Bartender: job description, salary, training, and latest mission offers
Bartenders and bar staff play a vital role in bars, restaurants, hotel F&B operations, and pubs. Here is our bartender job description, including salary ranges, training, and the latest mission offers from Brigad.
Working as a bartender involves serving customers in a fast-paced environment, especially on Friday and Saturday nights in busy bars, pubs, restaurants, and hotels. Bartenders serve drinks for customers at the bar and those being waited on by front-of-house staff, such as waiters and waitresses.
What is a Bartender ?
A bartender serves drinks behind a bar in bars, restaurants, pubs, and any other licensed premises. Most of the time, these are alcoholic drinks; although bartenders are also trained to serve a range of hot drinks (such as teas and coffees), there are always soft drinks and non-alcoholic alternatives too.
Bartenders keep bars clean and tidy, ensure there are enough glasses clean for the number of customers, work in a team, and coordinate with other front-of-house and restaurant staff, restaurant managers, and kitchen staff, such as head chefs or sous chefs as needed.
A bar is found in almost every pub, restaurant, and bar (where it’s only drinks served or light bar snacks), and this has been the case for thousands of years. Bartenders are an integral part of the food, beverage, and hospitality sector.
During the pandemic, menu bar apps, software, and barcode scanners reduced bartender interactions with customers. But now, bartenders are back to bartending, serving drinks, getting the right mix of cocktails and spirit drinks for customers, and pouring and serving drinks behind busy bars.
What does a Bartender do ?
A bartender is responsible for keeping a bar running smoothly and ensuring customers have the drinks they’ve ordered, whether they’re ordering them from the bar, being served at their table, or even ordering drinks via an app.
Bartenders serve drinks, provide a friendly and prompt service, take payments for drinks, and, at times, also take food orders when food is ordered from a bar.
Bartenders also keep an eye on stock levels behind the bar, including draft and bottled beers, ales, lagers, wines, and spirits. Bartenders also manage bar snack stock levels and keep the whole bar area clean, neat, and tidy. Bartenders need to keep an eye on customer behaviour too, and can refuse to serve a customer when they’ve had too much to drink, and also ask for ID if a customer looks too young to be served.
English bartenders are known the world over for pouring pints, cleaning glasses, and being people you can chat to. But there’s a lot more to bartending than simply pouring a pint whilst football plays in the background. Bartenders are working behind the bar for long shifts, pouring and making drinks, including cocktails if they’re on the menu, and in some bars and pubs, bartenders put orders through software for menu bar items and food.
Serving drinks is always going to be an important part of a bartender job, alongside customer service, providing support for other team members, and pouring or creating alcoholic beverages.
What qualities define a Bartender ?
Bartenders need to be quality and customer-focused, and with an attention to detail that ensures patrons get the right drinks for them. At times, this involves helping customers pick the right beer, ale, lager, stout, white, red, rose, sparkling wine or champagne, or spirit and mixer drink.
Bartenders also need to ensure everywhere behind the bar is clean, tidy, and organised, and that used glasses are cleaned and ready for use again. In some cases, bartenders work with barbacks (also known as bar crew members, bar team members, crew members, or food runners) to keep this running smoothly.
In smaller bars, or bars where there’s a smaller team, bartenders are supervised by a bar manager, and they’re also responsible for keeping a steady flow of clean glasses and keeping the bar area hygienic and organised.
The latest mission offers for Bartenders across London
If you're a Bartender seeking occasional short-term work and flexibility, follow these three simple steps to begin receiving mission proposals:
- Register as self-employed Bartender before signing up for Brigad.
- Download the app and sign up in minutes; it's free, and there's no commitment required.
- Create and personalize your profile to start receiving mission proposals. You're free to decide whether to accept or decline them.
How to find a Bartender using Brigad app ?
Whether it's for a wedding, a special evening, or even to strengthen your bar team, hiring a reliable Bartender can sometimes be a tedious task.
To find a qualified Bartender using the Brigad app, 3 steps are sufficient:
- Create an account on the Brigad app or website (free registration and no commitment)
- Set up your missions in a few clicks specify the required skills, dress code, equipment, duration, payment method, and more.
- Submit your mission and let the algorithm handle the rest!
Once you set up a mission, it's sent to talents with the relevant skills in your area.
When a Bartender accepts, you'll be notified and can then connect with them directly.
All Bartender and other Hospitality professionals undergo a strict vetting process to ensure the best match.
UK companies that are hiring Bartenders using Brigad App
Trusted by over 10,000 businesses to reinforce their teams, Brigad is widely used by both large groups and independent businesses in every sector of the hospitality industry.
The platform offers a connection with thousands of highly qualified, self-employed hospitality professionals such as Bartenders.
These businesses may include:
- Hotels and restaurants
- Pubs, cafes and bars
- Music venues, festivals
UK Bartender salary ranges
Bartender salaries in the UK varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of establishment. In London and Birmingham, and nationwide chain bars, restaurants, and hotels, bartenders will earn more than working for smaller pubs or restaurants in rural areas.
On average, bartenders can earn anywhere from £24,000 to £27,000, plus tips, and many have the option to progress further into bar manager roles.
How to become a Bartender ?
Becoming a bartender in the UK is often an accessible entry point into the hospitality industry, and formal qualifications are not always required. Here's a step-by-step guide to kick-start your career as a bartender:
- Start with a Positive Attitude: Approach bartending with enthusiasm and a customer-centric mindset. Being friendly, approachable, and attentive is key to success in this role.
- Basic Requirements: While formal qualifications are not mandatory, you should meet the legal age requirements for serving alcohol, which is typically 18 years old in the UK.
- Gain Experience: Look for entry-level positions in bars, pubs, or restaurants that offer on-the-job training. This hands-on experience is invaluable for learning the essentials of bartending.
- Learn the Basics: Familiarize yourself with the basics of bartending, including how to prepare and serve a variety of alcoholic beverages, handle cash transactions, and maintain cleanliness and hygiene standards.
- Customer Service Skills: Develop exceptional customer service skills to provide a memorable and enjoyable experience for patrons. Good bartenders often remember regular customers' preferences.
- Consider Training: While not mandatory, attending bartender courses or vocational qualifications can enhance your knowledge and skills. Some establishments may prefer candidates with formal training.
How to become a freelance Bartender ?
To become a freelance Bartender, follow these essential steps:
- Register as a Sole Trader with HMRC: This is a crucial first step, requiring minimal paperwork and enabling legal self-employment.
- Obtain a UTR Number from HMRC: Secure your Unique Taxpayer Reference number, necessary for tax purposes and identification as a sole trader.
- Meet Eligibility Requirements: Ensure you're eligible for self-employment in the UK, especially important for non-EU international students who may face restrictions.
- Manage Your Tax Affairs: Be responsible for submitting an annual self-assessment tax return based on your income and expenses.
- Maintain Accurate Financial Records: Keep detailed records of all your income and expenses for tax purposes.
- Understand Tax Obligations: Familiarize yourself with tax bands and VAT requirements as they apply to self-employed professionals.
As a self-employed Bartender, you have the opportunity to explore diverse working options. This includes the ability to combine freelance projects with long-term contracts, providing a varied and dynamic career path. You also enjoy significant work flexibility, allowing you to select your work schedule and locations that best align with your personal goals and preferences.
Additionally, it's important to stay informed by regularly consulting official government resources for any updates or new information related to self-employment.
Why choose the position of Bartender ?
Working as a bartender is a great way to progress in the hospitality industry and gain some experience that could help you progress into more senior managerial positions if you want a long-term career in restaurants, bars, or hotels.
How to be a good Bartender ?
The best way to demonstrate your skills as a bartender that can lead to promotions and higher salaries or self-employed missions through Brigad is working hard as a bartender and delivering excellent customer service every day.
During more challenging times for the hospitality sector, that’s the best way to keep a busy bar running smoothly and profitably, and anything you can do to save costs without compromising on customer service is worth suggesting to your bar or line manager. If you can demonstrate you’re thinking about the bigger picture then it will help advance your career
What are the working conditions for a Bartender ?
Bartender working conditions vary depending on the establishment. Bartenders often work long hours, and it’s not unusual to work from before a bar, pub, or restaurant opens until after it closes, as long as 12 or more hour days.
Weekend work is often required as that’s when restaurants, pubs, and hotel F&B operations are usually busiest, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
Typical working hours of a Bartender
Bartenders know that bar work comes with long, irregular, and unsociable hours common in the hospitality sector. Depending on shift patterns and the number of staff, you might work a shorter shift, or be responsible for opening and closing down a bar.
If you’ve done this work for a number of years, you might be looking for a change of pace, more flexibility, and a better work-life balance (so you’re not always finishing work at midnight or later!).
Brigad can help you achieve that, connecting you with missions that better suit your lifestyle and what you want to earn as a self-employed bartender.
What career progression is possible for a Bartender ?
Bartenders with some experience behind them are perfectly positioned to move into more senior positions, such as Bar Manager, Restaurant Manager, Food & Beverage Manager, or group manager positions (for restaurants or F&B) in larger, chain, culinary establishments.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a Barista and Bartender ?
The primary difference between a Barista and a Bartender lies in their respective expertise and the beverages they prepare. A Barista specializes in coffee, espresso, and related beverages, crafting items like lattes, cappuccinos, and pour-over coffee.
In contrast, a Bartender focuses on alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, serving a wide range of drinks, including mixed cocktails, beer, wine, and spirits-based beverages, and typically works in bars, lounges, or restaurants.
Is there a difference between a Barman and Bartender ?
The terms "Barman" and "Bartender" are often used interchangeably and generally refer to the same role in the hospitality industry. Both individuals are responsible for serving drinks, mixing cocktails, and providing customer service in bars, restaurants, or other establishments that serve beverages. The choice of terminology may vary depending on regional preferences or colloquial use, but their job responsibilities remain largely the same.
What’s the difference between a Mixologist and a Bartender ?
The key difference between a Mixologist and a Bartender lies in their level of expertise and their focus within the realm of beverages. A Mixologist is a specialist in cocktail creation, often with advanced knowledge of ingredients, flavor combinations, and the art of crafting unique and complex cocktails. Bartenders, on the other hand, have a broader role that includes serving a wide range of drinks, from basic to complex cocktails, as well as beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages, with a primary emphasis on customer service and efficient bar operations.
What equipment and work attire does a Bartender need ?
A Bartender typically requires specific equipment and attire to excel in their role. Essential equipment includes cocktail shakers, jiggers, strainers, and muddlers for crafting cocktails, while their attire consists of a bartender uniform, non-slip shoes, and bar towels to maintain cleanliness and professionalism in a fast-paced bar environment. Additional tools like bottle openers, bar spoons, and cutting boards are also essential for efficient bartending.