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Bartending: From a Part-time Gig to a Full-time Career

The art of bartending is constantly evolving, and we can confidently say that the profession is now a lot more than pouring drinks as a part-time gig! With the help of remarkable industry innovation, growth, and knowledge development, the bartending career path has been rebranded to a full-time, fruitful profession. From traveling the world to winning awards – we can safely say that the 21st-century bartender has more options than ever before. 

Everyone loves a good cocktail, and a decade ago, the craft cocktail movement gained international momentum. Since then, the profession has matured into a respected and much-needed branch of the food and beverage industry. 

So, How Do you Turn Bartending Into a Full-time Job?

First things first, do you think that you have what it takes? Of course, being smoother than a good whiskey takes time and practice, but before delving into the basic skills of the trade, there are a few key soft skills that you should possess before taking your place behind a bar. 

These include: 

  • Social skills: Bartending is not merely about pouring drinks. Here at Thirst, we believe that it is also about providing an unforgettable experience for customers. Being able to interact with people from all walks of life is an essential skill. 
  • Multitasking. Can you multitask? You will likely be serving many guests at a time, which means you have to remember plenty of orders while interacting with staff, monitoring the bar, processing orders, and keeping customers happy.
  • Communication skills. Are you able to communicate clearly with your customers and colleagues? Good communication is key to efficient operations – not to mention getting the right drink to the right customer. 

Understanding the Job

Before diving head-first into the bartending pool, you need to make sure that you understand what the job entails. Managing a bar and running your shift smoothly are aspects of the job that are just as important as pouring a good drink. Some of the basic bartender duties include: 

  • Taking orders
  • Pouring drinks
  • Greeting and talking to customers
  • Providing customers with drink recommendations
  • Creating cocktails
  • Cleaning the bar (and cleaning it again!)
  • Monitoring stock levels
  • Accepting payments 
  • Monitoring intoxication levels

Learn the Tricks of the Trade
To grow your career, you have to work on increasing your skills. Communication skills are the soft skills you should possess. For example, it would help if you understood how to mix a good drink and combinations. You should also know your way around bar equipment and know when to use it. 

But why not take things a step further?
What used to be viewed as a dead-end job or simply a means to make a quick buck is now being turned into lucrative career opportunities for millions of people worldwide.

Bartending is no different from most other professional careers. However, the best way to propel your career and back up your profession is by taking a bartending course and pursuing continuous education. While you will develop skills on the job, bartending courses are a great way to learn how to craft the perfect cocktails, different porting techniques, and best practices to manage a bar. Sounds good? 

Whether you are looking to polish up your skills or kick start your bartending career, Thirst Academy offers bartending courses in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. We also offer an online option to those who wish to do the Flagship course in the comfort of their own home. 

Our bartending course covers topics from the role of the bartender, tools of the trade, glassware, basic skills, pouring techniques, customer service, product knowledge, and time management, and then the introduction to cocktail making and classic cocktails.


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