What are hard skills? These skills involve what you are physically doing behind the bar. Most everything in a bartender’s job description involves the “Hard Skills.”

Bartender Hard Skills Are Obtained Through Training and Experience

Being in decent physical shape. Knowing cocktail recipes. Pouring liquor, beer, and wine. Setting up the bar, knowing garnishes and glassware, memorizing cocktails, and a whole lot more. These are the Bartender Hard Skills.

This section on Hard Skills is what almost ALL Bartending Courses focus on – whether you’re taking a course online or attending classes in person. It’s one of the longest sections in the course.

Q: Will Knowing the Bartender Hard Skills help me get the job?

A: Yes. The bar manager will be looking at what kind of shape you’re in. Perception is everything. And, of course, you will be asked some general questions about bartending. Many interview questions come from this section: Drink recipes, washing glasses, pouring techniques, setting up the bar, etc.

Q: Will there be a question about my physical shape in the interview?

A: No, but you might be asked something like “What are your hobbies?” or “What do you like to do in your time off?” Replying with some sort of answer that implies physical activity may be an advantage. I go into much more detail on this subject in the Job Preparation and Job Interview sections.

Side Note: Interviewers are restricted in what they can ask about your physical appearance. However, you can bet they’re taking a close look at how you dress – and if you’re neat and clean.

Rookie Mistakes During the Bartender Interview

Generally, being unprepared. Remember that interviewers has your resume sitting right in front of them. They know that you have no bartending experience, so they’re not going to ask you a lot of really tough questions. They will, however, ask some very basic questions.

Cocktail Bar Where Bartender Hard Skills Thrive

Let’s talk hard skills here. Soft skills are attributions like communication, problem solving skills, and personality. We’ll get into that in the next section – Section 4.

Hard Skills also include memorizing cocktails and types of alcohol. Knowing a bit about beer and wine. Pretty much everything a bartender will be doing during his or her shift other than interacting with customers, fellow employees, and the boss! Those are the “Soft Skills.”

There’s no reason to feel overwhelmed here. Just take one lesson at a time. Really, it’s just a lot of common sense here, and it won’t take you long at all to understand the basics. I don’t dwell on very simple, mundane things here.

I’d also like to point out that “Hard Skills” are not in this section only. Hard Skills are sprinkled all over the course here. Remember that Hard Skills include anything that you’re physically doing.

Physical Attributes All Bartenders Must Have

Just some basic stuff, below, and self-explanatory.

  • Great/Decent physical shape
  • Look presentable – More on this in Section 15 – Job Preparation
  • Manual Dexterity/Hand-eye coordination
  • You have to be able to move!
  • Stamina
  • Using a Knife – Take it Seriously!
  • Safely Handling Equipment
  • Being able to lift a reasonable amount of weight. (Cases of liquor or beer, kegs)
  • Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be on your feet for hours at a time
  • Get Plenty of Sleep
  • Avoid smoking, drinking, using drugs

Specific Bartender Hard Skills

A quick list of what Section 3, Bartender Hard Skills, is all about is below. We’ll tackle these items one by one in separate lessons. Good stuff coming up!

  • Behind the Bar – Your Work Area
  • Setting Up/Tearing Down the Bar/Side Work
  • Bartender Tools
  • Bar Equipment
  • Glassware
  • Garnishes
  • Mixers: Juices, Soda, and More
  • Liquor/Soda/Wine Guns (Dispensers)
  • POS System
  • Cutting Fruit
  • Shaking/Stirring/Building/Muddling
  • Pouring Liquor Basics
  • Pouring Liquor Video and Practice

Do not confuse Hard Skills with Soft Skills. We’ll be discussing Soft Skills in an upcoming section. For a more in-depth analysis of these two skills, Indeed Career Guide will really hook you up.

Ready? Let’s get to work!

If you’re following along in the Basic Bartending Course:

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