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Key Qualities of a Bartender

October 27, 2021 by The Cocktail Service

Looking for bartender hire for your next event? What’s the most important thing you need to think about? What are the key qualities of a good bartender? 

Discover the key qualities of a bartender with help from The Cocktail Service, so you can hire the right bar staff for your next event. 

What are the main bartender duties?

A bartender presents a green cocktail to the camera

A bartender is responsible for the day-to-day (or night-to-night) running of the bar. From stocking the bar to running an efficient service, to offering customer service that’s second to none; a bartender is a key member of a bar staffing team. 

What is the most important skill of a bartender?

Communication and efficiency are the most important skills and qualities of a bartender.

Looking for these key skills will ensure you find someone with the ability to make good quality, delicious cocktails in an efficient and timely manner.

If you are looking to hire a bartender, this should be a key consideration, while being friendly, polite and engaging with customers and other bar staff is another absolute must. More detailed can be found in how to become a cocktail bartender if considering purely for cocktails.

What is expected from a bartender?

A bartender pulls a pint of beer

Bartenders should be adaptable, hardworking team players, who love the rush of a busy bar.

Bar staff work in an environment that is customer-centric, so your bar staff should love engaging with customers and guests in a friendly, accommodating manner.

Customers are far likely to remember a positive, charming and friendly bartender, creating a welcoming atmosphere, so people skills are incredibly important to consider. 

What makes a successful bartender?

Knowledgeable about drinks

This should almost go without saying, but a good bartender for hire should be knowledgeable about drinks!

Most bartenders will need to whip up complicated cocktails from memory and be happy to craft not-so-common cocktails from scratch.

From making personal recommendations to making the right suggestions to pair cocktails with food, being able to craft delicious cocktails time and time again requires innate knowledge and a passion for cocktail making. Bonus points for understanding the details behind a cocktail spec.

Clean and organised 

A bartender will need to consistently keep things neat and tidy. The sign of a good bartender is a clean and tidy bar.

Nobody wants to sit in an unclean, unhygienic environment; bartenders need to be aware of the consistent needs of customers while regularly clearing up any spillages, collecting empty glasses and ensuring the bar is running smoothly for the evening. 

Communication  skills

Two guests at the bar smile as they listen to a bartender speak about drinks

Friendly, polite, accommodating, engaging, charming. These are all necessary qualities of a good bartender. Excellent communication skills shine through in aspects of a bartender role, including customer service, and communicating confidently with other members of the team.

If customers are waiting awhile for their drink during a busy service, by engaging with customers, making eye contact and generally being outgoing, friendly and accommodating, you can keep them happy and keep service running smoothly. 

If you’re thinking of hiring a bartender for your cocktail event, check out this guide: What to consider when hiring a bartender

Patience and composure 

Bar shifts tend to get busy; customers can be demanding, and it can be non-stop in the busiest hours, with a constant stream of customers, long orders and queues at the bar. Alongside the music and general atmosphere.

Bartenders are often working in a high-stimulus environment, with lots of noise around them.

The ability to remain calm and patient during a busy shift is absolutely critical; stress management can avoid bartenders being overwhelmed and losing composure when that one customer suddenly gets impatient! Fantastic customer service is paramount, and even more important when managing a busy service. 


A team of bartenders work behind the bar

Integrity, flexibility and assertiveness; all key attributes of a team player, which is an absolutely key quality of a bartender.

Being dependable and flexible, and happy to help out can ensure a smooth service, where you adapt to situations quickly. Working as a team is incredibly important to a successful bar shift. Bars are often busy and loud, with lots of customers to attend to and various orders and drinks to make.

Bartenders will need to make sure that they are willing to get stuck in to help the team when necessary, sometimes doing unpleasant jobs like cleaning up at the end of the shift, and sorting the bins. Every role is important to the successful running of a bar! 

Click here to hire bar staff for your next event 

Good memory and time management

A bartender mixing a cocktail with ingredients on the bar

A good memory and good time management are other key qualities of a good bartender; bartenders regularly need to remember long, complicated orders, and be able to make cocktails quickly and efficiently from memory.

The ability to remember uncommon cocktails from memory is another key skill of a bartender; it doesn’t look great if a customer asks for a drink and you don’t know how to make it.

Having a good memory works hand in hand with having great time management skills, being able to work efficiently and quickly to get through orders and remember everything that’s needed.

Situational awareness

Another integral skill of a bartender is the ability to handle tricky situations. Situations can arise when people are drinking, and bartenders need to recognise the occasions when a customer doesn’t need another drink, in order to avoid any unnecessary incidents unfolding. 


Looking to hire a cocktail bartender? Contact The Cocktail Service for an unforgettable cocktail experience.

We’re a bar staffing agency with years of experience and knowledge of cocktail curation and creation. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our bespoke bar staffing for events.


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