Bartenders are the masters of mixology and the keepers of the bar. They are responsible for creating a great ambiance and providing excellent service to their patrons. From expertly crafted classics to original creations, these skilled technicians can make drinks that range from light and fruity to dark and boozy, giving each guest just what they need. But more than simply making delicious drinks, bartenders are also excellent at conversations. They provide sage advice on life’s mysteries while entertaining with witty banter.

Free Person Preparing Rum Drink Stock Photo


A great bartender possesses many admirable qualities. If you have what it takes to enter this exciting career, make sure you measure up to the standards set by industry experts. Here are some traits that will help you succeed behind the bar.

Passion for Mixology:

Concoctions of alcohol, juices, and syrups are the lifeblood of every bar. A great bartender knows how to create classic cocktails and experiment with new recipes without compromising taste or presentation. They continuously strive to learn about various liquors and other ingredients to make exciting drinks that keep customers coming back for more. If you’re a budding mixologist, the bar is your playground. So, explore and have fun with it!

High Sense of Responsibility:

Being in charge of the bar comes with a lot of responsibilities. From acknowledging the legal age of customers to making sure that they don’t over-indulge, a great bartender should be able to manage the bar with poise and authority. Some states, like California, demand bartenders to have RBS (Responsible Beverage Service) training. It includes classes on alcohol safety, local regulations, and legal liabilities. Taking RBS training online is a great way to get certified quickly. Plus, it’s simply less of a hassle.

Strong Communication Skills:

This one’s a no-brainer. But it shouldn’t be disregarded.

You want your bar to be a cool space, right? And so, you’ll need more than just spot-on martinis. A bartender that knows how to charm customers is as important as one who can make a mean margarita. You’ll need to be able to carry conversations, crack jokes, and handle demanding customers with the proper technique. It’s not just about making drinks, it’s also about providing great customer service.

Logic and Problem-Solving Skills:

A bar can get quite hectic. So being able to think on one’s feet is crucial to ensure smooth running. From coordinating orders to anticipating customer needs, a great bartender should easily handle multiple tasks at once. Logic and problem-solving skills help when faced with challenging situations too. What if customers want to make a trade-off or argue about prices? Maybe a patron has had too many drinks and needs to be cut off? Thinking quickly and coming up with a solution fast can save you from a lot of trouble.

Attention to Detail:

As the head mixologist, you should be aware of even the slightest changes in taste and presentation. Minor tweaks can be the difference between a good drink and a great one. Knowing exactly how much of each ingredient to pour, selecting the right garnish, and adhering to the recipe — are all factors of superb craftsmanship. Paying attention to detail is critical for any bartender to stand out.

Quick Learning Abilities:

If you have to look up how to make a Manhattan every time a customer orders one, you’re not doing your job right. Instead, a great bartender should be able to learn and remember the recipes of all their signature drinks, as well as the classics. Plus, you should be familiar with different spirits and liqueurs to make exciting concoctions. For instance, infusing plain vodka with herbs or fruits is an art.

Team Player:

It’s not a one-man show when hundreds of orders flow in faster than you can pour a drink. You’ll need the help of your co-workers to get through the night. Great bartenders have excellent team-working as well as leadership skills. They know how to get along with their colleagues, delegate work efficiently, and keep everyone on the same page. A bartender who works in sync with the waiting and kitchen staff can ensure top-notch service and a pleasant customer atmosphere.


Bars are inherently dirty places. Old beer bottles, broken glass, and spilled liquid make a pretty unsightly mess. A great bartender should keep their workstation clean and organized at all times. Not only does it save time, but it also ensures customers’ safety. Sanitize bars, counters, utensils, glasses, and cutting boards regularly. Handling food and beverages will also prevent health issues and make customers feel secure.

Math Skills:

A good bartender should be able to calculate bills quickly and accurately. Watching the cash register is an important responsibility. You’ll need to double-check prices listed on menus and keep track of running tabs. A patron wouldn’t quite appreciate receiving an incorrect bill, would they? Math skills also come in handy for calculating the cost of ingredients and profit margins.

Counting up to a hundred without mistakes is essential for busy nights.


Working at the bar can get quite stressful. Customers may complain, demand free drinks, or even get into fights. In such scenarios, you’ll need to remain patient and handle the situation with a cool head. A great bartender should have excellent emotional control so they don’t lose their temper and cause a further disturbance. Luckily, patience can be cultivated with practice and experience.

Time Management Skills:

Do you know how to strike a balance between attending to customers and maintaining stock? If not, you should work on it. Managing the flow of customers, timing the delivery of drinks and food, and keeping track of stock levels will help make your job easier.

Plus, serving drinks fast means serving more drinks. As a result, you’ll increase the bar’s revenue by boosting efficiency and moving customers through quickly.

Sale Skills:

Knowing how to up-sell or suggest the right drinks can increase the bar’s total profit. For example, offer customers a different brand of beer or suggest a refreshing cocktail. A great bartender can look at customers and guess what they’d like to drink. It’s an art that requires observation and understanding of people. Cross-selling, or selling multiple products in one go, is a great way to increase your income. For instance, offer a burger and beer combo or a snack-and-shots deal.

Final Thoughts:

The ability to pour drinks quickly and accurately is an essential skill. But, just like speed-reading or coding, bartending too can be learned with practice. With the right attitude and commitment, you can be an outstanding bartender in no time! So, what are you waiting for? Get behind the bar and let your bartending skills shine. Cheers!