This is a very short and to the point lesson. Give it a quick read and re-visit once you land your first bartending job.

As I mentioned in the previous lesson, here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts to follow during your first 30 days on your new bartending job:


Don’t drink on the job. Even if you’re in a state where it’s legal and House Policy says it’s OK every now and then. Please – get your bearings first! Figure out what’s going on, and then make an informed decision.

Don’t be late for work. I think this goes without saying.

Don’t call in sick. I know – if you’re really sick you should probably take the day off. If you’re hung-over or have something minor – get your butt into work!

Don’t swap shifts without management approval. Managers hate that. Sure, they’re grateful that the shift is covered – but being left out of the loop is a big no-no during your first 30 days on the job. Down the road, issues like this will change.

Don’t give out free drinks. Yep. What is the house policy? You are not yet familiar with the regular customers. Management is looking closely at this – and don’t get conned!

Don’t be so serious! Relax, and go with the flow. I know that it’s a new job and you might be a bit nervous, but don’t forget that you are there for the customers.

Don’t lose your cool! Outbursts will get you nowhere. Initially, it’s a good thing to call the manager or a more experienced bartender to help you with those sticky situations.

Don’t try to impress! Yes, you’ll impress your boss with your work ethic and attention to detail, but don’t start spouting off about how you know 1000’s of drink recipes.

Don’t flip bottles! Nope. Stay away from that. if you’re not working in a “flair” type bar, you have no business doing this anyway.

Don’t try to be the fastest bartender in the world. Calm down, get things right. Move quickly, but don’t be running around with your head cut off.

Don’t complain about tips. Don’t talk about tips. Period. Of course, you do need to know about tip pools (if the bar has them), but otherwise – mums the word.

Don’t complain about fellow employees. Another thing that will get you nowhere. Keep your opinions to yourself. You’re so new at this bartending thing that you’re really not in a position to be evaluating anyone.

Don’t complain about your boss. This isn’t going to get you anywhere. Again, your first 30 days should be spent trying to fit into the system. Toe the line, go with the flow, and you’ll be just fine.

Don’t forget to make eye contact. With everyone!

Don’t drink at your bar. I’m talking about after your shift here. Or your day off. It’s just good policy to refrain from drinking at any time in your bar during your first 30 days on the job. Maybe even longer. You can make adjustments down the road.


Do ask a lot of questions. Yes, a lot of questions – but don’t be a pest. Sometimes it’s good to keep a running list of some questions and ask your trainer/manager at the end of your shift.

Do make good first Impressions. You will not meet all employees, customers, and bosses your very first few days or weeks. Stay in that “first impression” mode for your first 30 days.

Do follow EXACT liquor measurements. 1 1/2 ounces does not mean 2 ounces!

Do make a list of all products. Liquors, beers, wines, specialty drinks. Know them all!

Do not be afraid to clarify anything you are unsure of. And – make sure you’re asking the right person! Your fellow bartenders, and other employees, will be of great help on most things – but sometimes they get it wrong.

Do know the chain of command (the Hierarchy). Who’s your immediate boss(s)? Who is their boss? Who is the owner? Who is the head cook/chef? Who is the lead food server? Who is the controller/accountant?

Do check ID’s. ID’s, ID’s, ID’s!

Do get to know your customers. Who are the regulars? Are there any “problem” drunks? Are the house policies on pouring liquor loose enough to accommodate those really good regulars?

Watch your liquor pouring habits. Do not stray from house policy. People are watching you!

Speak positively about the company. You MUST be loyal to the company and/or the bar owner. Refrain from all negativity. Stay away from negative employees. Don’t be part of the problem – offer solutions.

Find out what your manager expects of you. Expectations. How fast do they want you to progress? Are there benchmarks? How long should it take to get through that training period? Find out what management’s expectations are – and beat them.

Find out how your manager is evaluated. What is management’s priorities? What is their bonus tied to? If you can figure out what the managers priorities are – you will increase your chances of having a great relationship.

Do write down all waste and spills. Management is looking to see that you follow house policy – and take liquor cost seriously.

Do continue looking for that dream bartending job. You may not think that this is wise, but as I have mentioned before in the course – you never know when someone will call you in for an interview. And, your first job here could possibly be a nightmare situation with bad management, customers, and employees. Not your cup of tea!

Do remember that you’re always being watched. Cameras. Your boss. Fellow employees and customers. You never know who’s sitting at your bar!

That’s it. Be ever diligent!

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

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Previous Lesson: You First 30- Days as a Bartender

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