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How to Start a Career Working in Bars

Doris Benitez
Reading time: 3 min


The duties of a bar person can can vary depending on the establishment and your level of experience. The good news is that you can still find vacancies where the employer is prepared to provide basic in-house training to the right candidate. You will serve drinks, dispense spirits from optics and provide legal measures of other drinks. You are also likely to be asked to make sure bottle fridges are topped-up regularly and may have to do some cleaning. Using a cash register or till and taking payment in cash or by credit or debit card is a key part of the job.

Job Basics

At entry-level, the salary is likely to be the basic minimum wage rate of £7.83 per hour. However, this can rise significantly with experience. The average salary for a bar manager is in the region of £25,000 with some managers earning more. You can expect to work between 37 and 40 hours a week, including frequent Saturday and Sunday working and you may find your are called on to work additional shifts.

What’s Involved in this Job?

You will need to help prepare the bar for service, making sure there is a full stock of both alcoholic and soft drinks, plenty of clean glasses and comestibles such as crisps and nuts ready for sale. Once the bar is open, you will serve members of the public politely and efficiently, advising on choice if asked and taking payment. At the end of service, you will help to tidy the bar, dispose of any used bottles and cans and wipe down the bar. Depending on the job, cleaning the beer lines may be your responsibility. If so, you will have received training.

What Qualities Should I Have?

To work behind a bar, you need to be able to deal with people from all walks of life and handle any complaints in a professional and friendly manner. You will should be confident and assertive and able to stand your ground, when, for example, you refuse to serve someone because they appear to be underage or they have already had enough to drink. As tills can be complex you will needdigital skills and, of course, be able should the need arise, to be able to add up using mental arithmetic. Dependability is important, if it is your shift and you fail to turn up, the onus falls on someone else or customers suffer because of a staff shortage. If you are working in a real ale or cocktail bar, an interest and knowledge of the drinks you are serving is often a requisite of the job.

How Do I Become Qualified?

Beer sommelier training course are becoming increasingly popular. You will be taught how to run a bar, cellar management, the different types of beer etc. Also, many breweries run training course for bar staff as do Cask Marque, an organisation which visits pubs and gives their endorsement to beers that meet the standard it sets.”

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