There are many skills and qualities you need to be a bartender, some of which you can learn by attending bartending school. Others, such as your physical stamina, will have to be developed outside of the classroom.
Being able to communicate interpersonally is a vital skills for bartenders. If you have ever been a customer at a bar, you may remember how the bartender treated you. Was she aloof, simply serving your drink and then moving to the back of the bar to take care of custodial or administrative work? Or did she strike up a conversation with you and build rapport during your time in the establishment? In what situation did you leave a larger tip? To which bartender’s location were you more likely to return? The term “interpersonal communication” refers to the type of communication two people have when they are conversing in a one-on-one situation, as opposed to the type of communication used when someone is giving a speech to a large audience. Bartenders frequently have one-on-one conversations with customers where they may be asked to give feedback about a problem the customer is having or commiserate with a struggle through which the customer is going. At the very least, you will have to listen attentively, contribute to conversations, and make the people at the bar feel welcome by staying in an upbeat mood and telling jokes.
Although it may not be the first thing you think about bartending, the occupation actually requires a great deal of physical fitness. As a bartender you will spend hours at a time on your feet – potentially your entire shift. Although you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to get through a several hour shift standing up, you will definitely notice that the job is difficult if you are in bad shape. Plus, during your shifts you will be moving around constantly as you talk to customers, serve drinks, and get supplies from other places in the bar, club, or restaurant. You may have to deal with less than ideal working conditions as well. For example, night clubs sometimes get very hot if it is very crowded and there are a lot of people moving around. You will have to work in this heat and hydrate if you sweat a lot. You will also need the strength to lift heavy objects, such as cases or beer or liquor, or other bar supplies.
Not all bartenders need to know how to manage a bar, but if you stay in one place of employment for awhile you may be granted new responsibilities over time. This could include administrative tasks such as keeping track of payroll or monitoring inventory and ordering alcohol and supplies when necessary. It could also include managing other employees and making the schedule, or training new bartenders when they are hired. If you want to be successful as a bartender, earn promotions, and enjoy wage increases, you should strive to develop your managerial skills to their utmost capacity.