Top 10 ways to be a good female bartender
March 3, 2010, 4:52 pm
Filed under: alcohol | Tags: , , , , , , ,

As I have previously discussed being a bartender isn’t just about pouring the drinks. It’s a complex dance of flirting, strong will and oftentimes loose morals. You have to have the power and control to take over any situation that may arise at your bar. A weak personality will never survive in a good bar. Sure, weak personalities could survive in a convention hall bar where they serve beer and wine, but they will never survive a NYC club or Montana pub.

Leave it to the professionals. Bartending for seven years now, I have seen a lot, done a lot, heard way too much and experienced crap beyond belief. So it is time to share some trade secrets on how to be a good female bartender! Of course the main thing is to know your drinks and be quick and efficient, but everyone knows that, so here are the tips that not everyone knows:

  1. Be tougher than any bitch or bastard who enters your bar. You need to be able to throw someone out without the help of a bouncer. You need to be stern enough to scare the pants off any drunkard and smart enough to avoid being shot in the process. I have worked at bars where gunshots were fired outside, where knives were pulled inside… you have to be prepared for it all.
  2. You must be the biggest flirt without giving it all away. Can’t have that shit for free. You need to be able to lure the men without them following you home and make the woman feel flattered to be hit on by a woman without them thinking you want them. I have been followed home once… not a good time. I can’t tell you how many numbers, business cards and men willing to cheat on their wives that I’ve encountered. In my experience, however, don’t mess with the ones who are married… they tend to come with baggage.
  3. Know at least one bar trick to entertain your customers. At the bar in NYC that I worked at, I was able to draw the attention of the entire bar with my bar trick. My boss would bring in friends and demand that I show them the bar trick. I had customers bring their coworkers to see it… I was a crowd pleaser. The trick you ask? Well I can’t give away all my secrets, but it involves drinking a beer with no hands.
  4. Provide entertainment for the annoying ones who want to chat with you constantly. Mind games are the best. Lay out a straw puzzle in order to keep their mind occupied. The annoying ones are hard to shake and you’ll never make it as a bartender if you have to sit and talk to one person the entire time.
  5. Know how to make a bar towel into a penis. That is a great quality to have in a bartender. If you have a penis towel you can attract the females or use it as a weapon against the males. Threatening to dick slap someone can help you control the crazies.
  6. Handle your liquor. This one is EXTREMELY important. Your patrons want to drink with you; they want to buy you shots. So unless you live in a ridiculous state like Washington, where you can’t drink behind the bar, you best be able to handle those shots. I’m not talking about 3 or 4 shots. I’m talking about 9 or 10 over a 6 hour shift. One night I took 15 shots and was still able to count my till at the end of the night. Granted I can’t do that anymore, I max out around 8, but that is because I work at a lame bar now. If you can drink with your patrons, you will make a great bartender. I remember the shifts after I worked a 12-shot shift and I told the patrons that I wouldn’t be able to drink that night – I completely lost their respect. I learned quickly from that. You need to be able to function on a shitload of alcohol. If you can’t, then might I suggest becoming a shoe salesperson as opposed to a bartender.

    Martini at a NYC bar

  7. As a female bartender you have to know when to say no. It is never smart to sleep with your customers, bosses, bouncers or other bartenders. I have done all of the above and learn from my mistakes… not good. Everyone knows it isn’t smart to sleep with people you work with for obvious reasons so I’ll move on to the customers. Sleeping with your drunk customers can just prove to be difficult. You may lose their business, which will piss your boss off, they may fall in love with you, which will make it awkward for you, or since they are frequent bar goers you may wind up with a disease… and well… you just don’t want that. Also if a man offers you $10,000 to sleep with him – just say no. That is just never a good idea. I said no, my coworker did not. People haven’t seen her since then, apparently she moved to Denver.
  8. Be physically fit. I’m not saying that you have to be a body builder, but in the instance that you need to drag a 300lb Alabama construction worker out of the bar after he passes out in the girl’s bathroom, it’d be nice if you were strong enough to do so. Plus if you can’t change your own keg then you have no business being behind the bar.
  9. Have no judgment. You can’t judge people if you work in a bar. After all you work in A BAR! You flirt for money, so don’t judge the hooker who hangs on the business man or the chubby chick who takes advantage of the drunk hot guy. You are there for the money and they are there for the drinks.
  10. Be a good fake listener. Don’t actually listen to all of the tales of heartache, divorce, indiscretion, fantasy, lust, etc. You’ll go crazy. Listen enough to respond with basic answers but don’t listen enough that you’ll have to start drinking to get over their problems. If you fall into that trap, depression can ensue, which results in hitting up the late night bars for two gin martinis before catching the subway. It happens and it’s not pleasant. Patrons look at you as a cheaper version of a therapist, so be just that. Don’t be the full on therapist, you aren’t paid enough. Listen enough to get their money but not enough to send yourself into a drunken spiral.

Now not everyone can be a super rock star bartender such as myself… (*clearly modest) but to be a good female bartender these tricks of the trade should help you out!

– Alexis Patron


15 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I love your advice thank you I have also heard n seen it all. I’ve manage to stay married to the same guy my whole bartending carrier I am 43 now started at 30 here in vegas in a local gaming bar…gaming bartending is very diffrent to have to babysit the gamers young n old they will screw you if they can. I am going to checkout ur shot list. I wish I had a bar tricki will have to look into that. Dani

Comment by Dani

What I wanted to say about the diffrence between bartending in a local gaming bar in vegas
and your bar is that our customer are either in the bar to gambel ot oretend to gambel so that they get their drinks compted its how it works here we the bartenders make 10% of what the gamers cashes out regarless of how much it takes them to win what they cashout so a $1.25 royal pays $1000 10% is a $100 tip and that is a nice way to make a living however there are plenty of gamers that pretend or just play stupid when it comes to the customery tip. If they loose.then a tip for the service that you have provided is expected, customers expect. Good servicen we bartenders expect to be rewarded for it.
After 13 years tending bar 10 of them in a gaming bar I have had to not only attend to all kinds of personalities but baby sitting is required it is all whole new ball game with these kind of customers and the older ones are the ones that need the most baby sitting they like to use the fact that they are older to get one over you,but I have problem giving them a tab because they are playing one quater at a time you are require to play max for your drink to be compted. So on another note your bar trick you said requires no hands I am guessing its a bottle beer I would love to see that I know I would choke


Comment by Dani

Thank you so much for posting this. You have no idea how much I needed it.

Comment by Ashley

You’re welcome! Anytime!

Comment by shouldacalleditanight

I have written an article on how Bartending Schools Are A Joke, it can be found on my blog at Bartending Schools Are A Joke. Find this article and more at Bartending Secrets.

Comment by Paige Appleton

[…] past the bad. All have plenty of ugly.  We found the Female Bartender tips from the late blog Shoulda Called It A Night somewhat informative, but mostly just entertaining: 1. Be tougher than anyone who enters your bar. […]

Pingback by Her Shot: Being A Female Bartender | Drinking in America

Oh girl… thanks for the time you took to write all the experiences that can be spect from behind the bar.. You are a real warrior just like me, and having the balls to recognize the “dont’s” makes you evolutionate as a human being. I admire you Im planing to retire of dancing as an exotic dancer and actually 30 hour left to get my sertificate of bartender. I understand how money makes your life when you are the

Comment by Maya

I like ur site

Comment by Suzanne Stensrud

how do i like u on FB?

Comment by Suzanne Stensrud

This is some awesome inspiration and I’m glad I found it, even if it’s a little late. Great to know if I’m on the right track or not. Question – at my bar many patrons get offended when I don’t touch them. This could be a hug, a kiss on the cheek, or a handshake (not the normal kind – they’ll hold onto your hand for a while without letting go!) and I’ve tried flirting my way out of it, joking it off, the ol’ “my hands are wet”, offering a fist bump or high five in return, whatever. It drives me nuts because I don’t like customers touching me. Do I just suck it up for the money, or is there something I’m missing?

Comment by Diana

This is so true! I’ve done the dive bar and the club scene and these apply to each one! You go girl!

Comment by Paris1369

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a site or I have something to add to the conversation.
Usually it is triggered by the sincerness communicated
in the post I read. And after this post Top 10 ways to be a good female bartender
|. I was actually excited enough to post a commenta response 🙂 I
actually do have a few questions for you if it’s okay. Is it simply me or
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Comment by web page

Hello! I apologize for the delayed response. We really appreciate your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed our post!

Comment by shouldacalleditanight

Aware this is an old post, but I have my first shift in a nightclub bar tomorrow and realised I should probably hit up Google for a few hints and tips – and your blog was great! Thanks very much 🙂

Comment by imogenbell

Thank you! How was your first shift in a nightclub?!

Comment by shouldacalleditanight

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