What makes a good Bartender?

I came up with this list a few years back when working with a client that couldn’t seem to hire the right staff and always had the worst bartenders!

What is the difference between a Good Bartender or a Bad Bartender? We’ve all been upset at poor service but equally I know when I get good service, I remember it! So what are the things that annoy or impress us?

A good Bartender:

  • Always acknowledges customers at the bar.
  • Can take more than one order at a time.
  • Pours the pint of Guinness first when dispensing a large order.
  • Puts your change in your hand and not on the bar counter.
  • Offers to carry the drinks to the table for you when necessary.
  • Can explain the difference between different quarter bottles of wine.
  • Takes pride in their uniform.
  • Prepares sufficient lemon slices in the morning.
  • Does not raise their eyes to heaven when asked for an Irish Coffee.
  • Knows how to change ashtrays (outside these days..) without ash flying everywhere.
  • Does not put their fingers into glasses when clearing tables.
  • Knows what’s going on in the area when asked by customers.
  • Knows a number for local taxis.
  • Takes orders from customers in rotation, without leaving anyone waiting longer than others.
  • Asks if the customer would like ice in their mineral water.
  • Asks if ice and/or lemon are required in vodka/gin/bacardi.
  • Knows how to clean the draftt lines (even though he doesn’t have to any more…).
  • Understands the importance of discretion.
  • Presents the pint glass with the logo facing you.
  • Holds glasses a couple of inches below the rim when serving.
  • Thanks customers for their business when they are leaving.
  • Asks customers if they would like another drink when the glass is almost empty.

A bad Bartender

  • Talks to some customers at length while others are left waiting.
  • Never washes their hands despite handling glasses by the rim.
  • Arrives late and leaves early.
  • Is always wondering when they can get their “staff drink”.
  • Doesn’t record or care about waste.
  • Takes orders from the pretty girls first.
  • Dispenses free drinks to the pretty girls “on the house”.
  • Adds ice and lemon to drinks as standard.
  • Lets the tap run for a second or two before placing the glass underneath.
  • Adjusts the gas setting of each tap before pouring a pint.
  • Scratches their head and their face during service.
  • Doesn’t wear full uniform.
  • Encourages friends to drink in the bar when (s)he is on duty.
  • Leaves the Cash Drawer open in the cash register.
  • Never gives a receipt.
  • Hates the thought of serving food.
  • Doesn’t know what cutlery/condiments are needed for each dish/drink served.

Can anybody add to the list?

2 thoughts on “What makes a good Bartender?

  1. A good bartender arrives ready to work with a lighter, pen and bottle opener

    A good bartender serves each drink with a coaster or napkin

    A good bartender keeps the bar top wiped clean and free of trash and empty glasses and bottles

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