Culinary Arts
2 min read

What is a bartender?

EHL Insights
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Frank Sinatra once said: “Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”

The reality is that there will always be a need for those who serve drinks in a comfortable and relaxing setting. Bartending can be an excellent career option for those who are interested.

In fact, this job is available at nearly any corner of the earth. We’ve put together some basic information about bartending and what the job entails.

What is a Bartender?

A bartender has many other names such as barkeeper, mixologist, alcohol server or bar chef--to name a few. Essentially, a bartender is any person who prepares or serves alcoholic (and some non-alcoholic beverages) from behind a bar.

Bartenders can work in any licensed establishment to include a “bar” and also taverns, restaurants, hotels, casinos and other locations. A bartender may have other tasks to do as well, such as serving food, taking inventory and providing general customer service.

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A day in the life of a bartender

A bartender’s day will vary somewhat depending on the establishment that he or she works in. However, there is the expectation that a shift may begin by taking inventory of the stock on hand, restocking the bar with the “extras” needed to serve beverages such as lemons, ice, and other items.

In a busy establishment a “barback” or bartender’s assistant may help with this task and will also usually keep clean barware coming to the bar during the shift. Then, the bartender will spend his or her shift preparing drinks, keeping the bar wiped down and chatting with the patrons.

In most locations a bartender is expected to be a social person who is willing to converse with customers. In some restaurants or taverns, the bartender may also be tasked with preparing drinks for those sitting at tables. A server will usually pick up those drinks and deliver them.

The end of the night may mean cleaning the bar and taking inventory again.

Qualities of a good bartender

A few of the qualities of a good bartender include:

  • Friendly personality and the ability to make conversation with new people

  • Organized and methodical

  • Clean and neat

  • Steady nerves and the ability to handle a crowd

  • Knowledge of alcoholic beverages and how they are served

Career options for a bartender

A bartender is a job that can be done from nearly anywhere in the world. Someone interested in the bartending profession may look for a job in a restaurant, bar, tavern or pub. However other options may include working in a casino or resort.

In this case, the bartender may be working directly with the public or can at times work behind the scenes making drinks that are delivered to customers by a server. Another option is working with a catering or party planning firm.

Once he or she has the basic skills in place, jobs may be available in places you’d never expect.

Trends and outlooks in bartending

Bartending goes hand in hand with the restaurant industry. The outlooks for these jobs are very positive. 

Careertrend.com states: “Employment of bartenders is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. High turnover is expected to result in very good job opportunities. Strong competition is expected in popular restaurants and fine-dining establishments, where tips are highest.”

Overall, this makes bartending appear to be a good career path for those looking for security in future years.

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