2 bartenders shaking cocktails behind bar

What's it like to work behind the bar?

What's it like to work behind the bar?

Steven Miles our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 06/01/2020

Is there anything better than sitting in a beer garden in the sunshine with an ice-cold beer, cocktail or mocktail? Or cosying up in a pub with a glass of red wine (or perhaps your favourite alcohol-free drink because it’s Dry January, after all). We Brits love catching up with friends at our local pub or discovering new spots on the family vacay. But what really happens behind the scenes?

We caught up with some of our bar team to find out what a typical day looks like and hear their top tips for a sizzling shift. Chloe is our Head Bartender at All Bar One Victoria. And Dan and Jack are both part of the fantastic bar team at Miller and Carter, The Hayes. Read on to get their low down on life behind the bar.

Why did you decide to join our bar team?

Chloe is our queen of cocktails and joined our team three years ago because she “loves providing great service, meeting new people and seeing how happy the drinks make our guests. It’s a nice social job and it’s just a great way to get yourself out there.”

Fun fact - Jack joined our bar team thanks to the one and only Tom Cruise and his star performance in Cocktail.

“Cocktail is my favourite film of all time. I enjoy getting people to try new things that become their favourites. When I first started, I’d trawl Instagram looking for my cocktails. Everything I make - even when I’m busy - looks ready for the ‘gram’!”


What does a typical bar shift look like for you?

Dan starts his day with a cup of coffee to fuel up before tackling the day's tasks. He kicks things off with a stock take and bar prep. By midday guests begin pouring in and “the next few hours are all about having fun with my bar team and making sure our guests get the best experience possible.”

Jack likes to take the quieter lunchtime service to prepare for peak trading and “spend some time with the new starters to give them some extra support before the evening rush.”


What’s your favourite drink to make?

Our head mixologist Chloe doesn’t have one specific favourite drink to mix up, but the All Bar One cocktail menu features many of her favourites!

And she’s not the only one who is a fan of cocktails.h Dan loves to stir up a classic French Martini and Jack claims he makes “the best mojito this side of Cuba” He’s willing to challenge anyone who thinks otherwise!


What’s your least favourite drink to make?

“My least favourite would have to be coffee-based drinks, I’m just not the best with the coffee machine” jokes Chloe.

Dan really doesn’t enjoy making any drinks with Pernod in, whilst Jack doesn’t like “any cocktail request that should be left in the 80s”, despite his favourite film being an 80s classic! He thinks Pina Coladas should be left on holiday.

What is the best thing about being part of the bar team?

Camaraderie tops the list for our terrific trio, the friendships formed at Mitchells and Butlers really do last a lifetime. Even when team members face challenges in their personal life, our people know they’ve got each other.

Dan: “Camaraderie of being part of the team. Knowing you’re going to be busy, but you’ll get through it together.”

Jack: “Camaraderie. Interacting with people who are generally in a fantastic mood and of course the cocktail masterclasses.”

Chloe: “No matter what you are going through in your life outside of work, when you walk into the bar, you become a new person.”


Can you give us your top 3 tips for a successful shift?

Chloe: “A positive attitude, team spirit and enjoy the company of both your guests and team.”

Jack: “Prep everything - think about your most-used products so you don’t have to move far to get them and try to keep things topped up. No one wants a warm bottle of prosecco or cider!”

Dan: “Three words; prep, prep, prep!”


Why should others join the bar team?

“It’s a good place for quick progression and you can build up great transferable skills. Personally, I find the bonds you make in a bar team way better than those in an office. I’ve tried 9-5’s and sitting at a desk all day is definitely not for me!” says Jack.

Dan loves “being part of a constantly moving industry that combines passion with expertise – making lots of new friends along the way.”


Have you gained any hospitality qualifications whilst at Mitchells & Butlers?

Dan completed his WSET Level 1 qualification in Wines whilst Chloe and Jack have both been exploring our graduate opportunities and bar and waiting apprenticeships.

Jack: “I’m studying full-time outside of work at the moment, so I’ve got a fairly packed schedule, but have looked at the bar apprenticeships as something to do after graduation.”

These programmes aren’t only an opportunity to level up, they’re a great way to get your foot in your door. If you’re looking for a bar job but don’t have any experience, our apprenticeships


Do you love to serve up a good time?

We’re always on the lookout for more fabulous team members. Join our team as a bar staff member and become the heart of our establishment, serving up smiles, mastering our drinks menu, and thriving in the buzzing atmosphere.

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