How do you become a Bartender?

Do you want to practice tricks or balance bottles on your head? Maybe being a bartender is for you. In this article, we will give you the ins and outs of being a bartender. We’ll introduce you to what qualifications, licences, if any or work experience you can have to advance you as a candidate to employers. We’ll mention the skills you need to be a bartender, so read on to know your salary and the benefits of being a bartender.

What do Bartenders do?

In hospitality, you are constantly around customers; your job is to greet and create a welcoming atmosphere for all who enter the establishment. Serving drinks at a higher standard for customers at the bar and table. Customers may ask what the best drink is for them, so advising on what may suit guests may be another one of your tasks.

You need to show your knowledge of systems and programs used to take orders, keep track of payments and manage table seatings for customers. You must be able to handle cash and card payments. You will work in pubs, bars, restaurants or even social clubs.

Your management of the bar's cleanliness is your responsibility for the entire shift, and how you leave the bar for others. To give customers the best service and range of drinks, you must continually keep the bar stocked with various drinks and garnishes and make sure there is ice. Collecting glasses and washing up utensils, beer faucets and the rest of the bar equipment.

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Bartender Qualifications


There are plenty of college courses available. You learn skills and knowledge which are needed for the job and in this industry. These courses are:

  • Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry
  • Level 1 Award in Professional Food and Beverage Service Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Professional Food and Beverage Service

For these courses, your entry requirements are:

  • For level 1 courses, you need 2 or fewer GCSEs in grades 3 to 1
  • Whilst level 2 must have 2 or more GCSEs in grades 9 to 3

Work Experience

There are fewer apprenticeships available. However, you can take an intermediate apprenticeship as a hospitality team member; these usually take one year to complete. You will participate in on-the-job training and can potentially spend time in a college with trainers. There are no set entry requirements needed. However, they are preferred if you have some GCSEs, including English and Maths.

Skills needed to be a Bartender

Customer Service Skills

Working in the hospitality industry, your customer service skills need to be on point. Building a career in this line of work helps develop these skills effectively. Your skills can help to solve issues with customer satisfaction, communicating menus or listening to what the customers need.

People Skills

Translating body language and approachability towards customers can help you understand what someone wants. As a bartender, you need to know people. Having no people skills may deter potential customers from working with you.

Active Listening Skills

Engaging in active listening in a conversation proves to customers you listen to what they want when ordering. Bartenders with active listening skills can establish trust and respect with customers so that you can get some big tips. Customers are more likely to come back having been listened to over a gin and tonic.

Salaries of Bartenders in the UK

Your salary as a bartender depends on the city you work in. The average salary is £23,400 per year or, depending on your contract type, being paid £10.50 per hour. However, most bartenders' starting salary is £21,450 for those with little to no training. Bartending salaries can go up to £28,121, for some of the most experienced. This graph, it shows you the average salary per hour for a bartender in the 4 major cities.

Bartender Salaries in the UK

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Overview of Bartenders

Profession Group Hospitality
Minimum Age 18
Education Requirements GCSEs
Salary Indication £23,400
Related Jobs Waitering or Customer Service

FAQs about Bartenders

  • Do you need a licence to bartend in the UK?

  • A premise needs a licence with a designated licenced supervisor, so unless you are a supervisor, you do not need a licence to bartend.

  • What is the highest salary for a bartender?

  • The highest salary for a bartender ever in the UK is £42,700.

  • What is a professional bartender called?

  • The most common name for professional bartenders is a mixologist.

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