While you may be thinking about attending bartending school, keep in mind that a bartending career is not all fun and games.
Bartenders work hard, and are often paid minimum wage. Working at a top club will, of course, up your take-home pay in the form of tips (sometimes as much as thousands per night), but you'll have to do your time and gain experience at smaller clubs and bars first. Initially, you’ll also work the less crowded shifts.
Some bars and clubs even require new bartenders to work as barbacks first – this means you’ll be schlepping beer and liquor from the storage room to the bar, washing glasses and cleaning up. Not nearly as glamorous as you might have dreamed. As a barback, you’ll earn a portion of the bartender’s tips for the night.
The hours are often long, you're on your feet the whole time and might have to deal with a lot of rude customers. Aside from that, once you’ve moved up in the ranks and have the popular, crowded shifts – those that you make the most money with – you’ll never have Friday or Saturday nights free. You’ll be working.
If you still are thinking about attending bartending school, make sure you pick a reputable organization. You can also attend bartending school online. Many bartending schools offer job placement assistance one you finish your courses – if you don’t have a job lined up already, you’ll want help finding one.
The best bartenders have an outgoing personality, are patient and tolerant of customers who may have had one too many and are able to multitask and work under pressure. Remember, you’ll be on a virtual stage once behind the bar, with a lot of eyes watching you!
Once you’ve completed bartending school and started your first job, know that you will make mistakes. It’s your ability to recover from them with grace and humor that will keep you going.