How to Become a Freelance Bartender

A bartender—also known as barman, tapster, alcohol server or alcohol server—refers to an individual who is engaged in the formulation and service of alcoholic beverages from behind the bar. They are usually responsible for the maintenance of the inventory and supplies for the bar. The bartending profession is usually the second occupation, especially for students, in order to gather customer experience or earn money for various purposes such as payment of university fees.

The trend is, however, changing across the globe, and bartending is no longer a profession by necessity but choice. The recognition of bartending profession is evident from a number of world championships organized across the globe such as World Class and Bacardi Legacy, which have made popular bartending as a profession in the world.

Bartending is an emerging profession, and with its expansion, the number of opportunities has only increased. What has augmented the development of bartending as a profession is its inclusion in the freelancing community—community among the biggest professional communities in the world.

The freelance community has embraced bartending into its family, and now there are many freelance bartenders who are trying to take benefits out of this thriving community. Although opportunities are plenty, competition is stiff and cut-throat, and therefore, it is not that easy to become a freelance bartender. There are a few considerations that should be taken into account before actually venturing into this field as a freelancer.

Here are four points you must take note of to become a successful freelance bartender:

1. Job qualifications needed to become a freelance bartender

Bartending is often imagined as a stylish and fun job, but it is more than just that and requires certain qualifications to be considered for the purpose of hiring. While the requirement of legal age to serve alcohol is the first and foremost requirement, there are a couple of other job requirements which must be known. Read below to know more on this issue:

  • The minimum educational qualification is the completion of 10+2 from a recognized school in India. However, due to the rising competition, employers have started demanding fulfillment of higher education requirements for the purpose of applying.
  • There are a number of courses in bartending and related areas which are offered by a fair number of institutes in the country and abroad. The Indian Institute of Bartending is an established institution which offers a variety of courses such as Diplomas, Certificate courses, and whatnot. Some examples of courses offered are: Diploma courses in the fields of Bar Management, Hotel Management and Catering Science, which usually last for a year; Craftsmanship course in Bartending, which lasts for six months and covers all major topics on bartending; Certification course in Wines and Spirits, which covers topics on Wines, Cocktails and Liquors and bar tricks and helps in the making of an amazing beverage seller; Certificate course in Bar flair, which focuses on matters relating to exhibition flair, partnership flair, basic flair, and work flair.
  • While people generally opt for certificate courses, there are Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in Bar Management, which last for three years and two years respectively.
  • Other colleges providing bartending courses include Flaimania Bartending Academy, Tulleeho Wine Academy, Institute of Bar Operations and Management, Boston Bar Academy, Chennai Institute of Bartending, etc.
  • Formal education in bartending will not be enough to convince employers to hire you. Experience is equally important and material in the selection process. In order to attain experience, you will have to either undertake training or work part-time or full-time in a bar. The more you work, the better you become and the more experience you have for the purpose of freelancing.

2. Skills needed to become a freelance bartender

Many people might think of bartending as an unlikely profession, with the involvement of no real skills, but this is not true. There are so many skills involved in the making of a bartender, and if you are serious about bartending, then take serious note of these.

  • Command on the basics: Bartenders are required to keep a robust grasp on bar basics, which include standard recipes, garnishes, terminology, etc. Similarly, every bar establishment usually has its own customized selection of cocktails for sale, and you are required to keep yourself acquainted with them.
  • Guest Awareness: It is an ethical duty of a bartender to keep a track on the drinks served to a particular customer. This skill is especially important to avoid high intoxication of bar guests. You should be able to recognize signs such as floundering gait, fumbling speech and dilated pupils and immediately stop serving such customers. You may be held accountable for any accident which may occur due to over-serving of alcohol to customers. Thus, work on your observational skills to flourish in this career.
  • Personality: A bartender’s personality is also a key skill which plays a great role in the determination of your applications. Bartending is essentially an interactive job in which you are invariably on stage, displaying tricks and chit-chatting with guests. You will have to undertake a lot of activities in conjunction, but your personality will usually play a dominating role.
  • Physique: A bartender must appear physically attractive and healthy. Attractive, because of the setting and healthy, because of the various necessities of the job such as long periods of standing, multitasking etc which requires more than just physical beauty.

3. Work opportunities for freelance bartenders

Bartenders usually work in restaurants and clubs, which have become increasingly smitten by the idea of having bars around— after all alcohol is not just about amusement. Quite some time ago, bartenders were mostly employed by big restaurants and clubs, but nowadays, even small-scale restaurants and dance clubs recruit bartenders and pay them handsomely. In fact, people invite bartenders to provide their services to parties and family functions. So, there are a lot of work opportunities available to freelance bartenders.

To keep a track on the job opportunities, there are a number of freelance websites which give every minute updates to their account holders. These websites are linkedin.com, letsintern.com, worknhire.com, etc. These websites require uploading of a portfolio of skills and submission of applications. Usually, the application is accompanied by a proposal, which states the reasons why the applicant is best for the job.

4. Pay scale of a freelance bartender

The pay scale depends on the qualifications and experience of the bartender, the status of the restaurant and what not. On an average, a rookie freelance bartender earns around Rs.10,000 per month, but if you include tips, the amount may go up to Rs. 20,000. Experienced bartenders are known to earn as much as Rs. 80,000 per month.

As far as tips are concerned, bartenders get about Rs. 5000 per month on an average basis; however, in abroad, they earn as much as Rs. 15,000 per month.