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7 Signs You’ve Made It as a Bartender

by Melissa Allen Jan 24, 2019

Bartenders aren’t born, they’re made by spending time behind the bar. From being a person who is able to have small talk with anyone to preferring to work weekends, here are a few signs you’re ready to call yourself a bartender.

1. You can work a 14-hour day and not even feel it.

Long shifts are a badge of honor for bartenders. No one loves working a long-ass day, but 14 hours on your feet is weirdly less tiring than 14 hours behind a computer screen. It takes a while to adjust to standing for hours on end, but once you do, your legs adapt. A pair of unattractive, non-slip work clogs really helps this process.

2. You think shots are a perfectly acceptable way to consume alcohol.

Most people leave shots behind with their college days, but bartenders know that shots aren’t really about getting plastered — they’re about camaraderie. They’re also the perfect fuel when you’re a working a crazy Saturday night shift and you need a little energy boost to power through. Proceed with caution, however. Shots are sneaky and they hit you much harder when you don’t have work adrenaline pumping through your veins.

3. You actually prefer working on weekends.

At first, working weekends can feel like the pits — you constantly miss out on friends’ parties and weekend getaways. But over time, you learn that working weekends can actually be a perk. You have weekdays off to run errands, go shopping, and lounge on an empty beach. The more time you spend behind the bar, the less desire you have to be on the other side of a packed bar on a Saturday night.

4. Your hands hurt.

Forget weekly salon manicures, bartending wrecks havoc on your hands. From garnish prep to opening sharp-foiled wine bottles to hand-washing glassware, your hands do battle behind the bar. If your hands aren’t covered in little cuts and your nail polish isn’t chipped, you’re not bartending hard enough.

5. You can small talk with anyone.

Bartending is more than just making drinks, it’s about making your bar guests feel at home. It’s sort of like hosting a small cocktail party every night. Part of that means engaging with people from all walks of life. The more topics you can chitchat about, the easier it is to connect with guests who you’ve just met.

6. You either order the most adventurous drink on the menu or the cheapest beer.

Because we’re exposed to so many different spirits, beers, and wines, we tend to develop an adventurous palate when it comes to booze. When we go out to drink, we either want to try the most obscure cocktails or we want the exact opposite — the coldest, cheapest beer we can find. When you spend your days thinking about drinks, it’s the last thing you want to do in your free time.

7. You can multitask like a ninja.

Working at a bar or restaurant is a lot like being a parent. You have a constant to-do list cycling through your brain while surrounded by people seeking your attention. At first, it’s overwhelming, but you know you’re getting the hang of bartending when you can make drinks, take orders, run credit cards, and flirt with the babe at the bar — all at the same time.

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