Is bar work right for you?

Bar work can be a brilliant way to earn money in an environment where people are having a good time. You get to meet new people and learn about one of the important areas of the hospitality industry to boot.

Another appeal of this sort of work is that it's so varied. You might be working at a local pub, a plush hotel, a one-off event or a football stadium. There are a huge array of different places where drinks are served, after all. Once you have experience in one, you'll be much better placed to try another.

But what sort of attributes does it take to be a bar worker? You might think that because you've seen bar workers in action, you'd be good at the job, and you might well be right. Still, some people will be better suited to this sort of job than others.

Keep in mind, too, that you will need slightly different skills for different sorts of bar work. Working in a pub, for example, might not require some of the skills someone working in a high-end cocktail bar needs. Each time you apply for a job, you will be given a list of exact requirements – these are things you will need to convince your would-be employer you fit, or could fit.  

Here are just four of the many things that might help make you a good bar worker.

Not worried about keeping your evenings free

It's no secret that most of us head to bars after the working day is done. That means that bar workers are perhaps most valuable outside of the 9-5 office working day. If you want to work in a bar, it's important that you don't mind working evenings and, in some cases, late into the night. Even when the bar closes, you may be required to help clear up, meaning you'll potentially be out very late.

Working hours that aren't the 'normal' 9-5 is something many hospitality workers have to get used to, however. And hospitality work has many perks that help make up for this!  

Know your subject

It certainly won't harm your chances of getting bar work if you can show you know about your subject. If you are aware of things like the sorts of features people look for in a real ale, the different types of wine that are available and how to mix a good gin and tonic, this could stand you in good stead for securing a bar staff position, depending on where you want to work. Of course, you'll be given knowledge and skills on-the-job too, but a background interest may be a bonus.

And, of course, you don't need to drink yourself to work in a bar – knowledge and experience aren't necessarily one and the same, and no employer wants to be given the impression that you drink more than is sensible!


Most bars are calm and friendly places – but every so often bar staff sometimes have to be able to show a certain level of assertiveness when dealing with someone who has perhaps had one too many.

More generally, showing that you are friendly, genuinely enjoying saying hello to many different people and being an outgoing person are also likely to go down well in a bar worker.


Being efficient is important in bar work. This is especially the case when you're working in, say, a busy city centre venue over a weekend evening. You're going to need to find out what someone's order is, get drinks to them fast and process payment as efficiently as possible, before moving onto the next customer at what could well be a crowded bar.