Bartending is a lifestyle all of it’s own. In order to survive busy nights behind the bar, you not only have to take care of your customers, you have to take care of yourself.
Much of this could be considered common knowledge, however, sometimes in this fast-paced world, you tend to put your needs on hold while putting the customers first.
There are 7 tips that will help you get through a hectic night of bartending while still taking care of your own needs.
1. Be Prepared
Not every situation can be planned out. However, if you know how to prepare yourself and your bar for a busy night, you are one step ahead of the game. Being prepared for a busy night includes:
- Getting enough sleep before your shift
- Eating a healthy meal before you go in
- Wearing comfortable clothes and shoes (if you are not expected to wear a uniform)
- Making sure the bar is well stocked
- Being aware of the specials for the night
2. Bring Snacks
Everyone knows breaks are few and far between when you are behind the bar. Most seasoned bartenders know that having a quick snack such as trail mix, fresh fruit, an energy bar or a protein packed tuna sandwich will keep you going until you can slip away for a break. However, be sure to know your establishment’s policy about food behind the bar before you bring it in.
3. Set Your Tools in the Right Place
Bartending, especially on a busy night is a strenuous job. In order to work efficiently you need to have your bartending tools arranged in a way that you can use them fast and with ease. It’s very important to know exactly where everything is and have items in a specific order which will allow you to do your job without fumbling for objects. There is a french saying ‘mise en place’ meaning everything in it’s place. If you always have your items in a specific place that makes sense, you will develop a habitual serving pattern that will allow you to serve drinks in an efficient manner.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
There are some bars and clubs that allow the bartenders to have an occasional drink with customers. Be sure to pace yourself and drink plenty of water between drinks. Nobody likes a boozy bartender. In fact, if someone orders you a vodka shot, it’s okay to fill your shot glass with water to give the illusion that you are drinking with your customers. On another note, even if you are not drinking with your customers, a busy environment can quickly dehydrate you. Drinking water will keep you going strong all night.
5. Learn Good Bartending Techniques
Multitasking is a critical skill to have success as a bartender. It’s even more important on a busy night. It’s essential to know different techniques that will allow you to quickly mix drinks and get onto the next customer quickly. Here are several techniques to learn and practice, if you don’t do them already:
- Speed Pouring
- Shaking two drinks at once
- Mixing a drink with two hands
- Pouring multiple shots at once
6. Be Alert and Anticipate
You can’t plan everything, however, you can be aware of your surroundings. Being alert and anticipating customers needs ahead of time will help your night go smoothly. If a customer’s drink is almost empty be ready to get mix another one. If you see a customer who looks like they had too much to drink, offer them water or be prepared to cut them off. Anything can happen on a busy night, so if you are alert you will be able to anticipate the next step and prevent disasters.
7. Find Time For a Break
During the busiest nights, even the best bartenders get tired. Sneaking out for a quick break can be a challenge when the tips are flying in and the counter is deep with customers. However, even a five minute break will refresh you and keep you going until closing. Bartending is hard work, but it’s not slave labor. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of your customers.