How to Pursue a Career as a Bar Tender

How to Pursue a Career as a Bar Tender

Are you passionate about mixology and creating unique cocktails? Do you thrive in a fast-paced environment and enjoy interacting with customers? Pursuing a career as a bar tender may be the perfect fit for you. In this article, we will explore the steps you can take to kickstart your journey in the exciting world of bartending. From gaining relevant experience to honing your mixology skills, we will provide you with all the essential tips and insights to help you succeed in this dynamic industry.

Education and Training for a Career as a Bar Tender

If you’re looking to pursue a career as a bar tender, it’s important to understand the education and training requirements for this role. While formal education is not always necessary, gaining the right skills and knowledge can greatly enhance your chances of success in this field.

Attending Bartending School

One option for aspiring bar tenders is to attend a bartending school. These schools offer courses that cover everything from basic bartending techniques to advanced mixology skills. Attending a bartending school can help you gain hands-on experience and learn from industry professionals.

Completing Online Courses

Another option for education and training in bartending is to complete online courses. There are many online platforms that offer courses in bartending, mixology, and cocktail preparation. These courses can be a convenient and flexible way to gain the skills and knowledge needed for a career as a bar tender.

Gaining Hands-On Experience

One of the most important aspects of education and training for a career as a bar tender is gaining hands-on experience. This can be done through internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering at local bars and restaurants. By working in a real-world setting, you can learn valuable skills and build a network of industry contacts.

Overall, pursuing a career as a bar tender requires a combination of education, training, and hands-on experience. By investing in your education and gaining practical skills, you can set yourself up for success in this exciting and fast-paced industry.

Skills and Qualities Needed

Becoming a successful bar tender requires a combination of skills and qualities that go beyond just pouring drinks. Here are some key attributes that are essential for pursuing a career in this field:

Customer Service Skills

One of the most important skills for a bar tender is the ability to provide excellent customer service. This includes being friendly, attentive, and able to anticipate the needs of patrons. A good bar tender should be able to make customers feel welcome and comfortable, and should always strive to provide a positive experience for everyone who walks through the door.

Mixology Knowledge

Having a solid understanding of mixology is crucial for any bar tender. This includes knowing how to properly prepare and serve a wide range of cocktails, as well as having a good understanding of different types of spirits, liqueurs, and mixers. A skilled bar tender should be able to create unique and delicious drinks that keep customers coming back for more.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is key for a bar tender, as they need to be able to interact with customers, colleagues, and suppliers on a daily basis. This includes being able to listen to customer orders, communicate effectively with kitchen staff, and work as part of a team to ensure that everything runs smoothly behind the bar. Good communication skills are essential for providing excellent customer service and creating a positive atmosphere in the bar.

Getting Certified

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a bar tender, getting certified can greatly enhance your skills and job opportunities. In this article, we will discuss the different types of bartending certifications, the benefits of getting certified, and how you can obtain certification.

Types of Bartending Certifications

There are several types of bartending certifications available, including:

  • Professional Bartending Certification: This certification covers the basics of bartending, including mixing drinks, customer service, and bar management.
  • Advanced Mixology Certification: For those looking to specialize in crafting unique and creative cocktails, an advanced mixology certification is a great option.
  • Sommelier Certification: If you’re interested in specializing in wine or becoming a wine expert, a sommelier certification would be ideal.

Benefits of Certification

Obtaining a bartending certification can provide numerous benefits, such as:

  • Increased Job Opportunities: Many bars and restaurants require bartenders to be certified, so having a certification can open up more job opportunities.
  • Enhanced Skills: Certification programs often cover a wide range of topics, from mixology to customer service, which can help you become a more skilled bartender.
  • Credibility: Having a certification can demonstrate to employers and customers that you are a professional and knowledgeable bartender.

How to Obtain Certification

To obtain a bartending certification, you can:

  1. Enroll in a bartending school or program that offers certification.
  2. Complete the required coursework and pass any exams or practical assessments.
  3. Obtain your certification from the accredited institution or organization.

By getting certified as a bartender, you can improve your skills, increase your job opportunities, and demonstrate your credibility to employers and customers.

Finding Job Opportunities

When pursuing a career as a bar tender, it’s important to actively seek out job opportunities in the industry. One of the most effective ways to find job openings is by networking within the industry, applying directly to bars and restaurants, and utilizing online job boards.

Networking within the Industry

Networking within the industry is crucial for finding job opportunities as a bar tender. Attend industry events, such as bartending competitions or mixology classes, to meet other professionals in the field. Building relationships with experienced bar tenders can lead to job referrals and insider knowledge about available positions.

Applying to Bars and Restaurants

Another way to find job opportunities is by applying directly to bars and restaurants in your area. Create a polished resume that highlights your relevant skills and experience, such as previous bartending roles or certifications in mixology. Visit local establishments in person to inquire about job openings and hand-deliver your resume to the hiring manager.

Utilizing Online Job Boards

In addition to networking and in-person applications, utilizing online job boards can help you find job opportunities as a bar tender. Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Craigslist often have listings for bartending positions at bars and restaurants in your area. Create a profile on these platforms, upload your resume, and set up job alerts to stay updated on new openings.

By actively networking within the industry, applying directly to bars and restaurants, and utilizing online job boards, you can increase your chances of finding job opportunities as a bar tender and kickstart your career in the hospitality industry.

Advancing in the Field

After gaining experience as a bartender, many individuals may be interested in advancing in the field. One common career progression is becoming a head bartender, which comes with additional responsibilities and opportunities for leadership.

Becoming a Head Bartender

To become a head bartender, it is important to continue honing your bartending skills and knowledge of cocktails. Additionally, developing strong leadership and communication skills is crucial in this role. Head bartenders are often responsible for creating drink menus, training new staff, and overseeing the bar’s operations.

Opening Your Own Bar

For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, opening your own bar can be a rewarding career move. This allows bartenders to have creative control over the establishment, from the drink menu to the overall atmosphere. However, opening a bar requires careful planning, financial investment, and a solid business plan.

Exploring Bartending Competitions

Another way to advance in the field of bartending is by participating in bartending competitions. These competitions offer bartenders the opportunity to showcase their skills, creativity, and knowledge of cocktails. Winning a competition can not only boost your reputation in the industry but also open up new career opportunities.


In conclusion, pursuing a career as a bar tender can be a rewarding and fulfilling path for those passionate about mixology and hospitality. By following the steps outlined in this article, including gaining experience, obtaining relevant certifications, and continuously honing your skills, you can set yourself up for success in this competitive industry. Remember, dedication, professionalism, and a genuine love for crafting delicious drinks and providing exceptional customer service are key to thriving as a bar tender. So, if you’re willing to put in the hard work and commitment, the world of bartending can offer you a dynamic and exciting career with endless opportunities for growth and success. Cheers to your future as a skilled and successful bar tender!