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What to Look for While Hiring a Bartender for a Party

Meghna Wani
Hiring a bartender for your party can help take a considerable chunk of the work off your shoulders. But there are some things that you need to be aware of before hiring one. Let's see what those are, with the help of this write-up.
Keep in mind ...
... that some people may want to tip the bartender as a reward for mixing excellent cocktails. Let him make the extra money, and do not worry if he sets up a tip jar.
The first benefit of hiring a bartender is that he makes your party appear classier. Guests get a feeling of affluence when they approach a bartender for a drink. The second benefit is that a bartender will allow you to be available to your guests more. You and your guests will enjoy the party because neither will be stuck preparing drinks.
A bartender will also tell you about the exact amount of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages you will require to cater to the needs of the guests. Next, he will arrive early to set up, and wait back to clean up before leaving.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind while looking for a bartender for your party.

Start Your Search

One way to start the search for a good bartender is through the Internet. You could also ask your friends, family, and other acquaintances for referrals. If you've hired a caterer for your party, you can ask him if he knows anyone.
It is usually seen that caterers give good references, because they are well-versed with the food and drinks market. One more reason why a caterer may recommend the best bartender is for the sake of his reputation.

Opt for a Seasoned Bartender

Even though he may cost you more than one who is just starting out, the end result, and the guest satisfaction that a pro would deliver will always be higher. Therefore, steer clear of all those out-of-college youngsters opting for bartending as a way to earn a little coinage.
I'm not saying that these guys do not know the craft, but it would be better to opt for someone with a good track record.

Ask if He Has a State-issued License

One more thing that you should never miss asking a bartender is that if he has a state-issued license to serve or sell liquor. Every state has different rules and regulations. If your state requires a bartender to have a license, then he should have it. If he doesn't, do not hire him.

Discuss Everything in Advance

After you have finalized a bartender, you have to fix a meeting with him ahead of time. Discuss every little detail of the party with him. If you are planning to have a theme for the party, tell him in advance, so that he can come properly attired.
If there is no theme, then a bartender is required to dress in a tuxedo shirt and black slacks. If you want him to wear a tie or a vest, you should inform him accordingly.

Ask him about the space and the kind of setup he requires. Every bartender has a unique way of setting things up so that it is easy for them to work faster.
Tell him the number of guests who will be attending the party, and ask about the amount of alcoholic beverages and mixers, like soda, water, juices, and syrups that will be required. Lime, lemon, cherries, olives, sugar, and mint are among the few things that you need to stock up on.
Before the party begins, provide all the necessary items to him. Ask him if he needs anything else. Stocking things up doesn't mean that you should have an overflowing and expensive bar. There is no reason to stock up on premium products, just the basic gin, rum, tequila, vodka, whiskey, and scotch will do the trick.

The Bartender Should Have His Own Kit

Ideally, a good bartender will have his own kit of accessories, like wine openers, bottle openers, pourers, shakers, strainers, etc., so that the bar area looks very professional. The things that you should provide are a mixer, blender, glassware, cocktail straws, and napkins.

The Bartender Controls the Flow of Booze at Your Party

The most important quality of a bartender, according to me is that he should know who is going overboard, and must be able to stop him from overindulging. It does not mean that you are trying to cut down on the consumption or trying to be cheap, it's just that you are serving the so-called social lubricant in a controlled manner.
Therefore, if you come across any bartender who can efficiently handle the responsibility of cutting off people after a certain number of drinks, hire him immediately. After all, you want your guests to reach home safely.

Cost of Hiring a Bartender

For bartenders who have just started to get their feet wet, the compensation could start from $10-$15 per hour, plus the tips he receives from guests. As they start learning the tricks of the trade and get involved seriously in their job, their wages may rise to $100-$150 for 5 hours.
Sometimes, bartenders charge a fixed amount for the first three hours, and then charge a per-hour rate for every extra hour.

Along with the wages, you can include the bartender in the dinner, and also offer him a drink or two. I would say that you should never ask a bartender not to put a tip jar, it's fine to let him make some extra money from tips.