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Top 13 Life Skills You Will Learn as a Bartender

13 Real Life Skills You Will Learn As A Bartender

There are plenty of skills that you will learn at bartender school that will transfer over to other jobs and other areas of your life. Some are more direct and obvious, and others you might not think of right away. Inspired by this post from Shiftgig, we decided to elaborate a bit – especially for New York City. At American Bartenders School, we stress traits like leadership, however there are many other skills you will learn that will help you in any number of jobs. Most, if not all of these will show up in some way on a job description, and it is imperative that you list some of these on your resume or at least mention them in your interview.

1. Multi-tasking

As a bartender you will realize very quickly that if you want to make any money at all, you will have to learn how to do more than one thing at a time. This is essential in any job you will ever have.

2. Anger Management

There will always be that person who thinks he’s better than you and everyone around him. Resist the urge to lash out, because this will not only hurts your chances of getting a nice tip, but it makes you the better person. Plus, some people just need a friend.

3. Entrepreneur

The word is mainly associated with start-up businesses, but can apply to much more. You need to be hard working, have the ability to talk to anyone, and be your own boss. You may have a manager at the spot where you work, but when you are behind the bar, you call the shots (pun intended).

4. Marketing

The way in which you present yourself direct relates to the amount of sales, and more importantly, tips that you receive. This is marketing – presenting something in such a way that other people want it. There are scientific ways to get other people to increase their tips, all based on how you present yourself.

5. Advertising

Every time that you pour a Bud in a Bud glass, you are advertising for Bud. Every time you create an amazing tasting cocktail for someone, you are advertising for yourself and your bar. Plenty of newspapers and bloggers write about

6. Accounting

If you know that you have to pay your rent, phone bill, and cable bill, how much will you have to make each night from bartending? On top of this, try adding up 4 different priced cocktails and 3 beers in your head, but then your customers want to split the bill evenly between 3 people. Sure there are computers that do it for you, but you will save much more time if you can do the math in your head.

7. Fashion

Knowing how to dress for success is key. There are certain tricks to fashion that you will learn over time. Depending on the type of bar you work in, you may have to match their aesthetic. This will help you maximize your profits. Being seen as a handsome or sexy bartender will do you wonders when it comes time to getting tips. Bottom line: Iron your shirt, comb your hair, match your clothes. Dress to impress!

8. Problem Solving

Here’s a problem: Six people order a Manhattan, but you only have enough sweet vermouth left for three of them. What do you do? Offer to make one of these 25 Manhattans… Learning how to think on your toes is something you will be able to learn fast.

9. Sommelier

A Master sommelier needs to know everything he/she can about not only wine, but beer, whiskey, spirits, even cigars! This is not to say that you will learn everything there is about these subjects, but a good bartender will definitely be able to clear up the myth which touts that bourbon must be made in Kentucky. (HINT: It does not.)

10. Cleanliness

A clean bar is an efficient bar – it is also more pleasing to the customer, not to mention the health inspector. Vermin and insects thrive in unsanitary conditions found in restaurants and bars. If you can keep your bar clean, then you can keep your kitchen clean – that is a fact! In addition to this, cleanliness comes into play when you think about fashion skills. Although you will undoubtedly get dirty working behind a bar, you will learn to show up for work looking your best.

11. Stress Management

There will be some nights where you are understaffed and overworked. With a never-ending line at the bar and your manager yelling, you may feel like you want to pull your hair out. Resist the urge! This will help you work through similar situations later in life…like going the DMV!

12. Social Skills

Talking with customers is a good way to connect with them. We’ve already talked about how remembering their name is scientifically proven to increase your tips. Making small talk with a regular is a great way to keep them coming back. If you are an introvert, bartending will force you out of your shell. In the business world, networking is king, and you can’t network if you aren’t able to make small talk with strangers.

13. Leadership

When applying for a job, you will probably find this word on most job descriptions. That is because it is an extremely important quality to possess. It shows that you are mature, cool under pressure, and can make good decisions. As a bartender, you dictate the whole evening. If you are serving drinks at a fast pace to someone who is obviously drinking quickly, this person will get drunker quicker. On the other hand, you have the ability to make people happy if you know they have been waiting a long time for a drink by buying them a round on the house.

Furthermore, if you work at a restaurant, you will not only be in charge of drinks for customers at the bar, but you will also need to fulfill drink orders for tables. At larger bars you will have a few bartenders working with you as well as a busboy and/or bar back. These are all team members that need leading.

If you have any other skills or questions, feel free to comment or write to socialmedia (at) barschool (dot) com

Thanks to Petras Gagilas for the pic!