There are bars everywhere in this world, some good, some bad, some incredible. In this series, you’ll learn how to get that dream bartender job, working in the most incredible bar in any city in the world!
Over the past 16 years I have worked in every type of bar and in almost every role imaginable. Starting as a glass collector and bar back in a busy nightclub, a Friday’s champion flair bartender, restaurant manager and opening trainer in a luxury Dubai resort. I’ve even been a waiter, a social media manager and a nightclub cleaner. Other than being a DJ or bouncer, I think that covers all the bases!
We’ll discuss how to identify the bars that you want to get to. We’ll also look at how to create your own path to that ideal job.
Once we know where we’re aiming for, we’ll work backwards. We’ll see what experience that bar will require and how you can get it quickly. We’ll create the perfect resumé to get your foot in the door. And, we’ll get the attention you need so that people chase you to work for them.
So, let’s get started.
Where do you want to work?
Only you can answer this. Bars come in all shapes and sizes.
- Do you want to stay in your current city or are you looking to relocate?
- Does your current city have a bar scene developed enough for what you want?
- Are you looking to work in a busy nightclub, a high end craft bar or a top restaurant? What suits your personality?
The beauty of bartending is that its a skill that travels amazingly well. As long as you’re able to communicate with guests where you’re going, you’ll still be able to mix drinks there too.
Think about where you live now. If you’re not living in a fairly metropolitan area or at least within commuting distance of one, you may struggle to find bars that are creating interesting drinks or pushing the envelope of service. There are always exceptions of course but the busy areas with bars and restaurants competing will always push them to be more creative or otherwise give a reason for guests to return.
In cities, prices tend to be higher to offset the increases in rent that come along with demand for property. This will in turn mean guests with more disposable income make up a large proportion of your clientele. More disposable income means better tips, and while we all want to be amazing at our jobs for its own sake, we also want to be rewarded.
As a result of course, there is increased demand for jobs in these great bars with the highest standards and the greatest rewards for the bartenders working there. Don’t expect to walk into one of these without some serious work being put in to build your reputation within the industry before you’ll be considered for a position.
So what’s your aim?
Even if you’ve never worked behind the wood before, you’ll probably have an idea of what kind of bar would suit you the best.
Given the choice, would your dream bartender job be in a high end restaurant tasting perfectly paired wines and food or partying the night away, cocktail in hand in a nightclub? Would you enjoy hand crafting cocktails in a speakeasy measuring each ingredient or slinging bottles behind a flair bar?
All these ideas are valid, none is less interesting or skilled than another and all have their challenges. If you’re looking at the list of options above and you’re really not sure, I highly recommend you go and visit a variety of the venues in your local area. Just observe the differences in the styles of service and see which would suit your personality the best.
Don’t worry though, if your tastes change as your journey through bartending progresses, the skills you will have learnt will be just as valid. Don’t feel pressure to know right away exactly where you’ll end up, its just good to have a target in mind so that you can check your progress. Your target can change at any time and that is perfectly ok.
In the next part we’ll break down the different bar environments and why they may or may not be right for you.