I hate it when I’m slaving behind the bar. It really weighs me down when I have to work through a shift when nothing seems to be going to plan or expectations. It might not mean that I’m lazy or that I’m ill prepared, but sometimes even after adequate preparation we fail to take care or notice the smaller, but very necessary details that eventually mess up the whole bar operations.

In the article; do you command respect from your patrons? I wrote about what are the qualities of a good bartender. There are insights too of what can be avoided or can be applied to improve your bartending skills or your bar business. I find it important to be reminded all the time about the importance of adequate preparation and efficient execution of activities in my bar.

I have come to learn that, as long as I want to improve my chances of smiling more than wearing a frown I have to: adequately prepare, stay organised, be timely, attentive and as efficient as I can behind the bar. When I focus solely on bartending, like making coffee, milkshakes, fruit juices, syrups, cocktails, opening beer, soda and wine bottles, taking orders, serving and chatting to my guests turns me up. I become happy and alive.

I thought to share with you some of the things I try to routinely do so that I can work with a smile. Typically my hardest day of the week at work is when I have to work in an unfamiliar bar surroundings or I was not on duty for more than 2 days. It even becomes more difficult if or when whoever works in the bar with me or in my absence is a careless, impassionate and uncommitted bartender. This is what I do before I start my shift.


The first thing that I prefer to do immediately my shift starts is to try to dust, wash or wipe with detergent and disinfect everything and everywhere in the bar. My main reasons are - to ensure that; my working area and tools are tidy, disinfected and - to ensure that; everything else that is useful in and around the bar is well arranged in a good condition that is comfortable to guests.

Check Stock levels

Only checking and confirming the stock levels of the brands that I sell helps me figure out exactly what I need or don’t need to add in the bar. It also helps while checking which products are not expired; stale, broken, seals are intact, fresh fruits and juices and so on.

Set up the bar

This involves making sure that everything that I use while on shift is available. While on this, I ensure that I have clean and enough ice cubes or blocks, fruits, garnishes, straws, bar kit, caddy, speed reel is full, napkins, mats and correct and enough glassware. While at this, I also ensure that my coffee and cocktail stations are set and ready.


As much as preparation is important, execution is vital; failing to plan is setting you up for failure as they say but still failure of executing to your plan is as same as not planning at all. While bar-tending I always believe that; cleaning, checking stock levels and setting up the bar is a continuous process throughout my bar-tending shift. Read and share more stories here kula Kunywa. Feel free to comment or add anything that you do to enable smile while bar-tending.