One of the many tools you’ll find behind most commercial and home bars is the bar blade, and you’ll be glad to know that it’s one of the easiest and simplest bar tools to use.
That said, without the correct knowledge of how to use a bar blade, new bartenders may struggle to see the benefits and find themselves resorting to other methods to open bottles.
That’s why in this guide, we’re going to walk you through exactly how to use a bar blade the right way to speed up the bottle opening process and ensure you’re serving customers as swiftly as possible.
This simple but effective tool can save bartenders LOTS of time when it comes to opening bottles, so it’s one that all bartenders should master and be competent in using.
So let’s get to it…
What Are Bar Blades Used For?
Bar blades (also known as speed blades) are bar tools that are designed and used for quickly popping off bottle caps to serve guests quickly.
They’re highly effective tools that are simple in design. Often a single strip of metal (usually made from stainless steel) with a hole at each end.
One hole is used for the bartender’s hand and the other is used to hook onto bottle caps to quickly pop them off.
Bar blades are durable tools that can be used for many years without needing a replacement, and they’re used all over the world in almost every bar and restaurant.
How To Hold A Bar Blade
Before you begin using the bar blade to open bottles, you’ll need to know how to hold it correctly so you can open bottles quickly and easily without injuring yourself.
In my experience, the best way to hold a bar blade is with an overhand grip in your dominant hand, with your thumb over the top of the tool and directing its movement.
You want to have your four fingers around the back of the bar blade and your thumb at the front for grip, but this depends on which method of using the bar blade you prefer.
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How To Use A Bar Blade Correctly
Whilst this bar tool is generally easy to use, there are a couple of different techniques that bartenders use depending on how they hold the tool and their preference.
I won’t insult you with the basic function of how to use a bar blade and instead will provide you with some techniques that professional bartenders like to use to impress their guests.
The pop method of using a bar blade is one of the most impressive.
It involves holding the bottle firmly with one hand whilst your other is wielding the bar blade, then hitting the bottle with the bottle opener end of the bar blade and the bottle top will ‘pop off’.
If done correctly, it’ll make a satisfying pop noise which can impress guests, especially if opening multiple bottles in quick succession.
You’ll often see bartenders holding 5 or 6 bottles by locking them to their chest with their forearm, then using the pop method to rapidly open bottles.
It’s quite the spectacle and is used in busy nightclubs and bars around the world.
The reverse pop method of opening a bottle with a bar blade is almost identical to the pop method mentioned above, only using the other side of the bottle.
It’s more difficult to master and will take some getting used to, but again it’s a great way to impress customers if you want to brush up on your bar blade skills.
The traditional method for opening bottles is the normal/boring way of doing it.
It’s not quite as glamorous as the methods mentioned above, but it gets the job done and is used in more high-end bars and restaurants by professionals.
Simply grab the bar blade using your dominant hand with an overhand grip, and whilst holding the bottle still with your other hand, place the blade over the bottle cap and move your wrist upwards to remove the cap.
Where this method does get interesting is when bartenders hold multiple bottles in one hand and then use this method to rapidly open multiple bottles.
It’s not quite as fancy as the pop or reverse pop, but it gets the job done.
The flick method is another advanced bar blade technique, and it’s done by holding the blade with your middle and index finger at the back whilst gripping the bar blade at the front with your thumb.
In one smooth motion, attack the bar blade to the bottle cap and flick your wrist upwards, removing the bottle cap in the blink of an eye.
The bar blade should only touch the bottle for less than a second, but to be successful it should remove the bottle cap with it.
It’s a tricky one to master, but it’s great for showing off behind the bar.
What Is The Circle On A Bar Blade For?
The circle at one side of a bar blade is used so that the bartender can easily pull bottles out of the cooler by sliding the circle over bottles and hooking them out without getting their hands wet.
However, this is rarely what bartenders actually use this circle for, and most use it to place their index finger inside and spin the bar blade around when doing tricks.
Spinning the bar blade round by the circle can look cool, especially when opening bottles, but the circle can also be used to hook the bar blade onto the side of a bartender’s jeans.
This means the bartender can always have a means to open bottles on them, even if they are collecting glasses or not behind the bar.
Are Bar Blades Necessary?
Bartenders that are working behind commercial bars will find the bar blade a very necessary bar tool that they use almost every time they are behind the bar.
Some bars may have bottle openers attached to wooden frames sitting behind the bar, so there may be no need for a bar blade in this case.
That said, it’s always wise for all bartenders to carry a bar blade whilst working, they’re small, lightweight, and easy to fit into your back pocket, making them handy for popping bottles whenever needed.
I almost always carry a bar blade in the back pocket of my jeans when working as it allows me to quickly reach for it when a customer orders bottles.
This is quicker than relying on any fixed structures behind the bar to open bottles, as there may be a queue to use it or it could be at the other end of the bar.
Some bartenders may use lighters, keys, or even their teeth to open bottles! But this is not advised and is certainly not professional, so please don’t do this.
The Different Types Of Bar Blades
All metal bar blade
The all-metal bar blade is the most commonly found option in most commercial and home bar setups.
It has one side used for hooking bottles from a cooler and one used for opening bottles.
The metal makes this bar blade easy to clean and sanitize.
Plastic-handled bar blade
The plastic-handled bar blade is also a commonly found bar blade in lots of bars.
The plastic handle is great for grip and has a different style from the metal bar blade.
They come in many colors which allow the bartender to choose an aesthetic that they prefer.
V bar blade
Similar to the above options, the V bar blade has a ‘V-shaped’ hole that has a different function.
Whilst one side of the bar blade is used for opening bottles, the V-shaped side is used for removing tightly jammed pourers from bottles.
Bartenders can quickly remove pourers from bottles and replace an empty bottle with this bar blade.
This prevents them from embarrassment when trying to remove the jammed pourer.
I’ve been there many times and it’s not fun.
Bar blades are very important bar tools that are used to quickly remove bottle caps from bottles, allowing the bartender to serve customers swiftly and easily.
They are cheap, easy-to-use tools that can save the bartender a lot of time, which is precious when working behind a busy bar.
Most bartenders can become competent with all types of bar blades in a matter of minutes thanks to their simple design and self-explanatory use.
However, perfecting bar blade techniques is not so easy, and this is how bartenders manage to dazzle their guests by using methods to open bottles that the customer has never seen before.
Hopefully, this guide has taught you how to use a bar blade and you’re now confident in using this tool.
As always, practice makes perfect with bar tools, so keep practicing the techniques set out above and I have faith that you’ll master the bar blade in no time.
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