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Barman vs Bartender: Is There Even a Difference and What Does It Take to Be One?

To be honest, there’s no difference between the terms “barman” and “bartender”. They mean exactly the same thing.



But, to succeed in a bartending career, it takes a certain skill set. From having a sociable personality to staying calm under pressure, here's what you'll need.



Having Good Social Skills Helps Because You’re Customer Facing


Generally, good social skills are needed as the very nature of the job is customer focused. That’s why a great bartender will have a charismatic and sociable personality - it helps them to connect with customers.


Although bartenders aren’t the only impression of an establishment guests will get, customer service still plays a significant role. In certain situations, it can even be the difference between a customer returning to the bar or not.


Understand the Terminology so You Can Make Drink Orders with Ease


Having a basic understanding of the drinks terminology that customers and other bartenders on your team use is important. Besides knowing cocktail recipes, here are some of the most common phrases and what they mean:


  • On the rocks - Simply means a drink with ice.
  • Chaser - In bar terms, this means anything consumed quickly after a shot of alcohol.
  • Neat or Straight - If somebody asks for a drink neat or straight, it means without ice. This is usually used in conjunction with whiskey.
  • Mixer - Any non-alcoholic drink that accompanies a spirit is called a mixer. E.g. vodka and tonic.


These terms are easy to pick up and once you get the hang of them, you’ll be serving customers more quickly.


Excellent Money Handling Knowledge for Quick Transactions


When the bar starts filling up and eager customers are waiting to be served, they’ll rely on you to take their order quickly. They’ll also expect their change in the same manner.


Having good money handling skills will reduce the likelihood of customers becoming frustrated because they’ve, for example, been short-changed. This will also allow you to take orders more efficiently.


Plus, knowing how to use the card machine is advantageous in today’s world where many individuals use contactless payment.


The Ability to Stay Calm and Focused


Whether it’s a hectic bar with impatient customers waving cash at you to take their order or dealing with a complaint, you need to be sure you’re calm and able to manage the situation professionally.


Bartending is a profession that has a unique customer base and no two shifts are the same. Always be prepared for a large group or an unusual order - that’s what makes bartending so fun and rewarding. You never quite know what to expect on your shift.


Remain Safe and Comfortable During Your Shift


You might not think so, but bartending is an extremely physical job. You have lots of responsibilities, from shaking cocktail mixers above your head to being on your feet all night. It can be exhausting working long shifts of ten hours or more.


There are small adjustments you can make so your bartending responsibilities are made easier, such as utilising your breaks and wearing comfortable shoes made especially for bartenders. You never know when you might spill a drink so having water and slip-resistant shoes can prevent injury and an unpleasant shift.


It takes more than a friendly personality to be a great bar worker. Having the right footwear can set you above the rest.


Now that you know the terms “barman” and “bartender” are interchangeable and what it takes to be one, you can learn how to be the best bar worker possible.


Learn How to Have a Successful Bar Career in 5 Easy Steps


Bartending is a rewarding job but we know it’s not easy to work long shifts and anti-social hours. It’s a physically demanding job - you have to repeat the same motions over and over again, moving quickly in a fast paced environment and you’re on your feet throughout.


From dealing with a wide range of customers to working effectively within a team, download our guide on the five steps to bartender success to ensure progression in your bartending role by simply clicking the link below.


Tags: Bartender
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