How to Become a Bartender [Everything You Need to Know]

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If you want to know how to become a bartender, you’ve come to the right place. I don’t know what you’ve heard or what you’ve read up to this point during your bartender research, but the path you need in order to become a bartender is not what you think. It’s not bartending school (more on that in a minute). What I do know is that the very idea and glamor of being a bartender is what has you thinking about going for it in the first place.

You know what I’m talking about. The pouring, the shaking, the raking of cash tips off the bar and into the tip jar. The shear sexiness of it all. It’s why bartending is the most coveted blue collar job on the planet.

Think about all the great benefits of becoming a bartender:

  • It’s a blast
  • You don’t need years of education
  • You can do it in any city and any country in the world
  • There are dozens of different types of bars to work at for different types of people
  • You can work full or part-time
  • It’s highly-profitable

What other job can you study for 2 – 3 weeks and then land a job making $25 – $100 per hour? Or more. It’s insane. And I’m going to tell you exactly how to do it. But first, you might be wondering…

Why the Hell Should I Listen to You, Dave?

bartending school

You know those super-annoying people who talk about themselves and tell you why they’re so great and why you should listen and be impressed by what they do and who they are? Well that’s what I’m going to do right now, so strap yourself in and let’s take 45 minutes to talk about why I’m so amazing and important.

Just kidding, of course. I’m not so important, and I don’t expect you to be impressed, but I do believe my story is very similar to yours. I too once had that dream to do something more than I was doing at the time. To do something I loved. To make more money.

I have also experienced that catch-22 situation in which no one will hire you unless you have experience, any yet you can’t get experience unless you get hired. How do you deal with that? How do you get over that seemingly monstrous hurdle of standing out and convincing a hiring bar manager that they should choose you over anyone else? Even someone who has experience.

Are you hyperventilating yet? Calm yourself. Take a deep, breath and exhale slowly. I’m here to help you with all that, so don’t worry your pretty little face about it. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and have hired and trained hundreds of bartenders. I know what it takes to convince a bar manager to take a flyer on someone who has no experience.

Anyone Can Do it. Even You.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, tall or short, wide or thin. It doesn’t matter if you’re as sexy as Brad Pitt or have the face of a gargoyle who just climbed out from a car in a head-on collision. There are so many different types of bars and restaurants with different themes that there is a bar for EVERYONE to work at, if they just follow the plan.

Don’t take the following steps lightly. If you do, you might as well sign up for some random bartending school that will give you a Word document certificate for just showing up. That’s a path many have gone down and regretted. But if you’re still not sure whether or not you should go to bartending school, you can check this article out here:

Bartending School – Do You Need it? [The Real Truth]

Now, the following steps may seem simple, but they’re the same foundation that thousands of my students have used to land bartending jobs — with little or no experience at all.

Bartending schools won’t do that for you. Instead, you’ll learn how to pour colored water into a glass and add a foam garnish. Helping you actually become a bartender is not in their wheelhouse, to put it mildly.

This is where you zig when everyone else is zagging. If other aspiring bartenders turn right, you go left. You simply need to ask yourself, “If everyone is going that way and failing, why not go this way so that I stand out from the crowd?”

That’s exactly what I show you how to do inside TheRealBarCourse and here I’m going to lay out that foundation for you.

My Proven 7-Step Plan For Becoming a Bartender

The most important word in that headline you just read is “proven”. I’ve had thousands of people go through my online bartending course, TheRealBarCourse, and every day I receive emails from my bar tribe students who went through the course, followed the plan, and became a bartender within a few short weeks (sometimes within a few days).

That’s the definition of “proven”: Actually landing the job. For bartending schools, their success is defined as having you complete the bartending course. After that, it’s “Good luck, see you later. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

Now, let’s get into the 7 steps.

STEP 1. GET EDUCATED

Here’s what most people don’t understand. 90% of what bartending schools teach you can be learned right from your computer in an online bartending school. The knowledge and education you need can be learned just as easily watching a video, as sitting in a chair listening to someone speak live. The one thing you get from bartending school is that you can practice making drinks in a live setting with an instructor nearby.

And a simulated bar is cool and helpful, but not worth the $600 you’re burning. All you need are a handful of bar tools, a couple of liquor bottles and a somewhere you can practice pouring and mixing. A kitchen works great. Watch a video. Imitate what you see. Beyond that, you are learning everything you need to be a bartender from other lessons. It’s that simple.

STEP 2. MEMORIZE SOME DRINK RECIPES

This is everyone’s colossal fear when it comes to trying to become a bartender. They go to bartending school, or sign up for an online bartending course and the school or course provides a database of 2,000 drink recipes. Does that scare the shit out of you? It should. That’s a crap load of drink recipes to memorize. But I’m here to tell you, they’re a bunch of idiots. That might sound rude, but it’s just the truth. You have been lied to when told how many drink recipes you need to memorize in order to become a bartender.

Nobody needs to memorize 2,000 drink recipes. Nobody needs to memorize 200 drink recipes. So don’t fret. I’m going to take care of you. I promise. I’m going to show you how to be a fantastic bartender full of charm and panache and wicked-awesome skills.

Because when it comes down to it, you only need to memorize about 50 drink recipes and 20 shot recipes and you’ll be good to go. If you know 100 drink recipes, you’ll be able to make 98% of the drinks ordered today, which is why inside TheRealBarCourse I teach you how to memorize the 101 Most Popular Cocktail Recipes and the 21 Shots You Must Know.

AAAAAAAANNNNDDDDD….

I plant these drink recipes in your subconscious mind using a technique I created called the Triple Imprint Method, which includes learning through Active Watching, Audio and Visualization.

Trust me when I say, memorizing the drink recipes you need to know in order to work behind a live bar isn’t that daunting of a task. Your imagination is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

STEP 3. SET GOALS

Calm yourself. Take a deep breath, grab a paper sack and breath into it if necessary. I know setting goals seems like a big pain in the ass, but if you understood the power that goal setting had, you wouldn’t be whining about it. You’d be jumping up and down like you were standing on a red hot stove burner.

So let me see if I can wow you and help you understand. Here we go: Did you know that only 3% of people actually set goals by writing them down? And did you know that those 3% make more money than the other 97% combined? Read that again. It’s frickin’ mind-blowing. There are just a few things you need to do to separate yourself from the herd and this is one of them, because when it comes down to it, which herd do you want to belong to? The 3% or the 97%?

STEP 4: CREATE A DYNAMIC COVER LETTER AND RESUME

bartender resume

This is a golden opportunity to do what 99% of other applicants do not do well in the bartending world, which is turn in a professional — yet creative and memorable — cover letter and resume. Most of them are turning in an “application”. When it comes down to being memorable, who do you think the hiring manager is going to remember? The form application or a beautiful and creative resume that someone took seriously?

Inside TheRealBarCourse we give you 10 beautiful cover letter and resume templates to choose from so you can simply fill in your information and knock the hiring manager on his/her ass.

STEP 5. HIT THE STREETS AND GET THOSE RESUMES OUT THERE

Time to do something else people never do: TAKE ACTION. When they’re young, everyone dreams of accomplishing big things and having a giant dream house with a pool the size of a small lake and a bowling alley in their Bat Cave basement, but they rarely grow the cajones to actually do something about. You’re different though. Following the plan to a tee, you’re going to start visiting bars, find the right person, and hand in your cover letter and resume with confidence.

The great thing about the bartending industry is that there are so many different types of bars/clubs/pubs/sports bars/lounges/restaurants/hotels that you can expand your list. All you need to do is get hired at one.

STEP 6. THE FOLLOW-UP

All seven steps are critical for becoming a bartender, but following-up is the one secret to success that most people do not know about. How powerful is the follow-up? In sales, 10% of customers that buy a product or service will only buy after the FOURTH contact… yet 90% of salespeople quit after the second contact. Translation: 10% of sales people are making 90% of the money.

I can tell you from personal experience that the same is true of people like yourself trying to become a bartender. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone walk into my bar, introduce themselves, hand me an application (because they rarely turn in resumes or cover letters) and then they walk out and I never see them again. Every once in awhile they will follow-up once, but never twice, and definitely not four times.

Remember this: you are not signing up to be a salesperson for your career. However, you can use their success tactics to your advantage. You only need to make ONE sale, to convince one manager to hire you and you’re in. Trust me, follow up with the hiring manager and you WILL get the job. It’s guaranteed!

7. NAIL THE INTERVIEW

bartender interview

I don’t want you to just nail the interview. I want you to CRUSH it. And by that I mean your competition. The plan is to have you so prepared that 2 minutes into the interview, the manager already knows that you’re the one he/she will be hiring. Does that sound far-fetched to you? It does to other aspiring bartenders trying to get hired too, which is why they fail.

Preparation is the key. Inside TheRealBarCourse we have what is called Interview Secrets. 47 of the most common questions that hiring managers will ask, AND I tell you how to answer them. In addition, I tell you the 10 Do’s and Don’ts of interviewing. It’s like having the answers to the test before the test. Amaze-balls.

Conclusion

What I want you to understand more than anything is that my greatest success as a bar manager and now business owner came when I chose to do things differently from the masses. I used all the success techniques I had learned from my own education through courses and seminars and I applied to every area of my life.

And you know what I learned? Those same success techniques worked no matter the subject matter. From bartending, to running a bar, to running an online business, to raising my kids. You’ll hear me say this multiple times, but follow and copy what the 5% do. Not the 95%. You’ll only find mediocrity there.

I hope that helps. Whatever you decide to do, don’t stop until you get what you want, and do it in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd.

See you next time,

Dave

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