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expected of a bartender

So What Exactly Is Expected of a Bartender?

The real title of this post would be more accurately named “According to the customers, what exactly is expected of you as a bartender. But you need to be so good at it that even the customer doesn’t realise you are doing it…” Yeah that’s what we thought, too much of a mouth full. It’s easier to explain we promise. 😀 So…

Imagine yourself in your favourite bar. What is it that makes it so good? The decor? the drinks? the music?

Well it is probably a combination of a lot of little things that come together. When they do though, they create your perfect place to have a drink and socialise with people.

You never can quite put your finger on why. You just feel more at home at that particular bar. Even over other similar places that your friends may say they enjoy more.

The truth is that without the right type of bartender, who it is that that tends to the decor. Makes the drinks, and has power over the music. You would most likely hate that bar. What would happen if you went in one day and the bar staff had all been turned into vending machines?

It just wouldn’t feel right to not have that human interaction. Don’t you agree?

Without the bartenders my favourite bar would be so bad! #bartender Click To Tweet


expected of a bartender



Believe it or not, most complaints aren’t about the products or the state of the toilets. They are about the human input, or most importantly the lack of it. Simply, if there is a bad bartender then the chances are it is perceived as a bad bar. We have all had an experience like this before surely?

Just take a look at this “Gripe-O-Meter” which outlines exactly what complaints customers make when visiting a restaurant.

what's expected of a bartender

Let’s take a look at life working within a restaurant and then compare.

In a restaurant, the customer effectively rents the table from the proprietor.

It is the waiter or waitresses role to simply provide a service to their guests whilst they are in the dining room. A key part is to be careful not to intrude into the guests’ space, whilst still providing a high level of service.

If a waitress or waiter sits down at your table and starts telling you about your day, you are going to think that it’s odd right?

But if the waiter or waitress doesn’t sit at your table you would never say that was odd, so that would go completely unnoticed by you in a restaurant.

In bars however it is a different story, so here’s what we think makes a great bartender. (So good the customer doesn’t even notice…)

The guest and the bartender share the bar. So it is really down to the bartender to welcome customers into the bar. They need to work with the customer to not only provide great quality drinks. But also conversation, laughter, education on drinks, and sometimes even counselling. It does happen…

To ensure every customer has a fantastic experience. The bartender must ensure they provide everything that we just set out above for each and every customer.

The environment set by the bartender must feel completely comfortable to the customer. Now that may mean having to clean up any unpleasant messes, ensuring toilets are kept to the highest standards (even on the busiest of holidays) and management having to deal with any unruly customers who may be impeding on the other guests’ experience.

It is left to the bartender to not only dispense great drinks. Educate customers in the wonderful world of alcohol. Turn difficult customers into long time regulars and also entertain and wow each and every guest who comes through the doors.

What is expected of a truly great bartender though is to not only make great drinks, but be able to do so with a smile whilst reading each guest they serve…

Do they just want a quick beer undisturbed? Are they unsure as to what to drink? Is this the first time they’ve tried a cocktail? What cocktail would they therefore enjoy?

Are they seasoned drinkers who are looking for a different cocktail to experience their spirit of choice in? Or do they just want to sit at the bar and enjoy some light conversation with another human being?

Remember that the bar is a stage. The bartender should love it.

Remember that the bar is a stage. The #bartender should love it!! Click To Tweet


Bartending is not just a part-time job – it is a profession. They need to represent themselves and the bar to the standards that they have been trusted with. Knowledge can be taught but passion for service cannot.

So let’s have a quick recap about what we believe should be expected of a bartender;

Let us know if you agree with us in the comments? Is there anything else you would add?

PS: Don’t forget to download this infographic below in a handy PDF format



expected of a bartender

Having worked within the hospitality trade for over 15 years I've done a lot. From scraping plates to the managing of 150+ staff and regularly creating thousands in revenue per week. My passion is creating a winning team that blows the competition away. There is no greater feeling than seeing the staff's achievements. So share away and let's all be better bartenders. | | The upkeep of this website can be thirsty work! Would you like to buy us a drink?

  • Dr Oben

    great article. Learnt a lot from this as a layman on the subject.

    February 18, 2018
  • Daryl Schweitz

    Very good site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!

    September 7, 2015
  • Sherron Aveles

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Excellent work!

    July 22, 2015
  • search

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you so much,
    However I am experiencing problems with your RSS.
    I don’t know why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody having similar RSS issues?
    Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond?


    July 9, 2015
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