usually have a full food menu, and some upscale restaurants use this as an opportunity to show off their kitchen skills by offering appetizers or desserts that are not on the regular restaurant menu.

There are pros and cons for each type of bar situation. For example, night clubs tend to pay more than lounges, but they require more skill in dealing with rowdy and intoxicated customers. Lounges usually have a relaxed atmosphere with limited work, but the pay tends to be lower than some of the other bar types.

Each type of bar has its own advantages and disadvantages as well as opportunities for bartenders. Make sure you consider each of these factors before deciding on where to apply for your bartending job.

• Higher pay – nightclub, hotel bar, and piano bar often have higher wages because of their more upscale atmosphere with a great deal of customer traffic.

• Free drinks – a common benefit at bars is getting free drinks when you are on duty. At nightclubs this can be easier to get since there may be a dress code, but otherwise you will have to depend on tips from your customers.

• Better tips – there are certain bar types where the pay is based more on your performance of how well you work, rather than if each person pays a fixed price per drink. This means that the better you perform in these situations can mean better tipping by your customers.

• More opportunities for fun – some of the bar types like nightclubs, piano bars, and sports bars can be more fun because there are lots of people to mingle with and if you are having a good time it shows through in your work performance.

• Better atmosphere – country or western bars usually have pleasant atmospheres that are designed for people to relax and unwind. This can provide a nice bar environment for your home, especially if you like this type of atmosphere.

• Longer hours – some of the bars with higher pay also require more work during the weekdays which means working longer shifts or even weekends.

• Better tips – most restaurant bars will pay better because the food that they offer is generally more expensive, and people are paying for their drinks along with their meal.

So this is how to Become a Bartender.


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