Any of you here ever bartended before?

Postgradwonderer's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,574

Not in high finance so the work hours are more laid back and left my old job a little over a week ago after getting an offer in NYC. It seems like back in my college days, bartender was the job to get but even now when I have been out of college, a handful of guys seem to be able to do that on top of their main job and not only make good money doing it but enjoy some social success from it too.

No point to do that if you are in IB since the pay is more than satisfactory but I could see this being a good added benefit for more of the average job that doesn't pay nearly as much, not just financially but also getting those interactions in that kind of a setting.

I wanted to know if anyone who has bartended before whether at a brewery, nightclub or any place has some experiences to share. Be willing to listen to how to try and do this myself while I am young and have the energy to handle a second weekend job.

From what I have found at the couple bars I have talked to about doing this with, they don't seem to hire you even part-time unless you were already bartending before and then found some more white collar work.

Comments (16)

Nov 30, 2018

stop fucking using the term "high finance"

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Nov 30, 2018

stop fucking using the term "high finance"



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Most Helpful
Nov 30, 2018

I used to waitress and bartend in another life, down at the South Street Seaport.

Then as now, I suspect the vast majority of bars are going to want someone seasoned, who'll know how to make that bar's most popular drinks. You may get told that you'll have to trail another bartender for a shift or two and they'll often tell you it's without pay, but they'll usually give you a % of the tips.

Depending on how trendy the place is, depending on its size/floors/private dining rooms and depending on whether or not they've got bus boys and additional staff to assist the bartenders, you might also wind up having to change out beer kegs, bring up buckets of ice, stock your own bar space, all of which invariably involves stair climbing and lots of lifting, so it can also be a considerable workout.

I regularly got shin splints on the Fridays and Saturdays that I waitressed and my arms would be noodles after carrying around multi-litre glass pitchers. Got to admit, it was the hardest job physically, but it was also a lot of fun for the most part.

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Nov 30, 2018

Thank you so much for answering this question, got a few more if you do not mind asking.

  1. Can it be done on top of having another job that is your typical office job? Not speaking of banker hours but literally the 40 hr workweek because right now I do not feel like it is a lot and the weekends are all free. I hear the best shifts (weekends) go to the seasoned people but ready to work my way up if need be.
  2. Any age limit to a lot of bars? In my current city all bartenders are early 20s and I feel like the closer you are to 30 the harder it gets.
  3. Any advice for bartending at a nightclub?
Dec 1, 2018

Always happy to help to help when/if I can. :)

  1. Totally depends on you and your availability. Yes, the better the tips are during a certain shift, typically Thu-Sat nights, the less likely they'll get offered up to a newie. But anything's possible, especially during pro and college sports seasons, when there are tons of day games. Location is a factor too, if the bar is near a concert hall or sports arena, you may very well have big tip nights early in the week.
  2. The only age limit is being at least 21, the legal drinking age. There are bartenders of all ages. Granted, some places may have staff that "mirrors" their preferred clientele, so yes, if you're frequenting places that cater to folks in their mid-20's to mid-30's, then you're probably more likely to see staff of a similar age. My step-dad bartended in his 70s after he shut down his firm and tended bar at a swanky Italian restaurant on Park Ave that had live cabaret music and the bulk of the clientele was probably over age 40.
  3. Can't really think of anything specific that would differ in nightclub bartending, beyond maybe the music/noise level [staff might have hand signals that they use to alert bus boys and managers to stuff like low stock/ice?] or maybe payment protocols [plastic vs cash maybe?]. Hopefully other WSOer's can chime in with additional thoughts and ideas.
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Dec 3, 2018

I worked as a bartender in college then for a year when I was in a back office role first year out of college. Even working 8-6, pretty easy to get a workout in and eat before starting at the bar at 8:30. Did it Wednesday and Thursday with a Saturday thrown in a once or twice a month. Covered all my living expenses and helped pay off student loans. If your schedule allows, I highly recommend it.

Dec 3, 2018

Dominatrix, huh?

Dec 3, 2018

I think now a days, restaurants in NYC pay $8/10 an hour for training before dropping you down to ~$5/hr for regular pay. If you can get them to do the training, you won't get tips, but you get more on a per hour basis.

But the position you might want to ask for is a bar back. It's basically the guy that does all the work except makin drinks. It's excellent for someone like you with no experience.

They'll have you move kegs, grab buckets of ice, buckets of secret drink mixes, restock glasses on shelves, wipe bar down, clean dry mats, sweep, etc. But you'll watch the drink making, you'll learn how to make each drink. There will be times when the bartender steps aside and you will get the chance to help out and do all of the bartender work.

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Dec 5, 2018

I am looking to start as this position on the side, if any decent place is flexibly with full time working hours and allowing someone to do it on weekend shifts and when they are not at work, I'd be happy to do it for a year before moving on to bartender. Looking like I will need some sort of side income once I move to NYC.

Not sure where you went to college but in my region, bartending jobs were determined by what frat you were in and how connected you were to that circle.

Dec 4, 2018

Over summers in college, I used to bartend at a hotel pool. It was easily the most fun I've ever had working (if you can call it that).

Very similar to what others are saying, it was not easy money by any means. The physical demand is moderate, and it can be stressful. You will inevitably have busy nights when your hair is on fire and you have to haul a keg (or copious bottles of liquor) up a flight of stairs from the cellar, but this is par for the course.

As stupid as it may sound, it is also pretty competitive to get a bartending position. You will need to take classes, get a bartender's license, or be experienced to enhance your application. Overall, I highly recommend doing it if it fits into your schedule.

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Dec 6, 2018

Tell me about the competitive part, in my neck of the woods, you are not even getting a look unless you were in a certain fraternity in college and are deep with the good ol boy crew. This is one of the reasons I cannot wait to leave my current city for NYC.

Jun 3, 2019