Life as an event Bartender – Opinion Piece.
As swift as the coursing river, as graceful as a gazelle, as forgetful as an elephant, and as sharp as a blade.
This is what you must be to work as an event bartender! (You could also be just a regular person, but where’s the fun in that?)
Here’s a small insight into what life is like for me as an event bartender.
To start with, shifts can be few and far between so you’re never on a fixed number of shifts, you’re paid for each event that you work. Some months can be busy, whereas some may only have a few events on for that month – you often don’t know what each month will bring. There’s a large pool of staff to ensure cover for each event, so each shift has a different team of people that learn to work well with each other. The number of staff on shift can vary from 2 people to 9 people depending on how well the event has sold. (Maximum 900 Seated, 1200 Standing).
Different events bring a different crowd, but the crowd can generally be sussed out through the type of act on stage. Comedians like Russell Howard and Chris Ramsey tend to bring a younger audience, but musicians like Lulu and The Eagles bring an older audience.
Busy nights tend to be music nights (mainly rock music) and comedians. For these events musicians have the bar open throughout the gig, whereas comedians have the bar shut whilst they’re on stage.
You often have to deal with difficult customers who do everything possible to try and annoy you – just like a normal bar, really – so you do your utmost to keep professional. You don’t often get too many people that you need to cut drinks off but you do get a lot that need carding for underage drinking.
As an event bartender, we get some weird requests but we also get a lot of frequently asked questions such as;
- Why is the price so high?
We’re an event bar that has to cover it’s high costs and irregular hours.
- Why don’t you have a card machine?
Signal. We can’t guarantee they’ll be working. We are working on improving that.
- Can I pay by card? (Despite the CASH ONLY signs)
- Why don’t you stock more variety?
We can’t guarantee that it will sell before it expires due to the different types of events. What we have, we know will sell.
- Do you do draught or is it all bottles and cans?
No, it is all cans and bottles because you’d need someone to be hired just to change barrels and it is too much hassle during busy events as it would need to be constantly checked and changed.
- Can I take these bottles into the event?
Yes, unless we’ve stated otherwise and we put up signs for that.
- Why can’t I have the lid for my drinks?
Health and Safety rules of the UK for an event hall. They do it everywhere, not just here.
Life as an event bartender is stressful but worth it. You get to meet many interesting characters, and each shift is different from the last.
Try it out, you never know what might be thrown your way.