How Hard Is It to Become a Bartender?

by James Fangs 3 years ago in bartenders

So, just how hard is it to become a bartender? Read on to find out!

How Hard Is It to Become a Bartender?

Believe it or not, there's a lot of work to do in order to actually become a certified bartender. Yes, this means attending bartending school to become an amazing bartender who studied in mixology and the art of liquor and spirits. But getting your bartending certification doesn't entirely take a year to get — it's only a couple of weeks of learning and training. And once you've received that certification, it's time for you to go out there into the real world.

However, just how hard is it to become a bartender? Many people would think it's tough to go through while others may believe it's a total breeze. Yet, it's how you yourself perceives this interesting and creative career. There's a lot to come in the process of becoming a bartender as well as actually working as one. So here's what you must know in order to become a great bartender.

Take bartending courses.

In order to become a certified bartender, you must attend bartending school and take courses. Through this process, you'll basically learn everything about bartending: studying mixology, learning the differences in liquor and spirits, how to use the tools and utensils to mix drinks, and even the proper way to interact with patrons. Even though it may sound like a lot, it's quite simple after a couple of weeks of understanding the basics and getting the hang of mixing with the tools.

And getting your certification doesn't take long, too. So, don't think you'll be spending a year in bartending school, it's only about a couple of weeks. Also, if you're not interested in actually showing up to classes, you can simply enroll in online bartending schools in the comfort of your own home. Learn through notes and videos as well as train and mix beverages on your own time, too.

Decide where and when to start bartending.

Now that you've earned your bartending certification... what's next? Well on how hard is it to become a bartender, it's your choice where you would like to work! Whether you're interested in working in the south, in the beaches of Miami, Florida, or even in the city that never sleeps like New York City, finding the location is key to the greatest bartending experience.

Once you've decided on an area in where you would like to work in, acknowledge and understand the atmosphere of the area. Do shift last throughout the entire night? Are you capable or mixing drinks from 12 AM to 6 AM? Or are you more interesting in serving drinks in resorts during the day? The choice is yours.

Have your CV stand out.

Show off on your CV and make yourself look like the best and most skillful bartender out there. Add a list of your skills, give it some personality, and also any relevant experiences that involve serving drinks, mixing drinks, and even waitressing.

However, don't put up any informal photos of yourself. Keep it classy and professional — your CV is the gateway to getting you a job. And most importantly, keep your CV short and sweet. If your CV is very long with irrelevant information, it will lose the employer's interest in you.

Job Hunt

Now that you have your CV looking amazing, how hard is it to become a bartender? Here's the fun part, job hunting! You're around the area where you would like to work in, so you stop by at restaurants, bars, lounges, clubs, resorts, etc. and ask if you can leave a CV. Never be afraid to ask if a bar is hiring or if they can take a CV off from your hands. These actions are ways to get a job and if you don't throw yourself out there, it will be much harder to get a bartending job.

Also, dress professionally. All bartenders are dressed professionally on the job, so it makes sense to present yourself that way, too. And remember to smile. Employers are looking for bartenders who have a positive attitude and can easily greet and talk to strangers. As a heads up, never ever be cocky. First impressions are very important, so keep it positive.

Start working your way up.

Hooray, you got the job! Now from here on out, you start working your way up. Even though you might be working at a small bar or at a slow restaurant, you still got a job. It's your duty now to impress patrons and your boss with the skills you've mastered through bartending school and training.

Practice makes perfect, so even after hours continue to train yourself in making classic drinks and cocktails. No one ever fully learns without pushing themselves to practice more. Give what the patrons want and do what your boss tells you and from there you'll go higher.

Bartending looks easier than it really is.

You're viewing a bartender constantly mixing drinks from behind the bar, and even though it all looks easy, it can actually be tough at times. Most bartenders work for 10 to 12 hours — sometimes without a break. There are also hours of preparing and cleaning up.

However, many bartenders don't let the long hours drag their love away from the career. Their passion is what drives them to work everyday. They get a kick out of mixing cocktails and drinks and interacting with customers. It's really how you view bartending yourself.

Bartending is also about multi-tasking and having a good memory.

If you didn't notice by now, you must be great at multi-tasking and having a great memory. When the bar is starting to crowd up, it's the bartender's duty to manage multiple patrons at once. Meaning whipping up cocktails while taking someone else's order. Mixing drinks, serving cocktails, answering menu questions, collecting tips, all of this happens within minutes!

Having good memory is crucial, too. You've got a line of thirsty individuals who want to test out the craziest cocktail on the menu. Some of these people are picky, too, who don't want too much vodka or less cranberry juice. Since many bartenders don't actually have the time to write down all of the orders, they manage to keep the orders in their heads.

Be prepared to deal with drunk patrons.

Yes, there will be a lot, a lot of drunk patrons coming into the bar and even lingering on the tables. On how hard is it to become a bartender, it's legally required for the bartender to refuse to serve a patron once they are visibly intoxicated. Also, many bartenders are held responsible for accidents that can occur to a customer for over-serving them.

If a drunk customer hurts themselves or another customer while leaving, you and the bar can be held responsible for the incident. So, as for the bartender's duty, he/she can refuse to offer anymore drinks to an intoxicated customer as well as kindly ask them to leave depending on their reaction. Also, be aware that many drunk patrons are rude and can be violent, so be prepared to confront them with a confident personality.

Have the confidence to work under pressure.

Bartending can be very, very stressful, especially if you're working at a bar or lounge that's constantly packed with people. If you're always dealing with customers, mixing seven cocktails every three minutes, managing impatient customers, it's possible to fall into stress. But remember, if you have a strong passion in bartending, this shouldn't nudge your love for it.

There will be customers hating their drinks, customers who can't bear to wait another minute for their cocktail, even customers who will pick a fight with you, and other weird things bartenders have to deal with. As a bartender, it's your job to handle the situations professionally and always keep a positive attitude — even if you're extremely irritated.

Continue crafting drinks!

Lastly, how hard is it to become a bartender? It's up to you if you want to keep your passion and continue loving the career. And in order to keep up with your passion, continue crafting and whipping up drinks on your free time! Practice makes perfect and always coming up with new cocktail recipes is key to strengthening your skills.

Whether you're practicing at home or after hours at work, no professional bartender became a pro without a lot of practice and training. So, if you're looking to become an amazing bartender, never stop crafting drinks and cocktails on your free time.

James Fangs
James Fangs
Read next: Whiskey: A Guide and History
James Fangs

Part vampire, part human — I can make Edward Cullen cry. I also have a collection every horror film DVD under my bed.

See all posts by James Fangs