13 Crucial Tools Every Successful Bartender Must Have

By: g.s.b.617

A man is only as good as his tools is a phrase I m sure you ve heard before and it applies to bartending as much as anything else.

You ll only ever be as good as your tools so make sure youre not without them. The quality of your tools can make or break your experience behind the bar so it s important you take this lesson seriously.

There are countless bartending tools out there. Will you use them all No. But there are certain tools that every bartender must have. In this first lesson, we ll be taking a look at those must have tools so pay close attention.

Bottle Opener

Now whether you re working in a low or high volume bar a bottle opener is not only crucial to your speed, but also your hands

Imagine opening every bottle of beer ordered with your bare hands you wouldn t last the night without seriously doing damage to your palms.

There are many different types of bottle openers out there on the market everything from a simple key chain opene all the way to a butterfly bottle opener you know, like a butterfly knife Pretty cool.

Find out what works for you. I ve used the same stainless steel speed opener for years now it does the joeverytime so I ve had no reason to switch.

Wine Opener

The best, most versatile wine opener is known as the waiter wine opener It always do the job, even on the most difficult and the most stubborn corks. Compare this to many others out there that often break the cork or have you struggling in front of the customer to get the damn thing open.

A waiters wine opener includes a corkscr a sharp blade to cut the seal of the wine and also a bottle opener device if you desperate for one.

I recommend a two level lever on your opener as well, that what I personally use. Mine has never failed me in opening a bottle of wine.

Cocktail Shaker

This is the stainless steel thingy you see bartenders pour ingredients into for a martini or shooter and shake vigorously. This is a must have for all bartenders.

A good rule of thumb for cocktails is, the colder it is, the better it tastes. Why else would bartenders concoct a drink by pouring pre chilled ingredients into a shaker with ice, shaking like crazy and then serving it in a chilled glass Because you want every part of the process to be chilling to prevent any warming of the cocktail.

There are two types of shakers out there:

1 Standard Shaker

This is a threepiece stainless steel shaker that has the strainer built into it. I find the Standard Shaker is not as common among professional, working bartenders.

It consists of the shaker tin, lid with strainer and cap. Perhaps it more complicated design with smaller parts discourages working bartenders from using this more often. But it will do the job just as well as the...

2 Boston Shaker

From my experience, the Boston Shaker is actually more standard among professional bartenders. This one is simply a shaker tin with a separate mixing glass that slightly smaller in size. It a two piece device that you simply seal together to shake the cocktail.

The tendency is seal it as tight as you can and proceed to shake, although this is not necessary as you can often seal it too tight, and then not be able to open it when you done shaking and ready to pour the concoction.

If you ever in this situation, use the edge of the bar and clip the overlapping metal lip against the edge of the bar. You can also them apart, that will often break the seal too.

But avoid all that by fitting them together nice and snug instead of as tight as you can.

You can purchase shaker sets in all types of different sizes and styles, but they pretty much fall into one of the two types listed above.


Again, you find many different types of strainers on the market. But the only kind I ever used and would want to use is the Hawthorn Strainer.

You know, it that real funny looking stainless steel thing with the handle and the spring coil. The purpose behind the spring coil on the strainer is so you can fit it into all types of different shaped glasses. So it a very versatile tool.

I should mention that when using a shaker I often do not use a strainer. I use the Boston Shaker and simply crack a tiny opening in the seal between the two and pour out the concoction style.

If you more of a visual learner like me, Tom Cruise does this when pouring Martini for Gina Gershon in the two floor NYC nightclub in the movie Cocktail.


Not every bar uses coasters. But it a good thing to have. They ll prevent a lot of unnecessary wet spots on the bar from moisture off the side of the glass.

I worked in slower, classier places where using them is mandatory. I also worked in higher volume nightclubs where you don use coasters because you wiping the bar down every five minutes anyway, so why bother Which leads me to...

Bar Towel

A fresh, clean set of bar towels is something every bartender needs. In high volume places, the bar is constantly needing a wipe down from spilt drinks, drink rings, sticky shooter glasses, etc.

I like to have a minimum of four, strategically placed wet bar towels in my working area at all times.

One thing I teach you in Bartending Secrets Exposed is to have everything systemized. You want things as seemingly insignificant as location of your bar rag to be the same every night. You don want to think about where it is everytime you need it, you want it to be second nature, you want to be able to grab it without even looking

The party can often get sloppy so you must have your bar rags close at hand.

Ice Scoop

Forcefully cutting through and scooping your ice with an actual glass is a very stupid thing to do. Yet I see bartenders do it all the time. I don even recommend you gently and carefully scoop the ice with the glass. There just too much margin for error.

If you chip the glass, and you know it, you spending the next ten minutes emptying and refilling your ice well. If you don know it, and you happen to serve a customer a drink garnished with glass shavings you could be in some serious trouble.

Using a metal ice scoop is mandatory as a bartender. It really doesn take more time to scoop ice with a separate scoop. You can also do some fancy tricks once you get good too.


If you work in a bar that allows free pouring, you won be needing this handy tool. But in most regions of North America free pouring is illegal and you required to use some sort of measuring device, whether it an automatic or manual device all depends on where you work.

While I m not a believer in the automatic devices you see nowadays, using a shot glass or jigger to measure the amount of alcohol you pour into each drink is what I always done as a bartender.

For those of you who work at places with extremely tight inventory control. I offer you an amazing echnique in Bartending Secrets Exposed to keep the relationship with your customers while keeping your integrity with the boss. Click here to get it now

Garnish Picks

Skewers, plastic swords picks, arrow picks or whatever you want to call them are for those exclusive garnishes like olives and cherries. They really add to the presentation of a drink and are a must have for those customers you want to really impress.

Whether it s giving the customer three olives with their martini or an orange slice and a cherry with one of my seductive martinis, I always have a supply of garnish picks close at hand.

Pour Spouts

Whether you free pour or not, a bar that deals with any type of volume and has any interest in inventory control should have these on all of the high moving liquor bottles. There are many different styles of pour spouts out there

glow in the dark
slow pour
fast pour

All have some associated benefit or gimmick. But I like things simple so I use the metal slow pour spouts on all my liqueurs and the metal spouts on all my well liquor which I m using a shot glass for anyway. Why wait three seconds when measuring with a glass already

Time truly is money in this industry.

Now at this point you might be thinking, Jeremy, you talking about the kind of tools and supplies the bar should be supplying, you making it sound like I have a choice on what kind of pour spouts I use

Realize I don want you to go out and start buying pour spouts and garnish picks. Those expenses should be left to the bar you working for. But remember tthe one working the bar, not the manager. If the bar where you work has crappy pour spouts and doesn even use garnish picks, it up to you to suggest it

I believe it your choice. After all the one using it, right Managers will always be open to suggestions if it will improve your speed and performance, thus, increase sales.


This is obvious, but you should always have straws close at hand. The bigger or more you give the customer, the better. You control the speed at which your customers drink by how many straws you give them. Make em drink fast so you increase your sales .

Ask any bartender out there and they agree that beside you will be asked for a pen more than anything else.

Have a ton of pens to lend, because you may not always get them back and you always want to have enough. Also, always have a load of matchbooks to give to customers in need.

I also recommend you have a sleek butane lighter of your own for customers needing a light right at your bar and also when flaming drinks are necessary.

Tip Jar

Last, but certainly not least is to have your own tip jar.

While I go into extreme detail in Bartending Secrets Exposed on the true art and science of the tip jar, what I tell you here is that having one is a must! You losing tips without one

Have your own, preferably a wine carafe. The tapered neck of a wine carafe means once a tip is in the jar, it in. You won have any hands dipping in to swipe your hard earned tips which can often happen in a busy nightclub.

Now you are a little more familiar with the tools you need to be an excellent bartender. Remember, you can always get all this information and tons more by getting started with the internet ultimate bartending success system, Bartending Secrets Exposed, How To Double Your Tips and Land Your Dream Job, .at www.MakeMoneyBartending.com

To Your Success

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