How to Become a Bartender : 4 Tips on How to Become a Bartender with No Experience

How to Become a Bartender

4 Tips on How to Become a Bartender

There are as many paths to becoming a bartender as there are bartenders. Some have gotten into the business through family and friends. Some bartenders get a job by beating the streets until they get blisters (and hopefully a job).

Some bartenders even went to bartending school, although in 12 years in the business I still haven't met one. Some were looking to make great money while they go to college. Some were looking to support their family. Either way, lots of bartenders choose to make it a career because the money is so good. But this isn't about the why of becoming a bartender this is about how to become a bartender.

Everyone will be approaching their job search from a different perspective and different level of experience. I will start from scratch and assume you have no bartending experience.


The first thing you need to do is get the word out. Some people, when new to bartending, are reluctant to announce that they are looking for a bartending job. Maybe they are changing careers and are looking to make cash in the interim. Maybe they are in college and don't want their parents to know they spend their nights in a bar. But this must be overcome.

You would be amazed how many people you know - know bartenders. And I mean really know them. They spend time with their bartender on a weekly or even daily basis. This type of situation lends itself to developing real relationships very quickly. So don't be surprised when you tell Uncle Joe or cousin Robby that you are looking for a bartending job and they reply, "Oh, I think I can get you one."


Aspiring bartenders will also want to create a cover letter and resume strictly for bartending jobs only. This is an absolute must. Bartenders are expected to put their personality on display when behind the bar. Their cover letter and resume has to POP with personality. Traditional job employers want boring resumes on white paper. Do NOT do this for a bartending job. Get creative and let your personality shine through.

If you are new to bartending the personality you put forward in your cover letter and resume has to overcome your lack of experience. You can and should present your previous experience so that it comes across as a bartending skill.


The third tip on how to get a bartending job is that you need at least some fundamental skills. Bartending doesn't require any specific degree or certification but you have to come to the table with some skills. If you are totally new to the business I recommend checking out this video series. It was produced by the folks at expert village and is a tremendous resource for beginning bartenders. I have imbedded on video below. When viewing don't worry about the recipes but pay attention to the technique. Go to a restaurant supply store and get the equipment you see the bartenders using, like a martini shaker, strainer, pour spout and wine knife. Set up a small work station and practice using these tools. Have fun with it and don't get intimidated.

The video series has a ton of recipes but don't be fooled. In most establishments you will make the same 20-50 drinks over and over. Once you know all the standard two ingredient drinks like a screwdriver, rum & coke, and greyhound learning all you need is actully pretty easy. It is a myth that bartenders need to know hundreds of recipes, don't be fooled.


Last but certainly not least....Take Action! You can surf the net all you want, you can dream about it all day, nothing will happen unless you take action.

"Action is no guarantee of happiness, But without action there is no happiness."

Just decide to believe in yourself and follow a plan.

Those are my simple and easy to implement tips on how to become a bartender.

How to Become a Bartender - Shake like a Pro

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The Publican profile image

The Publican 8 years ago Author

This hub has gotten 195 views this month. I know there is a community of aspiring bartenders out there. You are not alone.

Stick around and leave a comment. Don't be shy. I'll try to answer as many questions as I can but don't be afraid to talk to each other.

Take Action - Share your Experiences now!

P.S. - Let me know what questions you have or anything else you would like to see on this hub. It is here to for you. Don't be shy, ask away. What is the one question you want answered in your quest to learn how to become a bartender?

Quentin  8 years ago

I have checed out a few bartending schools and they claim they can train me in as little as one to two weeks and place me in a job, is it worth the money?

The Publican profile image

The Publican 8 years ago Author


While I can't speak for the legitimacy of every bartending school out there I have yet to see ONE that stands true to that offer. They all claim to do job placement at the end and what they do is give you some outdated phone numbers to call.

Try to find someone who has graduated from this school to verify their claims. They should be able to give you a long list a happy graduates.

They will teach you how to make drinks but that is only a small part of being a bartender. Sign up for my newsletter at for the best free advice anywhere.

Good luck and Happy Hunting

YoungGuy 8 years ago

I am under the drinking age, but I would like to become a bartender to help me through college and travelling. Do you think I should start as wait staff and learn the tricks by watching, getting accustomed to the scene, and befriending the bartender? Or is it best to simply jump into the pool of bartending opportunity and ask around for jobs as you say?

The Publican profile image

The Publican 8 years ago Author


I am not sure which state you in but most states require that you be 21 in order to bartend. If you are looking to make some good cash to help you through school and do some traveling I would highly recommend becoming a server to start your journey to become a bartender.

Servers can make good money as well and the experience will help you get that first bartending job later. Try to befriend the bartenders and ask them to teach you what they can.

There is no better way to learn especially when you are probably to young to hold a bartending job.

Good luck.

CultureSHOCKinHB 7 years ago

Should I apply for a "bar-back" job if I have no experience? I live in a city with a number of bars, I'm certain an employer would not wish to take the time to teach someone from scratch if there are already experienced bartenders around.

The Publican profile image

The Publican 7 years ago Author

Culture Shock-

Just because you don't have experience and live in a city with lots of experienced bartenders doesn't mean you can't get a bartending job. Here is a secret employeed bartenders don't want you to know:

Sometimes managers would prefer to hire someone with no experience and a GREAT attitude!

Why? Because experienced bartenders often come in with bad habits and a chip on their shoulder. Teaching a new employee recipes and mixology is EASY compared to trying to adjust their attitude.

If you go out there a look for a bartending job with a great attitude and remain open to getting your foot in the door as a bar-back you will have a job in no time.

Good Luck

CultureSHOCKinHB 7 years ago

Right on my friend, thanks a lot. I was excited about the idea, and your words are just what I need to push myself to go out and give it a try.

Say I'm a quick learner, or even an average many hours you think it would take for me to move up to Bartending from bar-back?

The Publican profile image

The Publican 7 years ago Author


Glad I could help. Being excited and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is truly more than half the battle. Stay positive and you will get a job in no time.

As far as how long it will take to move up - that is a question that can't be answered. Too much depends on variables like the business' needs, employee relations, etc. But worry about how long and stay open to skipping the bar-back phase and getting hired directly as a bartender.

No matter what people tell you, new bartenders (with absolutely no experience) get hired everyday. Show them you are positive, show them you're great attitude - they will teach you to make the drinks.

For more detailed tips check out the newsletter available at

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

arun kumartr 7 years ago

i want to become a bartender

The Publican profile image

The Publican 7 years ago Author


You have to turn that statement into action. You will become a bartender when you start doing things that make you a bartender. Read this Hub and my others. You are on your way!

Good Luck

David Martin 7 years ago

THanks so much. I need more information

the publican 7 years ago

Hi David,

My pleasure. For more info check out the links in the Resources Section and my other Hubs.

Merry Christmas.

kristi 7 years ago

I am very interested in becoming a bartender! I don't live in a big city, but I have been told that it would be much too difficult to start off as a new bartender in a bar or club, but that I should try working in a restaurant first because they are not quite as busy. Do you think this is a wise choice??

the publican 7 years ago

Kristi -

I think that is a GREAT idea. There is a misconception with aspiring bartenders that the big bucks are only in the happening bars and nightclubs. Nothing could be further from the truth. In many large establishments you can't get to know your customers(so they tip less) and there are so many bartenders that after everything gets split, you could have made more pulling a slow shift at a local pub.

If you are totally new to bartending I would recommend finding a small restaurant or neighborhood bar to start in. They are perfect for beginning bartenders.

Good Luck with your search. Head over to and sign up for my free newsletter. There is also my Seven Secrets Program for sale but I have had a few people e-mail to say they got a job with just the tips in the newsletter.

Happy Hunting,


Mikeyo 7 years ago

i am going to this school in dallas where you spend the first half of class learning the basics and the second half learning in an actual bar, i know that all these people say that bartending school doesn't help but im acctually learning a lot. And if i have a speech problem and i can get jobs then anyone can become a bartender, you just need the confidence and the rest will come.

The Publican profile image

The Publican 7 years ago Author


I couldn't agree more with your statement on confidence. The first step in any venture is to believe in yourself. If you have found a bartending school that works for you - that is awesome! You see a lot of negative stuff on bartending schools b/c too often they overpromise and under deliver. If you have found a good one - then run with it.

Good Luck to You and keep us posted on your success!

Armand 6 years ago

I'm forever grateful for your advice. I too was leaning towards the bartending school venture. After looking into it more, I have yet to find any of my friends who bartend that have actually graduated from any of these schools. The one school I was looking at said that I would need 2 certifications to be a bartender in Illinois, a BASSETT license and another license with a less profound name. Have you heard anything about those requirements in Illinois or other states? Would I need one or both to start a career in bartending? Thanks!

PDX 6 years ago

I'm 34 y/o, been working for corporate america (aka CUBED ENVIRONMENT) for 12 years. I was recently laid off. I have a big personality and cannot imagine stifling my abilities (personality) another day in that stuffy environment. I hated it, but it paid the bills. I believe I have two things that an employer would want from an aspiring bartender. One, it's a career change and I'm committed to BEING a bartender. Bar tending would not be a stepping stone or an interim job "to pay the bills." It would be a career choice, and in an industry with high turnover I would imagine this would be a selling point. Two, I've worked in a professional environment for 12 years. Punctuality, professionalism and the ability to interact with people I like (but more importantly people I don't like) comes naturally to me. Well, to throw in a third trait, I think my personality fits this role quite nicely.

I'm going to enroll in a bar tending academy not because I believe it's the solution to getting placed in to a job, but because I have to learn some fundamentals.

Jaime 6 years ago

I am new to NYC and I have never worked the service industry before, yet I have tons of friends who have. When is the best time to go to a bar asking for a position? How should you dress, like a traditional interview or a little bit more relaxed? And should you have ur picture on the resume?

Thank you!!!!

Paige Appleton 6 years ago

I have written an article on how Bartending Schools Are A Joke, it can be found on my blog at Find this article and more at

JC 5 years ago

Ok, watched the has anyone told this guy his counts are off? Not only that but he's using his hands to handle the cherry on one of his drinks..EWWW. And what's with scooping the ice with the glass? Doesn't he know if that glass breaks in his icebox, he's going to be in a world of crap? Some simple observations

Jess 5 years ago

i'm going to be 18 in about a month,and i have been thinking very seriously for about two years now on becoming a bartender. i know you said above that most places require you to be 21 when you bartend,but i was hoping that wasn't true of all places. do you know of any exceptions?

For Jess 5 years ago

You gotta check out the laws for your state. Some states will allow an 18yr old to bartend while others require that you are of legal drinking age. Even despite those laws, some places will have different standards for hiring a bartender such as requiring the age of 21 even though the law allows the age of 18.

If I were you, I'd look online for your state laws and then walk into the places you'd want to work at and ask them what they want in a bartender. Since you're 18, you could probably walk into most establishments.

Leisha 4 years ago

I have always wanted to become a bartender... I currently attend school full time(Monday-Friday) and could possibly only work one day a week. Do bartenders have the flexibility to work only a day a week? I also wanted to ask a few bars if they would be willing to train me such as an apprentice. Do you think people actually do that?

alanna 4 years ago

i am very great with people and have a very bubbly personality but im kinda scared to try to find a bartending job with no experience. how should i go about finding a bartending job with no experience?

Lin 4 years ago

Im going to work at an airport clubhouse bar & I'm afraid that I will get a lot of non tippers as they come to get their "entitled" free drinks. Any suggestions on how to creatively make more tips in this scenario?

Marisse 4 years ago

I would like to become a bartender. I have good people skills and a lot of personality. I am a middle aged woman though and I fear that will be a major hindrance in my getting a first job. Mainly because of my "image." What are your thoughts on this? I could use an honest answer here. Am I barking up the wrong tree? Should I be looking into another profession?

CloudiaJen 4 years ago

Hay! Im 18 and live in south africa!

I just got a job in bartending i have no experience and my 1st time working as a bar lady i work in a club its so loud you learn to read lips but its really fun!!

getting the drinks is not tha hard part for me i usualy ask tha people to help me or tha other working bartenders to help me what im finding hard is tha teller where you type the alcohol and doing all the payments as im not that good with maths the teller helps a lot its just it takes me an extra 10minz to find what they orderes on the teller its hard i say i just need time to learn tha teller and where tha most popular drinks are then i will do fine its nice when u work in a place with relaxed cool people coz then you know tha boss is cool :)

good luck everyone ! i hope you have FUN ! don't stress about tha rest it will fall into place adventualy :)

Lolliesoft 4 years ago

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