One of the most important decisions a Bartenderone student faces after graduation is what type of venue to apply to. One of the first questions we ask all of our students at the beginning of the Masterclass is “what type of venue do you want to work at?”. On average our students are in their mid 20’s and their instinctive answer is they want to work at a nightclub. The glaring appeal of working at a nightclub is that it will be little hours, little work, and lots of tips! In some cases this may be but it is unlikely that you will immediately fall “ass backwards” into a lucrative club bartending job! That being said, there are many profitable and sought after clubbartending positions in the industry, you just got to find them! I have worked in clubs for over 5 years and very much enjoy my time working at them, but it is important to expand your mind and your options when choosing a type of venue to work at.
One of the most humbling and beneficial experiences I have had as a bartenderwas my time working at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. At the time I had been actively bartending for three years, and heading out to Alberta, was very confident with my skill set behind the bar. I quickly learned that my “nightclub only” experience had only prepared me for a small fraction of what the hospitality industry had to offer. I was hired as a bartender at a lounge with a 500 person capacity, not intimidating at first glance, but very deceiving as I soon found out! As the junior bartender on staff I was put on service bar to learn the ins and outs of the menu and the Fairmont style service. The menu consisted of 35 cocktails and martinis unique to the hotel so it was like starting from scratch with regards to recipe knowledge. That coupled with the fact that the lounge did not stagger reservations meant that at any given time I could have 500 people walk into the lounge at the same time……translation 500 drinks at once! And not just drinks, labour intensive cocktails and martinis! Being thrust into this type of bartending setting forced me to really hone the speed, recipe execution, and techniques that I had been introduced to during my time in the Bartenderone Masterclass and Finishing School. Stepping out of my nightclub “comfort zone” and into a challenging hotel venue setting allowed me to become a much more well rounded bartender. As a result new doors in the industry were opened for me and I have never looked back. I currently work as a bartender at a nightclub, instructor/mixologist with Bartenderone, bartender at the Air Canada Centre, and Performance Mixologist (flair bartender) with the Movers n Shakers special event team! Expand your horizons, try a little bit of everything, and challenge yourself and then and only then will you truly evolve as a bartender!