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Bartending for Beginners: Tips and Tricks

Bartending can be an enjoyable job for those who wish to work in a fast-paced environment and have flexible hours to keep their days free. Once you have your RSA, you can begin your bartending journey, figuring out the bartending basics and expanding upon your skills.

In this article, we explore 10 bartending tips for beginners, including a selection of fun bar tricks to keep you entertained and impress patrons.

1. Figure out where you want to work

Before you begin applying for bartending jobs, work out the kind of environment you’d like to be part of. Are you after a fast-paced nightclub establishment where you’ll always be on the go, serving many patrons each night, or something more laidback where you can take the time to get to know your customers a little and have more time between serves? Working this out ahead of time can help with job satisfaction.

2. Learn common mistakes to avoid

Before you start bartending, it can be helpful to familiarise yourself with some of the common mistakes to avoid in the profession. So, what are some common bartending mistakes? They can include using the wrong type of glass for a drink, chatting too much to patrons or fellow staff members, or not shaking cocktail mixes for long enough. It doesn’t hurt to practise making basic drinks and classic cocktails at home, too.

3. Pour correctly

One of the most important tips for new bartenders to observe is how to pour drinks correctly. The correct serving amounts will be covered in an RSA course provided by an RTO accredited business such as Express Online Training. It’s vital to familiarise yourself with what constitutes a standard drink pour to ensure you adhere to regulatory standards.

4. Familiarise yourself with the bar layout

Knowing exactly where everything is kept behind the bar can help you cut back on time and feel less stressed when an order is made. At the start of your first shift and during any spare moments, take a scan of your surroundings and try to memorise where the important items live. If it’s too much to take in all at once, make a game of it – this is a great bartending tip for beginners.

5. Keep to your space

Bartending 101: learn how to keep out of the way of other bartenders while working. Many bars have pretty tight spaces without a lot of room to move, so knowing how to keep out of the way of other bartenders is a handy skill to learn. Practise working within your space and remember to always let other bartenders know when you’re behind them to avoid potential collisions!

6. Learn the terminology

There are a few different terms to familiarise yourself with when bartending. The common lingo used will depend on the type of bar you’re working in. For example, you’ll likely need to know more slang terms in cocktail recipes when working at a cocktail bar than you will working at the local. If you’re working and come across a term you don’t understand, remember you can always politely let a patron know you are new and ask for clarification.

7. Cleanliness

Keeping your workspace clean doesn’t just make the space look better, but it can also make your work more efficient. Having the right equipment cleaned and ready to go for any potential drink request can mean lower wait times for customers. For beginning bartenders, this can only be a good thing. It’s also important to maintain hygiene and cleanliness for OH&S practices, along with being a general good habit.

8. Work on your bar tricks

There are lots of different types of bartending tricks out there, and learning a few can be a good way to keep yourself entertained and impress patrons. Some popular beginner bartender tricks include the Ice Throw and the Basic Flip. You can find countless videos online that explain bar tricks or ask an experienced bartender to show you. It’s an exciting way to add a bit of flair to even the most simple drinks.

9. Wear good shoes

Another big bartending tip is to invest in good shoes for your shifts. You’ll want something that provides plenty of support as there’s a good chance you’ll be on your feet for the vast majority of your shift. Wearing quality, supportive shoes can make a big difference when you’re a bartender. Try out a few different options until you find the style you love to work in.

10. Take care of yourself

Bartending can be a very fun job with an exciting work environment, but don’t forget to take care of yourself while working. As a bartender, you’ll generally be working nights, and you’ll want to establish and keep a healthy sleep schedule where possible to give yourself plenty of energy. This will likely be a different sleep time to most, and it might take some tinkering to get it right. One of the most common bartending mistakes is burning out, so make sure to stay hydrated while you’re working and not neglect your sleep.

Before you get started as a bartender, make sure you’re qualified. Completing our online RSA course here at Express Online Training is the easiest way to ensure you’re ready to start pouring drinks responsibly.


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