September 13, 2016

An excellent bartender has to have many qualities. Dealing with over-friendly customers is one, but we also have to take charge of the room – including people’s safety and happiness.

To some, our job is to serve drinks and handle money. But our role is a lot more complex than that. However, there are times when we run into a bad bartender.

What A Bartender Must Do

The Quality Of An Excellent Bartender

It was a Sunday and in typical British style, me and some friends craved a carvery. Patiently queuing up at the busy bar, I had a few minutes to observe the bar staff.

It’s always interesting to view them from the customer’s perspective to observe what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.

The young team of around three worked well together, not once treading on each other’s toes or mumbling fed-up comments when their backs were turned (this is something I’ve witnessed before!).

Each customer had their dedicated attention, even whilst some peasants were noticeably wafting their money in the hope to get noticed by the staff. Us bartenders are used to this annoyance, and it doesn’t score you next in line.

What A Bartender Mustn’t Do

The Quality Of An Excellent Bartender

At 5pm on a Sunday, the restaurant was bound to be busy and resources were clearly running low.

“An orange and lemonade please”.

“Cordial? That’s all we’ve got”.

Unfortunately, it was fresh orange that we craved, otherwise it’d be a basic beverage which didn’t quench our thirst. Understandably, the bar won’t always be stocked up on unpopular ingredients, and so at this point, it’s a bartender’s duty to find a perfect substitute.

The bartender didn’t run through a list of the many options we could have had instead, but headed to open a cheap-looking bottle of Orange cordial. If the cordial had been in an opaque container where we hadn’t have recognised its Tesco label, it wouldn’t have affected the way we begrudgingly handed over the money.

A good bar uses quality, fresh ingredients. When they’re budgeting, an excellent bartender works with what they have by:

  • Garnishing for an extra special touch
  • Pouring in front of the customer to their request

… Not to mention, a bartender should never handle the part of the stirrer which will go in a customer’s drink. That’s unhygienic and bad manners.

Waiting at a bar is boring and you never know where to direct your eyes without trying to call a bartender over with them or missing them when they come over to your side of the bar.

An excellent bartender is always aware of their surroundings. Even with a queue of 20 people, they have an inkling of who’s next. Everyone wants to be served next, because us Brits loathe waiting, but we don’t want to appear rude by commenting if someone jumps the queue.

I couldn’t believe it when the young lad behind the bar asked “who’s next?” Uproars everywhere. Men suddenly claimed they were next and the poor person who’d been lingering even before me had been overhauled by a loudmouthed person.

Suddenly it became a competition of how ballsy you were to pretend you’d been there first. Outrageous.

An excellent bartender should stand their power and not allow customers to be intimidated by fellow people in the bar.

Though the food made up for this terrible service, this bar action has impaired our decision to come back any time soon.

Have you had a poor experience from a bartender which tarnished your overall opinion of the outing? Comment below to share your thoughts.