It’s 11:30pm on a Friday night and you are well on your way to having the night of your life. The drinks are flowing, the music is pumping and you look around and realise that the vibe in the room is buzzing. The bar is 5 deep, everyone eager to keep the social lubricant flowing. Just past that crowd is a small team of people that are moving in what looks like a choreographed dance. These are the bar staff that are here every night. The ones paid to be at the party.
If you’ve been in this situation, there’s a chance you’ve fleetingly considered what life is like on the other side of that bar. I can tell you – it’s life changing.
Having worked in bars across the world throughout my 20’s, I can attest to it taking me places and introducing me to people that I never would have had access to otherwise. I’ve met A-class celebrities, a billionaire or two and even some royals in London. Working at the Olympics in Sydney, I ended up partying with an eleven time Olympic medalist on a rooftop in Sydney, all because they were stationed at the bar most of the night and wanted to keep the party going. So here is the first reason:
Have you ever noticed that everyone talks to the bartender? Everyone wants to make friends with the bartender. I have seen more people get into the next job they’ve wanted through people they met while working in a bar. Myself included, a few times. I even met my (now) wife while working in a bar. This constant interaction with people from all walks of life, brings me to my second reason:
Talking to random strangers every shift teaches you the fine art of conversation and also makes you comfortable being in front of a crowd. If hospitality isn’t your chosen career path, these skills could be invaluable for your future career. And while you’re learning these skills for your potential new career, it can help with the next reason:
Hospitality may not be the best paid job in the world, but if you are going to work anywhere while studying, trying to work out what you want to do with your life or saving up to travel the world, why not be paid to be at the party while you’re there. Which brings me to my fourth reason:
4. It’s a party
Sure, not every night is fun and there is work to do, but working in a great bar can be an incredible rush. Some of the greatest parties I’ve been to are the ones I’ve been working at. One of the best parts comes at the end of the night, when you get to kick everyone out, sit down, debrief, laugh and complain about all the random things that just happened on shift. More often than not, you’ll also keep the party going. Trust me, that’s the party that you really want to be at. Which brings me to my final and probably the least understood (by anyone new to working in a bar) reason:
Every night can be a fairly intense experience in a bar. You rely heavily on your team to get you through the night in one piece. This creates a bond with your colleagues that has a family kind of feel. You look out for each other, you go out and party together and sometimes, for those single people, even more. I have lifelong friends dotted all over the world thanks to the bars I have worked in and for me, that’s one of the most valuable things that I never expected.
By Brett Baker