You can get your first bartending job
one of the following ways.
1. Get hired off the street and learn from the employer.
2. Start as a bar back or server and get put behind the bar.
3. Go to bartending school.
Let’s look at each one.
Get hired off the street and learn from your employer.
This is what you should try first.
Landing a bartending job this way is done by
people that are good at selling themselves.
So, lets look at a basic plan to start.
Choose 10 places that you would like to work.
You enjoy these bars and can picture yourself selling
drinks to people that love coming to see you.
They come to see you because you are a fun, easy going
bartender that knows what they like.
Visit these 10 bars as a customer and see how
they operate. You are there as a customer, but look at
the place as a business.
If you only go to a bar on one night of the week
then you won’t really see everything you need to.
When doing this type of recon go on a week night
that will be slow.
The reasoning is, that will probably be the type of
shift that a new bartender will work.
Then go on a second night that’s busy.
Slow nights also make it easier for you to see what’s
What types of drinks are being served the most?
Is the staff friendly?
Are there a lot of regulars?
How are you and other non-regular customers being treated?
You might be able to visit 2-3 places in a night.
Sometimes you will leave a bar after one drink
because the place sucks, so scratch that place
off of the list and replace it.
Don’t forget to check out places during the day,
if they’re open. Daylight shifts can be good if
the place serves lunch. Sometimes Day shifts also
work through Happy Hour and that makes those shifts
While visiting these bars.
Do Not ask for an application as a customer.
Talk to the bar staff, keep the conversation
simple and don’t let on that you are there watching what’s
happening. No one should know that you’re job hunting.
What you’re doing is establishing a positive memory
with that bartender so that when you come back
to apply for a job, they will tell the manager that
Going back to the bars more than once is good idea
because it will help people remember you. Give a
good TIP when paying and follow the rules of “Being A
Good Customer” while there.
Remember that even if you get along with the bartenders,
you don’t want to ask questions that make it seem
like you are fishing for information. It will make
any ground work that you established seem fake.
Now that you’ve done that it’s time to go back
and turn in your resume and application.
When you apply, do it during hours that are not busy.
Between 2 pm and 4 pm are good times because it’s
after lunch and before dinner.
If the place is only open at night then find out when
they open and show up then to apply for the bartending job.
Interviewing for the bartending job.
You don’t have experience so highlighting your
strengths is really important.
A great personality and being trainable should be your
two major points of focus when interviewing.
Also make sure they know that you can free pour
accurately.(You can right??).
(A more detailed post will be written about
interviewing for a bartending job later.)
In the end it all comes down to getting that first
bartending job and racking up experience to add to
Next, we’ll discuss getting hired from within.
Starting as a bar back or server and getting put behind the bar.