Mobile Mixology: The Life of a Traveling Bartender

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If you’re on vacation and kicking back enjoying a pina colada or a nice cold beer, it has been served by, most likely, a bartender. Bartenders are friendly and outgoing and good communicators. Remember Sam Malone from Cheers or Isaac Washington from The Love Boat? They were everyone’s favorite bartenders.

A traveling bartender works at resorts and venues either for a specified period of time — a few months or a year, for example — before moving on to another resort. Resorts that use traveling bartenders only need them during peak times, such as during summers or at an annual festival when crowds are bigger. Once their gig is up, the bartender packs up and moves on to the next gig. In between, it’s a great opportunity to check out new lands. Of course, there are some bartenders who are needed permanently at various venues. You can break into the travel industry as a bartender and work your way up from there to executive bartender.

Bartenders must make sure that the bar area is always clean and well-stocked and that the customers have been served. How many times have you seen bartenders take multiple orders and not write anything down? Bartenders must have a great memory, be able to multi-task and solve guest problems.

Currently, on TravelJobs.com, jobs as a bartender are plenty. Swinomish Casino and Lodge, Affinity Gaming, Hilton, MGM Resorts, Interstate Hotels & Gaming, LGC Hospitality Staffing, and Commune Hotels are all looking for part-time, seasonal and full-time bartenders. You can be a bartender in a banquet hall, lounge area or poolside. How do you obtain a job as a bartender?

Go to Bartending School

According to Peter Tunney (a bartender and writer for European Bartending School), in his article on becoming a traveling bartender, you need to go to school.

“If you want to get a bartending position in a high-end bar, you’ll need a special set of skills and a rather extensive knowledge of drinks, especially cocktails,” he writes. “One easy and quick way to get yourself on the road to becoming a traveling bartender is to attend a course at a bartending school. Check the reputation of your bartending school, see how long they’ve existed, how many students have graduated and also check out some of their student reviews.”

Bartenders must also have training with The Controlling Alcohol Risks Effectively® (CARE) for Servers program which teaches bartenders how to monitor and control guests' alcohol consumption, intervene before problems arise, carry out ID-checking policies and handle minors according to the venue's policies.

Become an apprentice

Some bartending jobs provide opportunities for a bartender to start out as an apprentice, working under other, more experienced bartenders.

Bartenders earn approximately $15 to $20 per hour, including tips.

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