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Important skills required for being a good bartender

Photo for: Important skills required for being a good bartender

11/11/2022 In the hospitality sector, it’s really essential to know how to be kind and welcoming to guests. Here are some tips and tricks from the best bartenders to up your bartending style.

Bartending is one of the most challenging jobs, but when you're having fun, it transforms into a delightful experience. A few of the abilities that are highly helpful in the drinks industry are product knowledge, being a superb host for the guests, and being efficient and organised. 

In this interview, Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network, chats with some of the world’s best bartenders who are known for their amazing service and knowledge about mixology to answer the question, “What are some of the most important skills for a bartender?”, this is what they shared.

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“You need the ability to alter your service to suit the individual needs of your guests as well as the capacity to manage different scenarios and environments,” said Kyle Elwis, Bar Manager at Copa Bar. 

Kyle Elwis

Kyle Elwis

Kyle Elwis, Bar Manager at COPA Bar

I said in a previous interview that adaptability is the big one, and I still believe that to be true. You need the ability to alter your service to suit the individual needs of your guests as well as the capacity to manage different scenarios and environments. 

I also believe that teamwork and the ability to effectively communicate within a team are vital. Not one person is the best choice to deal with every situation. Having a team that can cover your weaknesses and vice versa creates a much stronger bar that is much better prepared for any situation thrown at them.

Fabrizio Cino

Fabrizio Cino

Fabrizio Cino, Assistant Bars Manager at EDITION

Three things:

Sense of taste 

Empathy 

Being aware of your surroundings

Sense of taste - both to create great drinks (obviously) but also to make the right choices that create a pleasant atmosphere at the bar. This brings me to empathy. As we work long hours, we need to be able to cooperate with our colleagues and be supportive of each other, but also, we need to be perceptive of the mood of the guests we have in front of us to create a bespoke experience for them.

Finally, being aware of what surrounds us will not only prevent us from overworking the new barback that is trying his best to help, but also to spot those two new guests that just walked through the door, or replenish someone’s water glass before they notice. It allows you to stay ahead of the game, creating an anticipatory, rather than reactive, service. It’s all about making sure that our guests are having a top-notch experience.

Agostino Schiavo 

Agostino Schiavo

Agostino Schiavo, Bar Manager at Lucas Restaurants

A good bartender has to have amazing product knowledge but it’s not all for me, we have to be the perfect host, the perfect entertainer, those guests will come not only for the cocktails but to see us behind the bar. 

Marius Bitegye-Pop

Marius Bitegye-Pop

Marius Bitegye-Pop, Bars Manager at Strand Palace Hotel

Consistency to ensure the drinks are made in the same recipe throughout the whole shift; knowledge to be able to entertain/educate guests on the products we sell, which also helps to upsell top-shelf items; humility, which helps one extend more compassion and empathy to others, as well as being receptive to opinions and point of views of colleagues and managers; and positive attitude, a can-do attitude goes way further than a “not my job” approach to bartending.

Angelo Sparvoli

Angelo Sparvoli

Angelo Sparvoli, Head Bartender at St James Bar at the Sofitel

The ability to anticipate the needs of the guests is something quite important, as well as being able to provide a unique experience, entertain the people, and get to know them in order to provide a tailored service and make them feel at home.

I think technical skills come with practice, but something that I focus on very much is being clean and organized. Also, from my point of view, it is very important to focus on the emotional side of the job (how you talk to people, how you make them feel), everything that concerns the guest experience.

Giorgio Bargiani

Giorgio Bargiani

Giorgio Bargiani, Assistant Director of Mixology at The Connaught

Like for every good cocktail, a good bartender will have the right balance of ingredients and technical skills, have great taste, and be gentle to people.

Antonio Papariello

Antonio Papariello

Antonio Papariello, Bar Manager at The Franklin Hotel London

Good personality

Good communication skills

A Desire to learn

Good customer service

Be organised

Knowledgeable about drinks and spirits

Francesco Delfino

Francesco Delfino

Francesco Delfino, Bar Manager at Henson’s Bar and Social

Communication and Empathy: you do need to be able to communicate with the people you are working with and with the ones that come to your bar.

Marco Meloni

Marco Meloni

Marco Meloni, Bartender at The NoMad Hotel, London

I think technical skills come with practice, but something that I focus on very much is being clean and organised. Also, from my point of view, it is very important to focus on the emotional side of the job (how you talk to people, how you make them feel), everything that concerns the guest experience.

Michele Becatti

Michele Becatti

Michele Becatti, Bar Manager at Ginza Onodera Restaurant, London

Personality

Knowledge

Attitude

Humility 

Written by Puja Behera, Beverage Trade Network.

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