Bartending, whether amateur or professional, is more than just pouring drinks. Keys to being a successful bartender include adequate preparation, being able to do more than two things at once and being able to engage your customers.


Be prepared. Allow adequate time to set up your bar. Even the best bartender will fail if he has to keep running to find supplies. A minimum set-up should include liquor bottles, mixes, cut fruit (limes, lemons, olives and cherries), glassware, ice, bar napkins and stirs.

Multi-task. The best bartenders are able to do more than one task at a time. For instance, they can be pouring a cocktail while taking the next person’s drink order.

Engage your guests. Bartending is more than just pouring drinks. Bar patrons like to interact with the bartender. Even if you’re busy, it’s wise to greet and talk a bit to your guests. You can do this while making drinks, if necessary.

Clean as you work. No one wants to sit down at a sticky or messy bar. Make sure the bar is wiped clean repeatedly as you work. It’s also a good idea to put everything back where you found it. Having to continually search for items will slow you down.

Consider a class. If you’re serious about bartending as a full or part-time career, consider taking a mixology course. Such courses last around four to six weeks and cover the basics of making drinks, managing a bar, dealing with patrons and using the correct barware.