Bartending school is one option. But talk to most restaurant and nightclub managers, and they’ll tell you that they’ll take experience over formal training any day. The truth is that you don’t have to go to bartending school to become a bartender. Schools will teach you how to pour and the most popular drink recipes, but you can learn that on your own.
1. Purchase a bartending guide.
2. Study the recipes for about 20 drinks.
3. Visit your local bar and show them your charisma.
The most important characteristics that a bartender should have is a friendly smile and an ability to talk with, and listen to, the bar’s patrons. As a bartender, you’re more than just a server; you’re a confidant, a therapist, and a friendly ear.
Without formal training, your best bet is to apply (always in person) to a local bar or restaurant. Once you have experience behind the bar, you can work in almost any environment.
For insurance purposes, many establishments prefer their staff to be TIPS certified (http://www.tipsalcohol.com). Getting certified will give you an extra credential when applying for coveted bartending positions.
If you’re personable, responsible, and dependable, you will succeed in bartending.