Is there an issue with bartenders in Manchester?

I’m not talking about any issues with being a bartender per se, I’m more focused on the actual problems that might exist within the industry itself. A problem that has been brought up recently is the fact that Manchester is seemingly running out of good bartenders. There’s a lack of exceptional stand out performers akin to the days of Socio Rehab and what we’ve been left with is a scene that has become stagnant and comfortable with what it has achieved, and the older generation don’t seem to be too willing to allow the younger ones in.

Now, this isn’t gospel. This is merely somebody’s opinion and it interested me enough to do a bit of a scribble about it. Before I carry on, I’m not saying there are no amazing bartenders anymore, I’m discussing the issue that the numbers are dwindling rather than growing.

I’m not going to mention names in particular, but I think it’s safe to say that if you’re reading this bit of writing then you know at least one “exceptional” bartender in Manchester. The chances of them being a 3pm-3am bartender anymore though are slim at best. If someone is great at their job then they move up and on to bigger and better things, the only issue is that the legacy they leave behind is one of personal achievements and not one of proteges.

It could be that bartenders aren’t training other bartenders properly anymore. Any quick job search nowadays will bring job descriptions that ask for two years experience, but the bars asking for it rarely provide two years experience to their current team due to an exceptionally large turnover rate. Two years is a long time in the bar trade. I’m not saying that everyone with two years experience should be able to re-invent the wheel, but you can teach someone to basic bartend within a week, imagine what you can do with them in two years.

It could be that people just aren’t putting in the same effort that used to be in abundance back when bars were rare and jobs were scarce. You can pretty much stumble into a bartending job right now without having lifted up a jigger or looked at a boston glass before, and if there’s no need or desire to improve and grow, then there will be neither one nor the other.

I think therein lies the problem. I was a good bartender, but I was never a great bartender. I was taught to the standards that Living Ventures give to everyone, and subsequently went on to teach others to the standards that Living Ventures provides and expects of everyone.

That was it though. As soon as the training stages were over, I just expected everyone to learn by doing. The result however, is to become stagnant in a routine that discourages its members to break free from it

I’m not saying that Living Ventures are the reason that Manchester are running out of good bartenders, they just haven’t really helped. They provide the discipline and the basic skill set needed to be successful in the industry, but very little else. They’re both good and bad for the industry.

I was a good “LV bartender”, but I only became an actual good bartender when I left and moved on to a place that forced me to get better at my job, and even then I got as good as was needed to succeed in that bar, and never really excelled at becoming “groundbreaking.”

That’s just my own personal journey, but I think it can be applied to the bigger picture (mainly because my ego demands it.)

Manchester isn’t producing the exceptional bartenders that it used to, and it’s becoming noticeable.  

I’ll most definitely annoy some people with this, but that annoyance is just your head’s way of telling you that you get easily annoyed by the views and/or opinions of other people on the internet.

Sorry if this makes you think you’re not an exceptional bartender. You’ll be ok. Neither am I.

 

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Lewis says:

    The entire UK is running out of exceptional bartenders. And it’s no surprise, even some of the best are still getting paid minimum wage in a non tipping culture. Why make all the effort if you’re going to get treated like a person with absolutely no skills at all.

  2. Every Customer says:

    If you could get yourself out of your ego for just a minute, I’ll have a pint of Carling please. Thanks.

    Bartenders, myself included, seem to forget that they’re doing a job, and the customer really doesn’t care what bartending scene you’re a part of, or if you’re any good. They just want their drink. So drag yourself back to reality, make them the drink that they just ordered, do your job, do it well, and go home with your paycheck.

    1. Steven Poland says:

      I don’t think it’s as simple as: “Show up, make drink, get paid, go home. Stop caring.”

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