Honestly, I'm not sure why I'm writing this. I guess maybe it'll help you decide on whether or not you wanna do this professionally or casually. So I guess the main reason I became a bartender is... I turned 21! I wanted to explore alcohol mixing, beer pouring, etc. I've had a strange fascination with alcohol ever since I had a cup of mead for my 16th birthday. It wasn't really out of a desire to learn how to get drunk, to be frank. I don't actually like being drunk, but by no means does anyone have to drink until that point.

Honestly, after I got my BASSET license (Required by my county to be a bartender), I was pretty nervous at first. I mean, there are all these legal implications, you have to memorize a lot, keep tabs on what's going on around you, etc. And it's ok to be nervous! Bartending has a different environment than being a chef or a fry cook. It may be in the same industry, but it's quite different from everything else. It's not an exact science like baking is, nor is it quite the daily grind that fast food is.

Frankly, I find mixology enjoyable because it's not an exact science. You can add stuff, remove things, substitute one thing for another and see if it works. Not everything you and I make or come up with will work, but not everything is trial and error. A lot of it is memorizing flavors as well. Come to think of it, a LOT of mixology involves memorization. If that's not your thing, then chances are you'll want to keep it casual.

goodness me that was a lot of rambling, I'm really sorry guys. Alright, with all that aside, here's a brief list on what's typically expected of a bartender in the US. Keep in mind that these expectations are for standard bars at restaurants, entertainment venues, and maybe some ma and pa bars. Things are subject to change depending on where you work!

Be Approachable



Good Memory

Situational Awareness

If this all seems daunting, that's because it can be. I'll give some explanations on these points for those interested

Be Approachable:

This is simple enough. You've gotta be presentable, like Ryan Reynolds in a bathing suit. Ok, maybe not like that, but having a scowl or looking like you're miserable won't do you any favors!


I think this falls in the same camp as being approachable. I can't really explain this. I guess it just boils down to making people feel comfortable around you. How you go about this will depend on where you work. A country bar is much different than a sports bar ( ̄□ ̄」)
Just remember that this ain't your Grandma's sarsaparilla!


This one takes a lot, but it can be trained! Being knowledgeable on drinks lets you chat up your patrons and help them learn more. Even as a brand new bartender, you already know more about drinks than the average person. But never stop researching like a college kid who's had too much redbull! Who knows, maybe it'll net you a larger tip if the patron was genuinely interested?

Good Memory:

This one boils down to practice, really. You gotta memorize recipes. Fortunately this is the fun part, since practicing at home is just as viable as practicing at work!

Situational Awareness:

This one's a bit tricky to give advice on. Simply put, if you have a hard time keeping tabs on what's happening around you, chances are you'll struggle to be a bartender. You have to gauge how many drinks people have had, how intoxicated they may actually be (tolerance doesn't actually slow intoxication, just makes it easier to hide!), and obviously keep a decent watch on someone's drink if they decide to get up and go somewhere else for a bit.

You also have to judge the mood a patron may be in. If they aren't in a good mood or don't feel like chatting, just leave it and get them what they want really. If they're being chatty, feel free to talk and socialize. This helps with gauging intoxication, too.

Otherwise, have fun! It's one of the few service jobs that I feel can be really enjoyable for you and the people you're serving.