Tips for rookies: Never assume you’ve ‘made it.


Maybe you’re just starting out or perhaps you’ve been in the game for a while; whatever your position, it never hurts to seek a little advice from those who’ve been performing at the peak of the industry. We spoke to the bartenders and operators who are at the top of their game to find out what tips they had for bartenders just starting out, and the one thing that bartenders do that drives them nuts.


Phil Bayly

Tequila legend, Sydney

3 tips for rookies


1. Understand the job completely before you move on to bartending, then you can instruct others what needs to be done, it will save you a lot of headaches later down the track.

2. Acquire a sense of urgency about everything that needs to be done. If you want to take a break, do it once everything is topped up and cleaned up, then you can do it if you are allowed.

3. And lastly, as one of the great Pacifico bar managers (Natalie Ng) once said: “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean!”

On service

Treat people as you would want to be treated. Have respect for everyone and be humble. If you make a mistake, admit it and fix it. Put things back when you are finished with them and leave it in the same condition it was in when you found it (or clean).

What do you wish bartenders wouldn’t do?

Have too much attitude!


Adi Ruiz

Co-owner Bulletin Place, Sydney

3 tips for rookies

1.  Always keep learning.

2. Never assume you’ve “made it”.

3. Always question received wisdom, and seek alternative ideas and methods.

On service

Be humble, be kind, and have thick skin. A table drinking rubbish all night is still great for business!

What do you wish bartenders wouldn’t do?

Leave their stations, bartops and back-bars dirty and or cluttered. Drives me nuts!


James Connolly

Bar Manager, Enriques, Perth

3 tips for rookies

1. The best barbacks generally make good bar tenders, so be prepared to do the hard yards.

2. Learning doesn’t finish when you clock off, that’s when it starts. Researching all the things you didn’t know the answers to for customers, watching how other bartenders make drinks at their bars, reading books etc.

3. Remember its supposed to be fun… it’s not brain surgery, it’s about ensuring your guests have a great time and return to your venue.

On service 

Every customer is different, some want to be called sir or ma’am, some don’t care about your new joke, some just want to be left alone, some want to learn; it’s all about reading people and their needs and wants.

What do you wish bartenders wouldn’t do?

We’ve all done it… making drinks you want to make and not what the customer wants.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.