You'd like to be a bartender, but you have no experience mixing drinks. One way to get there is to start as a bar back. Bar backs, also known as bar runners or bartenders assistants, do the tasks that help a bartender do her job and keep bar patrons happy.
Prep and Setup
Bar backs make sure accessories and ingredients for drinks are available to the bartender at all times. Bar backs fill ice buckets, cut and prepare fruits and garnishes, stock coolers with beers, make sure all liquor bottles behind the bar are in the right place, monitor levels in beer kegs and fountain soda reservoirs, make sure all glassware and bartender tools are clean and ready. Theya also may clean the bar and seating areas before opening.
When the Bar is Open
The bar back clears glasses, bottles and dishware and wipes down seating areas after patrons leave. She is responsible for replenishing stock and ingredients throughout her shift, including changing kegs and running to the storage area to get alcohol if the bartender runs out. A bar back also keeps the bartender's area clean by wiping up spills, removing empty bottles and cans, replacing soiled rags and removing trash. She also must wash and dry glasses throughout her shift.
Patron and Crowd Monitoring
Because bar backs predominantly work on the floor, they sometimes greet patrons, bring them menus or point them to the bathrooms. They also are the first line of security. Bar backs report rowdy patrons to bouncers, inform management when someone is drinking or smoking in the wrong areas and monitor the lines of people waiting to get in. This also helps the bartender know what he can expect throughout the shift.
If bar backs had a slogan it would be "Close to open," meaning it is best to leave your shift as if the bar were immediately ready to reopen. After last call, bar backs collect empty glasses, bottles and plates, clean bar tools and glasses, dispose of trash, clean and sweep the bar and seating areas, place dirty towels in their appropriate locations, clean and restock coolers and refrigerators and turn off or unplug appliances.
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