Brush Up On Your Bartending Skills – Inspiration from Las Vegas’ Best Flair Bartenders

Flair bartenderThere are a lot of things that go into a great bartender: a winning personality, an attention to detail, and a dedication to the legal and moral responsibilities that come with serving alcoholic beverages. Think you might be right for the job? Why not get a leg up on the competition with additional skills and techniques to set you apart from the competition?

If you can flip bottles, juggle cocktail shakers, and serve up excellent drinks with a smile, you may be a great candidate for becoming a flair bartender. Additionally, flair bartenders can do pretty well for themselves, especially if they can entertain while serving. Flair bartenders will draw in more customers, making more money for the bar, and themselves.

Flair bartenders are known for using bar tools and liquor bottles as props to entertain while they are mixing drinks. It can be quite a sight to see someone juggling liquor bottles, mixing drinks behind their backs, carefully setting fire to mixed drinks, and more. Las Vegas is home to some of the best flair bartenders in the country, and boasts several bars and clubs that showcase their talents. If you’re considering a career as a flair bartender, Las Vegas is the place to be. Make sure to check out Las Vegas Weekly’s article, “From glass-juggling to bottle-throwing, the best flair bars in Las Vegas,” for a feature on some of the city’s most impressive and popular flair bars.

So you’re ready to become a flair bartender? TAM® of Nevada has some tips on how you can get started:

Obtain your TAM® Card. All hospitality professionals in Washoe and Clark Counties are required to obtain their alcohol education card prior to working at a location where they’ll be selling or serving alcoholic beverages. The Techniques of Alcohol Management® course will satisfy state training requirements and will give you the skills and knowledge you need to serve responsibly.

Get educated on bartending techniques. Flair bartending requires a solid working knowledge of bartending skills, plus lots of practice, practice, practice! Before you start juggling liquor bottles, it’s important to learn how to mix drinks, and build up your bartending know-how of tips and techniques. It won’t matter how well you can entertain if you don’t know how to make a martini.

Practice makes perfect. Every day at work you’ll have the chance to handle bottles and shakers, so practice spinning shakers in your hand and doing simple tricks when you have some downtime. Starting with the basics and working your way up to more difficult tricks, you’ll begin to feel comfortable with your props and impress your guests at the same time. You can also watch plenty of flair training videos online for tips and tricks to learning basic flair bartending moves. A great resource is TAM of Nevada’s YouTube channel; we’re always adding our favorite flair bartending videos and tutorials.

Our most important advice of all of all: Remember to have fun! What is the best advice you would give to someone looking to start a career as a flair bartender?

Resources

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Slow Night at Work? Make the Most of Your Downtime

Even in the busy summer months, every service professional knows that once in a while there’s bound to be a slow night at every establishment. What have you done to pass the time in the past when you’ve worked a shift without a rush of patrons to keep staff busy? The next time you find yourself at a loss for how to make the best use of your downtime at work, take a look around and see where your efforts could be best put to use.

A night with few customers makes for an opportunity to catch up on cleaning and organizing the back bar and dining areas. You can pass the time dusting down bottles on display, wiping up counters, and generally tidying up common areas. Look to see if the “Lost and Found” can be cleaned out of any sunglasses, umbrellas and knick knacks that haven’t been claimed for an extended period of time. Your manager and coworkers will appreciate the effort, and a sleek and streamlined bar will be all the more appealing to patrons.

Are you a bartender? Consider experimenting with new a new cocktail recipe if you have guests who are looking to try something new. When you don’t have to rush to take care of and keep an eye on a multitude of customers, you may have extra time to get creative. You’ll get to practice your mixology skills, impress your customers, and maybe find the next signature cocktail for your establishment’s menu. Mixology is becoming increasingly popular, and lots of patrons want to feel like bartending aficionados. Offer guidance, but let customers get involved in their drink selection. While you’re at it, why not suggest an appetizer or entrée that would pair perfectly with your creation? This is a great way to help increase sales and make sure your guests are also eating and not over consuming alcoholic beverages.

Downtime at work is the perfect time to review your Participant Manual from TAM® Class to brush up on the Techniques of Alcohol Management®. TAM® Students receive a participant manual following the completion of their training. This document has a wealth of information on the alcohol awareness topics covered in your TAM® Class. There is a reason TAM® training must be repeated every four years, this information is critical to hospitality professionals and anyone who serves or sells alcoholic beverages.

What tips do you have for other hospitality professionals to maximize their time on a slow night?

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Back to Basics– Five Strategies for Becoming a Better Bartender

Bartending BasicsThere are a lot of things that go into a great bartender: a winning personality, an attention to detail, and a dedication to public safety, and the legal and moral issues of serving alcoholic beverages. Looking to improve on your own marketable bartending skills? Read on for some tips on putting your best foot forward.

  1. Get TAM® certified. Nothing is more important to your success as a hospitality professional than responsible service to ensure the safety of your patrons and to reduce the liability and risk for yourself and your business. Carry your TAM® card to show you received the best possible training, and sign up for one of our online or onsite classes today.
  2. Brush up on the latest cocktail and mocktail trends as well as any ‘back of the basics’ techniques you need practice with. A great bartender will draw in more customers, making more money for the bar, and themselves. You’ll need solid working knowledge of bartending skills, plus lots of practice, so it’s important to learn how to mix drinks correctly, and build up your bartending know-how of tips and techniques. Check out blog post “What’s On Your Summer Reading List? Best Books for Bartenders” for some reading suggestions that might help you to increase your knowledge and skill level.
  3. Keep your bar well stocked, your work area clean and neat, and have glassware, liquor and bar tools in the most functional place possible. By having a clean, efficient and streamlined work area, not only will it set the stage for your guests, it will make it easier for you to do your job well and turn out orders efficiently and effectively. At the start of your work day, make sure everything is in its place, and when you have down time between mixing drinks, make sure to keep things neat and tidy.
  4. Excellent customer service comes easier if you keep a cool head under pressure. Providing the best customer experience possible will be much easier if you are able to keep calm on those busy Saturday nights behind the bar. Don’t over-commit yourself, if you feel yourself getting stressed, take a few deep breaths. Examine what tasks you need to complete, prioritize them, and eliminate any tasks that aren’t necessary. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Your supervisor and coworkers are a part of your team and want to see you succeed, and your guests leave happy.
  5. Recognize your weaknesses and strive to improve. Nobody is perfect; maybe you’ve gotten constructive criticism from your manager in your last review, or maybe you’ve examined your own work performance and know areas you need to improve on. Whether it’s improving on multitasking, working under pressure, basic techniques, or something else, it can be done. Just remember that approaching your work with a glass half empty approach is never a good idea. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the good in a difficult situation, but do your best to think positively and work to make necessary changes.

You should now be well on your way to making positive improvements in your work performance. What other advice would you give to someone looking to improve on their bartending skills and techniques?

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Are You New to Nevada? You Must Complete Nevada-Specific Alcohol Awareness Training

TAM CardAlcohol education cards from out-of-state won’t transfer in Nevada. Industry professionals should complete alcohol awareness training with TAM® of Nevada to meet local requirements.

Are you a new resident in Las Vegas? Welcome to Nevada! Workers are drawn to this great state for its booming entertainment and nightlife industry, and all of the hospitality jobs that come along with the action.

Have you already received job-related alcohol training in another state? We often receive inquiries from out-of-state students asking if their alcohol education cards and education are valid in Nevada. Unfortunately, liquor laws are specific to the states, counties and municipalities, so no, alcohol licenses are not transferable. All individuals hoping to work in the beverage sales and service industry in Nevada must complete an alcohol training program that has been approved by the Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education. TAM® of Nevada is an approved provider, and the only official provider of TAM® Cards in the state of Nevada.

Individuals that need to obtain their TAM® Card can complete their training online or in a traditional classroom environment with our certified instructors. Additionally, we now offer open lab time on Tuesdays for students who would like to complete their alcohol awareness training online, but do not have access to a computer. Students are welcome to visit our training center and use our computer lab to complete their training on Tuesdays between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Likewise, classroom-based training is available at several convenient times throughout the week, including Spanish classes on Tuesday evenings. Check out our alcohol awareness class schedule to find a class that is convenient for you!

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada