Posted On: September 7, 2023

Bartender Courses: Become a Bartender

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Are you intrigued by the art of mixology and aspire to become a skilled bartender? Whether you're a newbie in the world of bartending or someone looking to enhance their skills, this blog post aims to provide answers to some frequently asked questions about becoming a bartender. From understanding the role and responsibilities to what steps you need to take to get into the field, we've got you covered.

What Does a Bartender Do?

Bartenders do a lot more than just make and serve drinks. While some of their duties can vary depending on where they work, some general responsibilities typically include:

  • Greeting and interacting with customers in a friendly manner
  • Taking drink orders and preparing beverages
  • Mixing and garnishing cocktails according to recipes or customer preferences
  • Recommending and serving drinks based on customer preferences
  • Maintaining cleanliness and organization of the bar area
  • Collecting payments and operating cash registers
  • Adhering to local alcohol regulations and ensuring responsible serving practices
  • Managing inventory and restocking supplies

Do You Need a License to Bartend?

In some states, obtaining a bartending license is mandatory in order to legally sell alcohol. This certification, issued by the state or municipality, serves as proof that you have completed the required state-approved courses and possess a comprehensive understanding of alcohol sales laws and related regulations.

It's important to note that each state has its own unique licensing obligations, including varying courses and prerequisites. For instance, in some states, acquiring a license is a prerequisite for starting work as a bartender, while others offer a grace period of up to 180 days, during which you can work while your license application is being processed.

Who Needs To Be Certified To Sell Alcohol?

For states where a bartending license or alcohol certification is required, bartenders aren’t the only ones who would need to be licensed. If an establishment that sells alcohol is located somewhere where licensing is mandatory, then anyone who serves or sells alcohol would need to be certified. This includes bartenders, servers, hostesses, managers, owners, and anyone else involved in the service of alcoholic beverages.

How Do I Become a Bartender for the First Time?

Becoming a bartender requires a blend of knowledge, skills, and experience. Here are some steps to help you get started.

Research the Profession

Familiarize yourself with the bartender's role, responsibilities, and required skills. This will help you determine if it's the right career path for you.

Gain Basic Knowledge

Try to learn the types of alcoholic beverages, cocktail recipes, and bar equipment you’d be using as a bartender. Online resources, books, and videos can be valuable learning tools.

Enroll in a Bartender Training Course

Consider registering for a reputable bartender training course such as Learn2Serve by 360training. Our comprehensive courses cover various topics such as alcohol laws, how to spot the signs of intoxication, tips on preventing alcohol sales to minors, and more.

Practice Your Skills

Practice mixing cocktails and perfecting your techniques. Set up a home bar and experiment with different recipes to build your confidence and creativity.

Network Within the Industry

Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with experienced bartenders. Networking can help you learn from others, gain valuable insights, and discover job opportunities.

Gain Real-World Experience

Look for entry-level positions at bars, restaurants, or hotels. Starting as a barback or server can provide valuable experience and help you understand the dynamics of a bar environment.

Refine Your Skills

Continuously hone your skills by attending workshops, participating in competitions, and staying updated with the latest trends in mixology.

How Much Does a Bartender Make?

The earning potential of a bartender can vary depending on several factors, such as location, establishment type, experience, and skill level. In general, bartenders can earn an hourly wage along with tips. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021, the median hourly wage for bartenders was $12.23 an hour, or $25,438 a year. The bottom 10% of bartenders made below $8.63 an hour ($17,940 a year), while the top 10% made more than $22.93 an hour ($47,690 a year).

It’s important to note that tips can significantly contribute to a bartender's income. Skilled and experienced bartenders working in upscale establishments or in metropolitan areas may have the opportunity to earn higher wages and receive more generous tips.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Become a Bartender?

The minimum age requirement to become a bartender varies depending on the jurisdiction and local regulations. In many countries, including the United States, the legal drinking age is 21. Consequently, the minimum age to work as a bartender in those regions is typically set at 21 as well. This is because bartenders must handle and serve alcoholic beverages, which are restricted to individuals of legal drinking age.

However, there are some exceptions and variations. In many states, the minimum age to work as a bartender may be lower, typically around 18 or 19. Certain places may also allow individuals under the legal drinking age to work in bars or establishments that serve alcohol but restrict them from directly handling or serving alcoholic beverages. They may be assigned roles such as barbacks or servers for non-alcoholic beverages. Anyone thinking of becoming a bartender should check the minimum age requirements for their state or city before applying somewhere.

What Are Some Advantages of Becoming a Bartender?

Becoming a bartender offers a range of advantages that make it an appealing career choice for many individuals. Here are some key advantages of pursuing a career as a bartender:

Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

Bartending provides flexible work hours, including evening and weekend shifts. This flexibility allows individuals to pursue other interests, engage in personal commitments, or balance their work with studies or family responsibilities.

Social Interaction and Building Relationships

Bartenders have the opportunity to interact and build relationships with a diverse range of people. From engaging with customers and fellow staff members to networking with industry professionals, bartending offers a social and dynamic environment that fosters connections.

Continuous Learning and Skill Development

The world of beverages and mixology is ever-evolving. As a bartender, there are endless opportunities to expand your knowledge and refine your skills. From learning about new spirits, cocktail recipes, and techniques to staying updated with industry trends, bartending offers ongoing learning and personal growth.

Good Compensation

Bartending can provide financial incentives, particularly through tips received from customers. Skilled and experienced bartenders have the potential to earn competitive wages with the added benefit of tips. In busy establishments or high-end bars, bartenders can often increase their earnings through their expertise and customer service.

Job Demand and Opportunities

The hospitality industry, including the bar scene, continues to thrive. Bartenders are in demand in various settings, including bars, restaurants, hotels, and event venues. This demand translates into job opportunities and the potential for career growth.

Transferable Skills

Bartending equips individuals with a range of transferable skills that can be valuable in other areas of life and different industries. These skills include multitasking, customer service, communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and adaptability. Such skills can be advantageous for future career paths or entrepreneurial endeavors.

Excitement and Dynamic Environment

Bartending can be fast-paced and exhilarating, especially in bustling bars or nightlife establishments. The energy, vibrant atmosphere, and thrill of delivering exceptional customer experiences make bartending an exciting and dynamic profession.

Personal Fulfillment

Many bartenders find personal satisfaction in the ability to create enjoyable experiences for their customers. Seeing patrons appreciate their craft, enjoying signature cocktails, and leaving with positive memories can be deeply fulfilling.

If bartending sounds like a rewarding and exciting career, you should take the first step and enroll in an alcohol server training course today!

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