wine lined up for bar trial

How To Smash A Bar Trial!

So, you think you can hospo?


You wanna get behind the bar and smash out vodka sodas and espresso martinis? The bar scene in Melbourne is in full swing. There are so many great venues to work in, with amazing people and bangin’ drinks.


To get a job behind the bar, it’s all about the trial!


Some venues may get you in for an interview first, have a chat on the phone or they might just shoot you a Facebook message, but it all comes down to the trial because you don’t know how someone’s going to work behind the bar until you see them in action.


Firstly, don’t walk into a bar trial without five key things:

  • Bar blade
  • Wine knife,
  • Pen (or two),
  • Lighter. (No, the lighter’s not for your smoko. It’s for flaming oranges on cosmos and stuff).
  • Dress appropriately – ask for details on what they want you to wear and if you can, visit the venue before your trial to suss it out.


Now that you’re prepared, get in there and smile! Introduce yourself to other staff and be friendly to customers.


It doesn’t matter how much or how little knowledge or experience you have going into a bar trial. Most managers believe they can train staff as long as they have the right attitude. On that note, if you do have heaps of knowledge, don’t go around telling everyone about it. No one likes a show off. If you think you know the best way to make an Old Fashioned, keep it to yourself for now and do things their way. Remember that you’re still the new kid.


Try and do more than just serve. It’s great if you’ve got some good bar chat and can spend time having a laugh with a customer, but being a bartender is about so much more than making drinks and cracking jokes. Time permitting help out with dishes and glasses. Make yourself indispensable.


A bar trial is not just about the employer finding out if you are right for the venue, but also about whether the venue is right for you! If you don’t think you’ll like it, let them know. Don’t waste their time and they won’t waste yours. It’s like a relationship and eventually you’ll find a perfect match.

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