So you want to be a bartender? Part 5

By J. Halperin [email protected]

Read Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Most importantly, do you know anyone who is currently hiring for someone like you?

Each previous issue builds on each other, and that’s one of the most important things you need to consider when training and searching for a bartending job. Each issue should be part of larger search criteria when looking for a job and each can help find a better job because of it. Ask yourself, are you going to be the kind of person that a manager would want to hire as a bartender?

This goes along with the previous issue of the bar’s environment. You as a bartender will have to fit in with this environment, so the manager will be looking for qualities that match it. This is where your knowledge and experience will be vital; if you have a history with the type(s) of bartending that a manager is looking for (or can phrase it well enough to make it LOOK like you do) and show that you are a good fit for the place, you should be good to go. If not, you’ll probably have to keep searching until you find that combination of a bartending job with an environment to match your knowledge and experience.

A good bartender adapts to changing needs of the business.

A good bartender adapts to changing needs of the business.

While I bartended at the cigar bar, I had to deal with a version of this. As previously noted, the crowds here were different from the college crowds I was used to, and as the months passed I noticed the clientele was largely male…and with nearly all female staff. Strangely enough, the female staffers also were the ones getting larger tips. I could have been upset, but this was part of the managers knowing who would be the best fit. They knew the kind of staff that a predominantly male clientele might respond best to. They were right, too.

One of the best ways to check for this is to know the bars where you want to work. Know what experience they’re looking for in a bartender, and know what the environment will be like should you get hired. Spend some time in the bar and get a feel for the kind of clientele they cater to; this way you get to know the environment, and you might also get to know the people working there (which could come in handy for a reference later). Plus, one of the best ways to impress potential employers is to show them you researched the position you’re applying for and know what you’re getting into.


At this point, you should have a good idea of what you’ll need for starting your bartending career. Remember, every situation is unique, so what may work for getting one job may not work for another. Adaptability is going to be your best friend in this field, but having that good foundation won’t hurt your chances.


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