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How to Become a Bartender in Canada 2024: Guide to Craft Cocktails and Forming a Career

  • Career Advice
  • By CAYOP Admin
  • Published on June 14

Mixing It Up: A Bartender’s Guide to Craft Cocktails and Forming a Career

Job Description

Are you ready to mix things up and turn your passion into an exciting profession behind the bar? This blog will tell you all you need to know to embark on this exciting career. Bartending is more than simply making drinks; it is about creating experiences and relationships through the art of mixology. Bartenders make mixed cocktails, wine, draft or bottled beer, non-alcoholic drinks as well as different types of tasks throughout the day. So, if you’re ready to stir up some excitement and make a splash in the art of bartending, continue reading because this might be the job for you!

What Would I Do?

As a bartender, your days are filled with excitement and creativity as you mix up the perfect concoction of flavors and experiences for your customers. Your responsibilities will involve mixing and serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, ensuring that each drink is made with accuracy and care. But it doesn’t end there; you're also creating unique cocktail recipes that will surprise and delight the customers. You will be experimenting with new ingredients, flavors, and techniques. Whether it’s infusing a traditional drink with a modern touch or creating something new altogether, you’ll get to thrive in whatever you do.

Above all, you will be providing great customer service and creating unforgettable experiences for every person that passes through the door. You’ll also be collaborating with staff to create creative drinks and themed drink menus for special occasions, maintaining cleanliness, ordering supplies, organizing the bar area, handling cash transactions, maintaining inventory, and ensuring compliance with provincial/territorial liquor legislation and regulations.

Am I Suited for This Job?

Skills and TraitsDescriptionCommunication SkillsBartenders must effectively communicate with customers and colleagues to take orders, provide recommendations, and maintain a pleasant atmosphere.Attention to DetailFrom garnishing drinks to handling payments, bartenders must pay close attention to detail to ensure accuracy and quality.Customer Service SkillsProviding excellent customer service is paramount to ensuring customer satisfaction so that they will come back.AdaptabilityThe ability to adapt to changing circumstances and customer preferences is key in the dynamic environment of a bar.Multitasking AbilityBartenders often juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, such as taking orders, preparing drinks, and handling payments.Time ManagementEfficient time management is crucial for serving customers promptly while maintaining quality and accuracy.Problem-solving SkillsBartenders may encounter various challenges during their shift, requiring quick thinking and problem-solving abilities.TeamworkCollaboration with other staff members is essential for a smooth and efficient operation.CreativityA creative flair can elevate cocktails and beverages, delighting patrons and setting the establishment apart.Physical StaminaBartending can be physically demanding, requiring long hours on one's feet and the ability to lift and carry heavy items.

You should have:

  • Great interpersonal skills
  • Smart Serve Certification Smart Serve
  • Physical strength enough to stand, walk, bend, twist, and make repetitive motions
  • Basic math knowledge for handling cash transactions accurately

With all these abilities and traits at your disposal, you’ll be well prepared to succeed in the fast-paced and dynamic world of bartending.

The Environment/ Typical Day

Picture this: You’re behind a sleek bar counter in the city of Toronto. The environment is lively like at a bar, the music is pulsing as you hear your favorite song, there’s an intense game going on and customers are hungry for the pub's popular dish. Or the environment can even be a lot quieter like at a restaurant and people are chit-chatting at their tables, waiting to order their favorite drink. That’s when you come in to take their order and create their favorite drink. Your typical shift may include a mix of days, nights, weekends, or even on holidays, with the pace ranging from relaxed during quieter periods to frenzied during the peak times. You’ll interact with a wide range of customers, from regulars looking for their favorite drinks to daring newcomers eager to try the latest creations.

A typical day for a bartender can consist of working in a fast-paced environment such as a bar, pub, restaurant, hotel, banquet hall, or nightclub. Tasks include mixing drinks, interacting with customers, cleaning, and restocking inventory.

Wages and Benefits

In the world of bartending, the salary can vary depending on region, establishment type, and experience level. The salary ranges from $16.55 to $16.64 per hour plus tips; who doesn’t like receiving tips 😊

Typically, bartenders have flexible schedules, receive employee discounts or free food, on-site parking, store discounts, health benefits, and sick days.

What is the Job Outlook in Canada (Ontario)?

According to the Government of Canada Job Bank website, the job prognosis for bartenders in Ontario looks to be favorable from 2022 to 2031. It is estimated that new job vacancies will total 11,200, resulting from both growth and replacement demand, with around 10,000 new job seekers available to fill these roles. Furthermore, Ontario's employment market information website predicts a strong increase for bartenders from 2023 to 2027. The expected number of job vacancies over this time period is between 1,001 and 2,000, indicating a more than 20% increase in employment levels. This shows a strong need for bartenders in Ontario, fueled by reasons such as population increase, tourist expansion, and the ongoing need for hospitality services.

How Do I Become a Bartender?


While formal education is not always required, completing a bartending certification like Smart Serve can be a useful skill when working at certain places or locations like bars in the city. When serving alcohol, you must be 19 years of age. Some places also require Food handler certification.

  • Smart Serve Certificate: The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has recognized the Smart Serve Responsible Sales, Service, and Delivery Training Program as the sole responsible alcohol training program in Ontario. Smart Serve is a dedicated advocate for a safer and healthier Ontario. Individual training can be completed online 24/7. The training will prepare you to work in any environment where alcohol is sold, served, delivered, or sampled, in the province of Ontario. Get ready to learn with short videos, quizzes, text/audio, activities, and games before completing the Final Certification Test online. Smart Serve
  • Bartending Program: Conestoga in Waterloo has a 14-week Full-time Certificate bartending program that provides the ideal balance of hands-on experience and theory, as well as the professional development skills required to become a hospitality industry leader. This program offers the unique opportunity of an immersive field placement where you can apply your skills in an industry setting with one of our top industry partners. Conestoga Bartending Program

Where Would I Work?

Bartenders can find employment in a variety of settings, ranging from intimate cocktail bars to bustling restaurants and large-scale entertainment venues. Let's explore the breakdown of where most bartenders are employed:

  • Bars and Pubs
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Clubs and Lounges
  • Event Venues

Bartenders have a diverse range of employment options, spanning various sectors within the hospitality industry. Whether working in a neighborhood bar, a high-end restaurant, or a glamorous resort destination, bartenders play a vital role in creating memorable experiences for patrons. With opportunities available in both public and private sectors, as well as across establishments of all sizes, aspiring bartenders have a wealth of options to explore as they embark on their career journey.

How Do I Find a Job?

Many people in this profession find work opportunities through:

  • Job Search Engines: General job search engines like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn often have listings for bartending positions across various establishments.
  • Networking: Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances who work in the hospitality industry. They may know of job openings or be able to provide referrals.
  • Social Media: Follow bars, restaurants, and hospitality industry groups on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Many establishments post job openings on their social media pages.
  • Walk-Ins: Visit bars, clubs, and restaurants in person to inquire about job openings. Bring a resume and be prepared to speak with the manager or hiring staff.
  • Industry Events: Attend industry events, such as bartending competitions, trade shows, or networking mixers. These events provide opportunities to meet industry professionals and learn about job openings.

Applying for a Job

When applying for a bartending position, consider the following tips:


  • Showcase Your Personality: By going into the bars, clubs, and lounges and speaking with the manager. Bartending frequently involves charisma and personality. Showcase your abilities to interact with customers by creating a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Research the Venue: Know the establishment you are applying to and tailor your approach accordingly.
  • Reach Out to Recruiters: Contact recruiters who specialize in hospitality placements.
  • Get Relevant Certifications: Ensure you have any required certifications, such as Smart Serve.
  • Prepare for the Interview: Be ready to discuss your experience and skills.

Resume and CV Tips:

  • Tailor Your Resume: Highlight your relevant experiences and certifications. Emphasize customer service experience, mixology knowledge, and any specific training.
  • Personalize the Resume: Customize your resume and CV to match the job posting.

Where Can This Job Lead? Exploring Career Paths

As a bartender, getting experience and improving your abilities behind the bar is frequently the first step toward job growth. With dedication and hard work, you may advance in the hospitality industry. You might begin as a junior bartender, learning the art of mixology and customer service before progressing to a more experienced bartender or bar manager. In these jobs, you’ll have more duties such as supervising bar operations, maintaining inventory, and training new employees. With more experience and demonstration of leadership talent, you might even be in charge of curating drink menus—how cool would that be to create your own drink!

Beyond the bar, a bartender’s abilities and training can lead to a variety of other opportunities. For example, your mixology knowledge and understanding of customer preferences might easily transition into employment in brand management in the beverage industry. Some bartenders have used their knowledge to build successful entrepreneurial companies, such as their own bar or beverage consultancy firm. In essence, the opportunities for professional growth and diversification are only limited by your creativity and drive.

So, cheers to crafting your path in the world of mixology and beyond and may your journey be as refreshing and vibrant as the cocktails you make!

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