Drinking bartender at work

What you need to know about the job of a “bartender”

Shaken or stirred? That's not the only question a bartender is asked. There is much more to this interesting job profile than mixing a few cocktails.

Sensitivity, a well-groomed appearance, knowledge of human nature and a feeling for the right moment make the man or woman behind the counter a valuable contact person for many occasions.

The delicious mixed drinks are almost irrelevant and yet extremely important for the right to be Bartender Bartender or Barmaid to be allowed to call.

Table of Contents

What is a bartender and where does this name come from?

Barkeepers generally refer to the people who pour drinks, serve long drinks and mix cocktails in a bar behind the counter.

The name comes from English, is gender neutral and is used for men and women. If you still want to gender: the bartender would be fine. Actually, this is the female job title Barmaid.

The German translation Barwoman is unusual in this country And female professionals don't like to hear it, because the term is often equated with animator in the general understanding of language.

Bartender or barman are the common names for male professional bartenders.

The bartender's profession can be seen as a mixture of restaurant specialist, sommelier or cook. This activity combines the knowledge of a waiter with the craftsmanship of a cook and the fine taste of a wine connoisseur.

But the main reason some bartenders are more popular than others is in their personality and their skillto be of service to the guest.

You can learn to know about food (spirits, wines, juices, syrups, fruits), how to mix drinks, how to master various recipes and how to be confident. A certain amount of individualism and eccentricity is either there - or not.

What are the tasks of a bartender?

What must a bartender be able to do and what are the most important tasks? Do the barmaid or barman only stand behind the counter or do they also serve the guests at the table? Why are there so many different names for these activities in gastronomy and can you work as a bartender at any age? How are the working hours? What does a bartender earn? Is the bartender the right job for me or am I too shy?

Lots of questions, lots of answers - we shed light on all the background information on this topic.

First things first: a bartender shouldn't be shy. It's not very helpful to mix a drink with trembling fingers and pour half of it next to it.

It is not pleasant to fall into shock when a guest asks a question, either in front of or behind the counter. Combining Smaltalk with work at the bar and at the same time giving every guest the feeling that they are the most important person in the room at that moment is a valuable quality. It is this skill that makes a waiter a good bartender.

The Age is irrelevant, there are very young and very old professionals behind the counter. The theoretical minimum age for working behind a bar is 18 years in Germany and 21 years in other countries. The upper limit is open.

A certain amount of life experience is a prerequisite, however, which is why young people who have only just come of age are rarely hired as bartenders or bartenders.

In most upscale bars (no matter if restaurant, café or hotel) the prices for cocktails and mixed drinks are similar.

The main reason why the guests come back is not the price of the drink, but the appearance of the barman.

In addition to various awards, excellent service is a figurehead for every good bar and not insignificant for the amount of the tip. But we'll come to the merit of a bartender.

By the way, the steadfastness of a bartender relates to that physical fitness and not how much alcohol he can take. Most activities are done standing.

These basic tasks are waiting behind the counter:

  • Control of bar utensils and ingredients (bar set, garnish, ice cream)
  • Check and replenish stocks
  • Control and compliance with hygiene regulations
  • Mix bar classics and simple cocktails without a recipe
  • Mastery of mixing cups and bar sets
  • Knowledge of international guidelines and drinking habits
  • Creativity in implementing unusual customer requests
  • Develop and offer your own recipes
  • Advising guests on the choice of drinks
  • Prepare and serve various hot drinks (tea, coffee)
  • Clean glasses, dishes and bar utensils after use
  • cash in (various means of payment, cash or credit card)
  • Cash settlement after the end of work

Bartenders are waiters, pastors and artists in one

A bartender's job profile also includes the "entertainment" of the guests. They should feel good and like to come back.

The man or woman behind the bar counter is the master Art of small talk and has a good general knowledge. Knowledge of current world events is also an advantage in order to get a halting conversation going again.

At the advanced hour, bartenders are not infrequently active Problem solver and advisor in life questions. Tricks and acrobatic performances with bottles, glasses and shakers are welcome, but not a must. The quality, taste and appearance of the cocktail are more important.

Professional bartenders measure their skills in the Freestyle show mixing at international competitions. Artistic shows are very popular at such events, they are even the main component of the evaluation.

The artistic presentation of the artful preparation of mixed drinks is called flair bartending.

The competitions are governed by internal rules established by the International Bartenders Association. The German Barkeeper Union has been organizing its own internationally recognized competitions in the show sector for several years.

What training does a bartender need?

Bartender is no recognized training occupation. The various names (bartender, barman, barmaid) are not protected as professional titles, but merely explain the activity carried out in the bar area.

You can only achieve your dream job or training as a bartender via detours or via the classic starting route: learning-by-doing.

If you want to be successful and have high demands on yourself, you can be trained. Liquor manufacturers such as Django and private schools such as the bar school in Rostock have training programs for bartenders on offer.

Of course you can learn the basics for the job in night bars, in night cafes or in scene clubs learn as a temporary worker. This means that you will quickly know whether you like this job and whether the job of bartender fits into your life plan in the long term.

The efforts of the umbrella organizations to establish bartenders as a training occupation have so far failed.

There are various training and development opportunities for restaurant professionals who want to work at the bar. Usually the employer pays the training costs when he recognizes the talent of a protégé. After training as a restaurant or hotel specialist and a year of practical experience at the bar, interested parties can get a private bar school visit and take the required exam at the IHK.

Without prior training, the examination to become a “certified bartender IHK” is only taken if the examinee can prove that he has been a bartender for several years.

The highest level is the "certified bar master IHK". This certificate certifies that the bartender has commercial knowledge and the ability to run a bar independently - as a so-called "Chef de bar". With this qualification, all doors are open to you. Also the opening its own bar nothing stands in the way. Most trained bartenders, however, choose to be covered by an employment relationship that is subject to social security contributions.

The curriculum of private schools includes the following content:

  • Accounting
  • Economics and Law
  • Business administration and sales
  • Origin, history and development of bar culture
  • Professional hand tools and equipment
  • Classic and modern beverage groups
  • Free style mixing
  • International goods and beverage studies
  • Advice, sales and support for special groups of guests
  • Complaint behavior
  • Safety, health protection, environmental protection, HACCP and USPH
  • Professional practice, on-site use
  • Manufacturing methods and modern work technology
  • International goods and beverage studies
  • Basic knowledge of distillation
  • Development of recipes
  • Drinks menu: structure, classification, basic rules of the legislature
  • Technical English, technical French

Requirements for further training / examination as a bartender IHK:

  • Completed vocational training in the catering sector
  • At least one year of practical experience in service, at the counter or in catering
  • Career changers without training must have three years of experience at the bar
  • Expertise in beverage science, food science and warehousing
  • Conscious use of alcohol, a bartender doesn't drink
  • Self-confidence, skill, talent, empathy
  • physical resilience, well-groomed appearance
  • Minimum age 21 years

Dream job as a bartender or nightmare at work?

A bartender's workspaces

Bartenders work in the hotel and event catering industry, on cruise ships as well as in trendy bars, clubs and discos.

Good people are desperately wanted in the hotel and catering industry.

The reputation of a gastronomic establishment stands or falls with the woman or the man behind the counter. Many a show career began in a bar. Multimillionaire David Beckham, for example, worked as a bartender when he was a student.

For trained bartenders, job prospects are excellent. However, the work-life balance is not particularly good.

The bar service starts when other people have finished work. Start the counter mainly in the evening with work and stay on your feet until the wee hours of the morning. At this time, most of the working people are already in bed and asleep.

There are only exceptions in Holiday resorts and on cruise shipswhere cocktails are mixed around the clock. You have to want and like this lifestyle.

Bartenders mostly work as employees. Unless they become self-employed and open their own bar. In the upscale gastronomy and hotel industry as well as on cruise ships and in holiday resorts, only well-trained and tried and tested restaurant or hotel specialists are usually employed.

Outside of the big chains, talented career changers still have a good chance of gaining a foothold in this professional field. In many pubs, student bars and discos, flat-rate and part-time employees do the work behind the counter as temporary "counter helpers" and gain initial experience in service. Some stay because they enjoy their work. Many a student temporary job became an internationally recognized bartender.

Stress factors working hours and alcohol

As with any job, lie Satisfaction factor and fun factor in your responsibility and must harmonize with the demands of your life. Party and meeting lots of new people every night is fun. The The hustle and bustleHowever, especially on the weekends, it can be mentally and physically exhausted.

Family life often suffers as a result. Dealing with Alcohol carries additional dangers, because many a guest insists at a late hour that they should be toasted with.

For the sake of your own safety and health, cheating is allowed. Every bartender develops individual tricks to drink little to no alcohol. Sparkling water with a pinch of apple juice replaces, for example, the glass of champagne, black tea the whiskey and a cocktail tastes great even without alcohol.

A working day as a bartender often lasts up to ten hours. The helpful spirit behind the counter only thinks about the billing when the last guest is satisfied.

Elegant behind the counter - bartender outfit

There is no uniform for bartenders. In addition to elegance, freedom of movement is important. Male bartenders in upscale restaurants like to wear shirts and vests as well as ties or bow ties.

In trendy bars, things are a bit more casual, here jeans are also allowed with classic shirts. The preferred colors are black, white and gray.

Whoever serves the guests at the table in addition to the bar, often wears a colored apron with the logo of his employer, in which there is space for a wallet and notes. Female bartenders are guided by the clothing preferences of their male colleagues and like to wear a blouse, waistcoat and bow tie or bow.

How much money does a bartender make?

Career changers and beginners earn the usual wages in the hospitality industry, which can vary regionally and depending on the type of business. However, this payment must never fall below the statutory minimum wage.

In a Hotel bar or on a cruise ship a bartender receives a clear higher salary than in a trendy bar. There is a good reason for this: if drinks and cocktails are included in the hotel or travel price, the barman does not get a tip.

First-class full-time bartenders in trendy restaurants who are good with people and are popular with guests, often double with the tip their income. This “given” additional income cannot be measured or planned, but it still has to be reported to the tax office in a comprehensible amount.

The average base salary for a full-time bartender starts at 1,300 euros gross and can rise to 3,000 euros gross depending on the location and length of service. The tax office also expects a tip of around ten percent, which can, however, be a lot higher.

In the event of illness, you have to do without this additional income. As a trained bartender, you have further career opportunities. In addition to further training as a bar master, you can also advance to a restaurant master or hotel master and complete further training to become a business economist - the best basis for managing a restaurant with a bar independently. Anyone who would like to work all over the world has good cards, because bartending is an international job profile.

The following skills belong in the application documents as a bartender:

  • Experience, locations, references
  • Completed training in gastronomy
  • completed training as a bartender
  • mathematical skill
  • Beverage science
  • own recipes
  • linguistic talent
  • positive charisma

Good to know

Magazines like "Drinks" and "Mixology" are aimed directly at German-speaking bartenders. The latter magazine is THE magazine for bar culture. Bartenders have their own patron saint and their own special day on August 20th.

The Saint Bernhard of Clairvoaux holds his protective hands over the drinks artist at each bar.