Ok. So you have read through STEP 1 on becoming a bartender and now you are officially a bartender. You have followed these first instructions and you’re bartending at a restaurant. Very nice.
(If you haven’t read these first steps – do so here: STEP 1)
You are making better money now and starting to enjoy bartending. However, you want to make more money. This is good; money frees up your life for better and greater opportunities. So how do you make more money? The answer is: At a nightclub.
Nightclub bartenders make more money for a variety of reasons. At nightclubs, drink prices are higher than restaurants (therefore you get gratuity percentage of a higher check), people are having more fun (so they tip more), and at a club, there is much more volume. What do I mean by volume? I have had nights where I sell $7,000 or $8,000 of drinks (what’s 18% gratuity of $8,000? You do the math). You will never sell this much at a restaurant bartending job.
Nightclub jobs are hard to come by, especially for guys. So here is how I did it. I started practicing bartending mechanics and speed while I was still bartending at a restaurant.
So, for you, while you work at the restaurant, start learning how to pour like a nightclub bartender (see video below). Learn the recipes for the most common nightclub drinks in your area (these drinks will vary depending on your location). Finally, and this one is somewhat superficial, keep yourself in presentable shape for a nightclub bartending job. I know it’s pretentious, but this is what the nightclub industry is about – do your best to be healthy, well-dressed, and professional.
The next task for me was to start hanging out at the club where I wanted to get a job. I became friends with one of the promoters there, a tall guy with slicked-back, black hair named Steve-o. After becoming friends with him, a few months later he told me that the club was hiring. He set up a meeting for me with the general manager (The GM). YES! I was very excited.
I arrived at the nightclub at 2 PM on a Wednesday for my meeting/interview. The first thing the manager had me do was jump behind the bar. He started ordering drinks from me. He closely watched me to see if I was making drinks correctly and if I was pouring the correct amount in. Note: It is VERY important not to over-pour on drinks. Nightclubs, as I mentioned before, are high-volume. If a club has a bartender who over-pours, that bartender will cost the club LOTS of money. A typical pour for a cocktail is 1.5 ounces. You should practice pouring this over and over-again at home. (Again, watch the video above to learn how to pour).
After we finished the drink orders part, we sat down and discussed “my fit” at this club. He asked me how I knew about the job opening. I replied that I was friends with Steve-O. The GM’s face lit up; he is friends with Steve-O as well. I WAS IN. I also talked about how many people I knew in the nightlife scene – I knew many partiers from spending my nights out. I mentioned this because managers want to know that you will draw your own clientele. I started the next night.
So I got the job. But getting a nightclub bartending job doesn’t mean you get to KEEP a nightclub bartending job however. I was far from done. Read on to learn how to keep your spot. (Step 3: Keeping the Job)
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