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Learning How to Become a Bartender

Updated on August 21, 2015

Are you ready to break into a career field that gets you out of the house at night, offers incredible tip potential and employment opportunities in almost every city and town on the planet? If so, it’s time to check out what it takes to become a bartender.

You don’t necessarily have to dance on the bar like the girls from “Coyote Ugly” or dazzle customers with neat pouring tricks like the guys from “Cocktail” to make it big in this field either. You do, however, have to learn the ropes of mixing up tasty libations while also honing service skills that will entice customer loyalty and the big tips that come along with it.

While technically anyone can learn how to become a bartender, it takes special qualities to become a great one. The bartenders who do the very best in the field tend to display these traits:

  • Speed and accuracy: When customers want drinks, they want them now. Mastering different recipes isn’t enough to impress. To really do so, you have to be able to deliver with speed.
  • Multitasking: Bartenders are tasked with keeping up with a lot of things at once. If multitasking isn’t a strong suit, bartenders can quickly find themselves in the weeds as customers become impatient.
  • Excellent memory: Learn how to become a bartender and you’ll have to memorize recipes for dozens and dozens of different drinks. You’ll also have to have the ability to remember what customers ordered so you can pour quickly and deliver. Instant recall matters in this business.

Possessing the qualities of a great bartender isn’t enough to break into this field. Here are some other things you’ll need to consider as you learn how to become a bartender:

  • Schooling: While saving the cash to go to bartending school isn’t always 100 percent necessary for launching a career in this field, it can help. When you want to learn how to become a bartender that knows the tricks of the trade along with all the lingo, a good bartending school can give you a jumpstart.
  • Customer service: Bartenders that do very well in the field are masters at customer service. They know not only how to pour the most popular drinks, but also how to keep customers happy while they do so. When you learn how to become a bartender, mastering the ability to carefully monitor a bar and anticipate customer needs is vital for success.
  • How to land the right jobs: Depending on the market you’re hoping to break into, the competition for bartending jobs can be very tough. Even with a certificate from bartending school, it can be hard to land a job in some areas where the competition is stiff. With that in mind, it’s wise to learn how to write a resume that will properly impress hiring managers and enable you to get your foot in the door.
  • How to maximize tips: As you learn how to become a bartender, you’re likely to discover that most establishments don’t pay a high hourly wage for this particular position. Instead, many bartenders earn their keep by raking in the tips. Considering that, it’s important to understand what it takes to impress customers into leaving big tips on a consistent basis. Those who master this skill can rake in $300, $400 a night and sometimes more depending on the market served.

Ready to learn how to become a bartender? Be sure to check out for some more practical advice from a veteran in the field.

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