Is Bartending Easy? (The Honest Truth!)

is bartending easy
Joe | Last Updated: November 24, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

Bartending is a great industry to get into for those over the age of 18 that are looking to earn extra cash on the side whilst studying, as a side hustle/weekend job, or even a full-time gig.

There are bars in every corner of the world which means there’s an abundance of jobs to be had for those with the right skillset looking to get into bartending.

It’s an easy enough job to get into with on-the-job training usually lasting 1-2 weeks before you’re ready to man the bar and serve drinks to customers.

Whilst this can be daunting at first, once you’ve pulled your first few pints and mixed a few cocktails it becomes like clockwork and a job that is both rewarding and lucrative.

Today, we’re going to answer a question that often comes up when discussing bar work. “Is bartending easy?”

YES, bartending is easy. Greeting customers, serving drinks, learning the menu, and basic cleaning are all part of a bartender’s role. It’s not rocket science. That said, it can be stressful and hard work at times so don’t expect smooth sailing all of the time.

Let’s take a closer look…

Is Bartending Actually Easy?

The role of a bartender is both simple and easy. As a bartender, you’ll be expected to serve drinks to paying customers, clean up at the end of your shift and wash glasses.

The ease of the role will largely depend on the type of bar you work in, with busy city bars being more stressful on weekends and small-town bars being more manageable.

Nevertheless, the role is the same. You’ll need to think on your feet as a bartender and be able to navigate your way through social situations well, especially when dealing with drunk customers.

You’ll also need to stay on your feet which can be physically demanding. Often bartending shifts are long and run well into the early hours of the morning with very few breaks.

Standing up for 10 – 12 hours at a time can take its toll and may leave you with sore legs in the morning.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to be a bartender in a bar. Golf clubs, hotels, and airports all have bars that can offer a more relaxed working environment if this is more suited for you.

Whilst the role is the same, the environment in which you work plays a HUGE part in how stressful and difficult being a bartender is for you.

Nevertheless, so long as you’re a good communicator, hard-working, and have a can-do attitude there is no reason you will not succeed as a bartender.

How Stressful Is Bartending?

Whilst bartending is an easy job, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. It can be VERY stressful at times, but it’s how you manage this stress that determines how good you’ll be at bartending.

Trying to remember a large cocktail order whilst being shouted at by angry customers who’ve been waiting in line for a couple of minutes can get tricky, which is where good communication skills come in handy.

You’ll need to have your finger on the pulse when dealing with rowdy customers and be able to navigate people well by de-escalating situations and offering reassurance.

Remembering cocktail recipes is undoubtedly one of the more stressful aspects of bartending. With over 77 IBA-recognized cocktails it can be difficult to remember the more obscure recipes.

is bartending easy
Image: Marc Thiele via Flickr

Granted, you’ll have a cocktail menu that you can use for serving but when customers order multiple cocktails at a time and you haven’t yet memorized them this can be stressful, especially when the bar is busy.

The good news is that there are only around 10 – 15 cocktails that are most popular in most bars. Pornstair Martinis, Margarita, Cosmopolitan, Daquiri, etc… lock these recipes down and you’re off to a flying start.

Other stressful parts of bartending can be working under pressure, cleaning duties, bar politics, and dealing with rowdy customers, but it’s all part of the job.

With this in mind, the skills you learn whilst bartending are incredibly valuable and transfer over into many different careers.

My social skills developed A LOT over the years of bartending and I quickly become much more confident when dealing with people, so don’t let the stresses of bartending put you off.

It’s mostly weekends specifically Saturday nights which are stressful but once that night is over then it’s smooth sailing until next week!

Is Bartending A Hard Skill?

Bartending is most definitely a skill that can be trained through repetition. The more times you work the bar and serve customers, the better you’ll be at it. Simple.

It’s not a hard skill but it does require hours to be put in, drinks to be served and confidence to be developed. There aren’t many successful bartenders out there that are bad communicators.

Whilst it can be difficult at first to learn recipes and menus, over time it becomes incredibly easy and you’ll notice yourself becoming better and better.

Cocktails become second nature and after a month or so you’ll find that you don’t even need to look at the cocktail recipe sheet for prompts.

This is where your bartending skills increase drastically. You are able to focus more on connecting with customers and having valuable conversations rather than the ingredients of drinks.

At this stage, bartending becomes INCREDIBLY fun. After a couple of months, you no longer need any prompts for cocktails and you’re making much more in tips than you were at the start.

Whilst even the most skilled bartenders feel the pressure of a busy Saturday night, it becomes much more enjoyable and the fast pace is no longer daunting.

Time flies and you’re speaking with new people, networking, becoming more and more confident with your bartending skills every day, and crushing it as a bartender.

👉 The BEST online bartending course: ABarAbove Mixology Masterclass

Is Bartending Harder Than Serving?

In my experience, bartending is definitely harder than serving. It’s a more demanding role with added pressures from being customer-facing.

Being a bartender requires you to get your hands dirty. You’re on the front line of the bar and are dealing with whatever is thrown at you (sometimes literally!)

Serving on the other hand comes with its own challenges such as less respect from customers and having to deal with customers that do not like their meal/drink.

is bartending easy
Photo by Pixabay:

However, bartending is much more lucrative. The tips you’ll make as a bartender can significantly ramp up your take-home pay, making the role much more rewarding for skilled bartenders.

Serving is more laid back and there’s often not a whole lot to do during the day depending on the restaurant or bar you’re serving in of course.

It all depends on your personality type as to which you’ll prefer. If you are more of a people person then it’s likely you’ll enjoy bartending more, but if your looking for an easier and less stressful job then serving may be the right way to go.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this post and now have a clear answer to “is bartending easy” and have learned something new about this wonderful industry.

Yes, bartending is easy but that doesn’t mean that it’s always a breeze. Bartending can be very stressful at times and comes with a range of challenges.

Remembering cocktail recipes, high pressure, and dealing with angry customers are all some of the problems you will undoubtedly face as a bartender, but don’t let that put you off.

This is a job that ANYONE over the age of 18 can have a shot at as it requires very little training and can be learned very quickly by on-the-job training.

For those looking to be bartenders in a more upmarket bar, attending bartending school may be a better option for you where you’ll learn much more than the basics of bartending.

The role of a bartender isn’t difficult, it just requires that you are capable of hard work when it’s needed and have a positive, can-do attitude.

Bartenders undoubtedly face stressful times every week, but the actual role itself is very easy and simply requires basic duties such as serving customers, making drinks, and cleaning duties.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and go ahead and apply for that bartending role you are thinking about!

Catch you in the next one.

Get Certified🍸

Take your mixology game to the next level! With this advanced mixology course, you’ll learn not just to follow recipes, but to create them.

HD Videos

Cheat Sheets

Earn Your Certificate