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    What does a bartender actually do?

    Posted by on in Bartending
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    Those who have never slung a sud in their lives may really have no solid idea as to what goes in to being a solid barman (or woman, let's be inclusive, here). To the untrained observer, a bartender waits behind the bar, takes an order, mixes up a concoction, and then gets paid. On the surface it seems a simple profession, which is probably why so many people try to dive headfirst into the job only to find that they are completely in over their heads. That's not to say that it is prohibitively complex, but a prospective bartender needs to know what they're getting into and be informed before taking that plunge.


    The modern bartender wears many hats

    All in the course of one shift they are a greeter, an entertainer, a chef, an inventor, and in the case of the successful ones, a walking drink encyclopedia. They are a libation expert, and while they're on shift, no one knows their world better. 

    Aside from a doorman (in college towns this is typically where IDs are checked to save time) the bartender is often the first contact for patrons of an establishment. This means that if they want repeat business, the bartender must be friendly and, in the span of the first few words, make the customer feel important to the bar. This can be a difficult prospect especially on a busy Friday night. The barman must be able to keep a rapport and entertain patrons in order to set the right atmosphere and upbeat mood. The goal is to make people feel welcome, which will make them more apt to keep coming back drink after drink. Here, also, is probably the bartender's second most important job. They have to be able to watch people to know when to say no to a customer who has overindulged. In many states it is actually illegal to serve someone who is drunk, so the bartender must be able and willing to tell when someone has reached their limit.

    Being a drink expert, the bartender must also know their product

    They must be familiar with each bottle, glass and garnish at their disposal. With this knowledge they are able to concoct a potion to sate any thirst. It is near impossible to know each and every recipe out there, but a solid knowledge of the tools at the tender's disposal will help them succeed even in cases where their drink knowledge may be a little shaky. 

    It can be a tough job, but it is also extremely rewarding both to the wallet, and to the soul.

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