Different types of bartending

When you look at the different types of bartending jobs available in your area, it is important to think about how they are different. What kind of customers will you be serving? Do you have an idea of the kind of experience they will expect? What skills will serve you best in that environment? And, with whom will you be working?

Not every place will be the right fit for you, so don’t be afraid to try things out and move on. There are plenty of opportunities out there for a skilled bartender.

A bartender pours from a speed spout with flair.

Local bars, pubs and taverns

Down the street is your local watering hole. It’s filled with regulars and has a very social vibe. Working in local bars, pubs and taverns is like being the neighbor everyone knows. It will be important to get to know your regular customers and relate to them. The better they like you, the more they are likely to come back.These are places where relationships are more important than just polite customer service.

The right kind of bartender for a neighborhood establishment thrives on social interaction. If you are looking to maximize your profitability rather than your sociability, the local bar, pub or tavern may not be the right place for you.

Restaurant bartending

People who already have hospitality and service industry experience make the move into restaurant bartending because the skill sets are similar.

As a service bartender, attending to customers sitting at the bar, you will be interacting much the same way as a server; making suggestions, taking food orders and ringing them up for the kitchen, setting up plates and cutlery, as well as mixing drinks and pouring beer or wine. This can be very demanding and requires the ability to multitask.

A simpler job is that of the well bartender, in that your only responsibility is to make the drink orders brought by servers for their tables. This is more of an assembly line kind of work and requires speed and efficiency because the customers are waiting and the server is counting on you to get the order correct.

Nightclubs and Special Events

Special events and nightclubs are places where the bartender’s job is to pump out as many drinks as fast as possible. The lineup for the bar gets several people deep and everyone is trying to get your attention. Here you will get a real mix of beer pours and cocktail orders. Speed and accuracy are important, but also your ability to remain calm, manage pushy and rude customers as the night goes on. It can be taxing but the sheer volume can also make it very lucrative.


Finally we come to the scientists who do their research and craft signature cocktails to the delight of their discerning customers. Mastering the classic cocktails is the first step to becoming a mixologist. Then you can add your own twists and push the expectations of a cocktail experience. This kind of bartending is much more methodical and requires a great deal of drink knowledge. Customers seeking this kind of experience are willing to pay handsomely for it.

What type of bartender are you?

Depending on your experience, personality, and goals, different types of bartending may immediately speak to you. But don’t be afraid to evolve. Try different types of bartending and you may be surprised where the opportunities take you.

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