Do you have an idea of the kind of environment where you want to bartend?
Picture your dream bartending job in your mind. Note the location and the people in front of you. What do they look like? Is the bar quiet and peaceful or is there a raucous crowd in the background? Are you dressed in jeans and a t-shirt or are you wearing a shirt and tie? What does the atmosphere look like in your dream job?
Just because you get the certification and experience doesn’t mean you’ll be a perfect fit for every bartending job that comes along. If the environment of the bar doesn’t mesh with your idea of what a bartending job should be, your dream job may turn out to be more of a nightmare. Working at a posh country club bar is going to be a whole lot different than a college bar near a busy university, and the type of bartender for each one is going to vary just as much. As you go along with gathering more knowledge and experience in your bartending career, you need to focus on the type of environment where you want to work.
My first real bartending job was at that cigar bar downtown, but the bars I frequented in college and graduate school were all of the “busy college bar” variety. I had to get used to the fact that the clientele I had been used to in college were vastly different from the ones I was serving now. Before the environment was populated by young 20-somethings that were out for a good night on the town with little else in mind, but now the crowd looked a little different.
Now I was making drinks for men and women in their 30s and 40s, individuals with careers and families and vastly different goals than the ones I’d known before. I had to adjust my workplace persona from my personal experience to the workplace expectations. If I came into work expecting the groups I encountered in college, I wouldn’t be doing nearly as well at my job (and hence fewer tips) and the people I served wouldn’t be satisfied with their experience (as noted by fewer tips). I had to adjust to my new workplace, and both the customers and my wallet thanked me for doing so.
As you search for bartending jobs you’ll have to determine which environment will be the best for you. From wine bars to beer gardens to high-class cocktail establishments, there are a nigh-infinite amount of bartending jobs that are available, and based on your knowledge and experience, you’ll need to find the one best suited for you.
Of course, even with these three points there’s one final thought to consider…