Bartenders are often grouped into one category. Particularly when it comes to providing tools for bartenders, all of these professionals of differing skill levels and interests are generally addressed as one. The reality is, there are at least four different types of bartender, maybe more. For us it ultimately boils down to the type of bar they are working behind, is it a stand alone bar? A pub? Are you the resident barman in a trendy restaurant or wine bar? Where the bartender works and how they work define what type of bartender they are and therefore the type of tools they need at their disposal…
The publican is the bartender that, you guessed it, works in a pub! The pub is where most of us bartenders start our careers. Learning how to pull pints, glasses of wine and the occasional spirit – but mainly serving a lot of prepackaged and ready to go drinks, such as bottles of beer and cider. The pub is a local and friendly place, often you will have the same faces coming in and out – with a few travellers popping up along the way. Whoever graces your doorstep, the way of the publican is generally the same. A pub bartender will have ‘good chat’, in other words, they are generally quite the conversationalist; a friendly face who is ready to serve you anything from a pina colada to an Irish coffee.
Naturally this bartender is about getting you what you want with no messing about, drip trays are a big help to this bartender as more pints of lager, ale and cider are some of the most popular drinks of pub goers. As speed of service isn’t generally the name of the game at the pub most of your revellers may be hanging about on the bar for a while, as such having a clean and drip free bar is important to the publican. The under counter bottle opener and catcher is also a huge help to the pub bartender. They just want to get the job done quickly and easily, this tool will open pop your bottle cap and catch it in a handy bottle cap bin all in one swift movement.
The ‘speedtender’ is our own name for the bartenders that work in the busiest of bars on those Friday and Saturday nights. Generally bars as opposed to pubs, these places will often be kitted out with plenty of tables, some outside space and almost certainly a dance floor and DJ. The name of the game for the ‘speedtender’ is to get as many drinks out, as quickly as possible – whilst still ensuring the customers are happy and they aren’t overpouring the bar’s bottom line away. You wont be hanging about having a conversation with this bartender, they will just want to know everything you want from the moment they look at you to indicate it is your turn – and most importantly they do not want you adding on extra drinks every time they return to serve you the ones you asked for originally.
Spirits and cocktails are often the big favourites at these bars, guests tend to avoid pints and bottles as the potency is less meaning they have to return and queue at the busy bar more often. As a result ‘speedtenders’ must be the master of the pour. Generally these bars will approach this in one of two ways, control or training. The control method employs are world famous spirit measures (or optics), these ensure your bartender can never overpour. The second method is training, using tools such as the pro pour you can train your bartenders overtime to be able to free pour a 25ml or 50ml shot. With speed can come calamity. That is why the rubber bevelled floor mats are another popular choice for these speed bars, ensuring their bartenders can move around behind the bar for 6 hours at a time without their feet burning and leaving a cushion on the floor so when bottles or glasses are dropped, they don’t smash and slow down service.
Cocktail bartender or Mixologist
The cocktail bartender or mixologist is of a completely different calibre to the bartenders that we have already spoken about. These bartenders are generally (but not always) those that take the profession of bartending most seriously. Treating every drink like a chef treats a dish, the cocktail bartender will take their time with your drink, giving it a more hand crafted feel. The service typically tends to be of a higher class, generally involving a light chat and a fair amount of elaboration in the drinks making process and a small amount of craft flair to demonstrate skill and capability.
The cocktail bar is about creating an atmosphere and an experience for the guest and the bartender understands this, therefore everything will have been carefully thought out and chosen to reflect the mood and atmosphere the bar wants to create – from the Antique Brass cocktail ware the bartender uses to make your drink to the embellished mixing glasses and various garnishing implements laid out like a craft artisans toolkit.
The Flair Bartender
The flair bartender is very similar to the cocktail bartender and can often be one in the same. We have split the two for the purposes of the final type of bar we have yet to cover, the party bar or fun bar. This bar is all about bravado, they may have people dancing on tables, promoters out the front to drag in revellers and holiday makers, the class and style of this bar can vary hugely depending usually on where it is. These bars can be anywhere from the cosmopolitan rooftops of London to the Malia strip. What links these bars together however, is the high energy, entertaining nature of the bartenders that work behind them.
The bartender may have a whistle, if the bar is abroad they will almost certainly have a flower reef around their neck or a floral shirt upon their back and spectacle and entertainment is the name of the game. These bars are for the people who want a drink but also want a show, speed isn’t necessarily the aim of the game but enjoyment for the bartender and the guest most certainly are. Naturally these bartenders need a different toolkit to work with – the most important of which would probably be the flair bottle. The flair bottle will allow your bartenders to practice those awe inspiring moves, without risking a whole bottle of Havana’s finest rum. The tools behind this bar are about giving the bartender something cool and easy to flair with such as our new ninja strainer and the effortlessly elegant Mezclar hudson spoon.
Which bartender are you?