So you want to be a bartender?!


Coming to Toronto I was sure I would find a job in my chosen profession. I had the degree, the experience, the enthusiasm! I applied to every job that was relevant to me, and…..nothing!

Dejected to say the least I handed out my resume to practically every bar and restaurant in town. I wanted to do something I was good at, and service I can do. I had loads of experience and was delighted to skip past the normal ‘server to bar staff’ route and become bar staff (or mixologist ) straight away. I worked in a high end bar, with a crazy bar list, which meant not only a new job, but a new skill. I worked closely with the Mixologist to increase my Cocktail know how. I also got some tips from one of the city’s best sommeliers who taught me the basics of wine, which, before was pretty basic i.e. the 4 basic wine types – white, red, rose and that delicious Irish wine, you might know it as Buckfast.

One year in and I LOVE my bar job. How could I not?! I drink for a living, sleep until noon and check out some of the best bars downtown. But its not all glamorous, my nails are constantly chipped form dish washing and I’ve had to unclog my fair share of toilets. So for any one you thinking about bar work, I drew up a list of pros and cons

Pro: Tips, a good server can make decent tips and a great server will make a killing. Find yourself a busy bar and work it, the wage for bar work isn’t great so you need to supplement your income with tips. My advice is to avoid college bars, been there done that and the tips are miserable.

Pro: You will make lots of friends, these are friends that are in the industry and will therefore come in handy when you are in the queue for a night out or are on the other side of the bar! These are also the people who at the end of a really busy night you chill out with over a beer or five

Pros: Surrounded by booze for 6-8 hours a night, but how can I recommend a drink if I have never tried it. In my job I was encouraged to drink and sample the products, check with your manager though, and don’t blame CraicTo if you end up hammered on the job

Con: Say goodbye to your weekends and be prepared to miss lots of social events. I tend to prioritize my friends, and will only ask for a shift to be covered if one of my “Bffs” is having a night out or event. You start to turn down too many shifts and you will be replaced, especially in a busy down town bar

Con: Wage, most bars pay the states minimum wage (in Toronto that’s $8.90) and your tips support your wage, so if you want to make big money, no.1 you need a busy bar and no.2 a great personality.

Con: your non server friends will rarely be free when you are. They also rarely understand your chronic fatigue.

Con: Drunk people; having to deal with intoxicated people every shift will eventually get to you – we all know just how annoying and persistent people that have had one too many drinks are.



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