If you are looking for bar work in a cocktail bar, you’ll need to have medium to advanced skills as a bartender. If you’re new to the game, it’s probably not the best idea to start in a cocktail bar – you need to learn the basics (alongside bar etiquette, cocktail recipes and other customary procedures) before you’ll confidently hold yourself in a cocktail bar.
Applying for bar work in a cocktail bar is different to applying for pub work or club work – remember the clientele you’ll be dealing with. They’ll expect the best from the bar they are in, and the best from the staff who serve them. So, you’ll need to present yourself as a candidate who can (a) represent the bar you work for in the correct manner and (b) hold yourself in a professional and serious manner. Cocktail bar work is different from pub or club work – you can’t goof around when you are in between customers. This is the next level shit.
You’re going to have to be culturally savvy. You’ll need to pay attention to the local customs – particularly if you want to make decent tips. You’ll need to be adaptive and receptive to the people and mood around you. If the mood in the bar is serious and polite, you must act that way.
So, if you’re applying for a job in a cocktail bar (and have a trial), or you want to make sure you are offering the best service when on the job, make sure you pay attention to the following:
Call customer ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ at all times. Or, if you know the surnames of the customers, call them Mr/Mrs/Ms Surname.
Water Served At All Times
Make sure your customers have a full glass of water at all times. If they are sitting at a table, make sure their waiter/waitress is topping up their water glass. If you have customers sitting at the bar, make sure their water glasses are kept full too.
Ash Tray Always Empty
If your bar permits smoking, make sure all ash trays are cleaned (and empty) at all times. Empty an ash tray even if it has one cigarette in it!
Napkins Are Always Present (And Dry)
Make sure all drinks have napkins underneath them. If the napkin becomes wet and/or torn, replace it immediately.
Offer More Drinks When Current Drinks Are Almost Empty
Self explanatory. Pre-empt and strike.
Hold Yourself Still
When you move about the bar, hold yourself still but remain fluid. Move with charm and confidence. This may sound ridiculous, however take a look at an excellent bartender (the next time you are out) and he or she will probably be moving with charm and confidence. Pay attention to how many tips they make!
FTOLI – From The Outside Looking In
Remember one very important bartending mantra – From The Outside Looking In. Remember that your customers can see things VERY differently to you. So, pay attention and always remember that your customers can see what you are doing.
What Would You Expect To See?
Lastly, turn the tables around. Think to yourself: “What would I want to see, if I was a high-paying customer of this bar? How should I act appropriately?” If you are passionate enough, you’ll realise that acting in the most appropriate way will get you very, very far.