Friday, March 20, 2009

How to Become a Bartender with No Experience

Article: How to Become a Bartender with No Experience Written by Brian Williams

*I agree with most of this article, MOST. Read my two cents below:

"You can’t get a job without bartending experience."
I agree with the author. There are some bars out there who only want experienced bartenders. There are also plenty of bars out there who want new blood. Bars want the new blood so they can train them how to be the bartenders they want them to be. There are some bartenders out there who have plenty of experience, but have lots of bad habits and shitty attitudes. New blood is excited to just get behind the bar and are usually anxious to learn.

"Bartenders need to know hundreds of drink recipes."
I agree with the author again. Don't get overwhelmed and discouraged if you don't know every single drink out there. News flash: No one knows all of the drinks out there. It's impossible. There are new drinks created all the time. How could one possibly know them all? Besides, as long as you have the basics down, you can pretty much make any drink out there. If I get customers who order drinks that I have no idea what they are (trust me, it happens every now and then), I just ask them. Customers are always more than happy to tell you exactly how they want you to make their drink. Some bartenders will fake it because they are too embarrassed to admit that they don't know how to make the drink. I call nonsense. I would much rather know how to make the drink correctly than to guess and have it sent back. When in doubt, look it up in a recipe book or Google the recipe on the computer in the office. That is if you are really worried about it.

"The money is in the Nightclubs."
Agreed again. I know this from personal experience of working in a nightclub myself for three years. It all depends on the club you work in. In some clubs, bartenders can make bank (Hello Vegas!). In some clubs, you might have 15 bartenders on each night and have to split the tips evenly. That means if you have a customer who tips you a hundred dollar bill, you would have to throw that bill in the tip jar and split it up 15 ways. Sad, but true. Hey, if you don't like it, find another bar to work in. It's that simple. Every bar has a different policy on how tips are split up and distributed. Find a bar that makes you happy and wealthy!

"You have to serve or barback before you can bartend."
Once again, I totally agree with the author. I have never barbacked a day in my life. In fact, I learned how to bartend, on the job, behind the bar. I think if I would have went to bartending school, my life would have been a while lot easier. But hey, some of us have to learn the hard way. That's just the way it is.

"You don’t need a resume for a bartending job."
Hell yes you need a resume, for any type of job you apply for. I agree with the author on this one as well.

"Bartending requires certification."
This is where the author and I differ. Having a bartender certification is usually never required in order to bartend, but the author of the article totally discredits bartending schools. I disagree. I am an instructor at a bartender school and I feel like the information we provide to our students is invaluable. I wish I would have began my bartending career with the information that is provided to our students during the two-week course. It would have saved me a whole lot of heartache. But to each his own. There are some people out there who really dig bartending schools. There are also people out there who snub their noses at bartending schools and insist that everyone must learn on the job. In my mind, knowledge is power. I take it anyway I can get it, school or on the job. I aim to learn something new everyday.

"You need to know somebody in order to get a bartending job."
Eh, this depends. You know the saying, "it's all about who you know." This is true in some cases. Bar owners and managers would much rather hire someone they know and trust, but there are plenty of qualified people out there who make wonderful bartenders. You just have to present yourself as a ready and able bartender during your interview. I always tell people, bartending is 10% drinks and 90% personality. If you can charm a bar owner or manager with your personality, you can probably charm customers into coming back to the bar over and over again. That alone will get you a job behind any bar. Any monkey can make a drink. Monkeys can't talk to or charm customers. Food for thought.

Overall, I liked the article. What do you think?

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