Powerful Geography



Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society


Overview:  Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff. Bartenders work at restaurants, hotels, and other food service and drinking establishments. During busy hours, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently. They often work late evenings, on weekends, and on holidays. Part-time work is common, and schedules may vary. Bartenders fill drink orders for customers either directly at the bar or through waiters and waitresses serving the dining room. Bartenders must know a wide range of drink recipes and be able to mix drinks quickly. When measuring and pouring beverages, they must avoid spillage or over pouring. They should be personable with customers at the bar and also work well with waiters and waitresses and kitchen staff to ensure prompt service. In addition to mixing and serving drinks, bartenders stock and prepare beverage garnishes and maintain ice, glasses, and other bar supplies. They also wash glassware and utensils and serve food to customers who eat at the bar. Bartenders usually are responsible for stocking and maintaining an inventory of liquor, mixers, and other bar supplies. Bartenders may collect payment from customers after each drink is served or open a tab for a customer and collect payment when closing it at the end of service. They also must monitor customers for intoxication, determine when to deny service and, in some cases, arrange for safe transportation.

Bartenders need to consider origins of different beverages and cocktails to be able to prepare and serve the locality or region specific drinks. Different spirits have a different characteristic blends of their countries or regions of origins. The geographic characteristics of a place significantly influences the origin and development of a spirit. To take an example of one kind of spirit, whiskey is one of the greatly consumed spirits of the world. American, Japanese, Irish and Scotch are among the few well-known whiskeys around the world. Each of these whiskeys have different taste because of the use of distinct methods and raw materials they were created. These methods not only tell stories about the production of the spirit but also about different bio-geographic aspects of these countries such as the climate, water, seasons, crops but also of the human geographic aspects such as culture, work, economy, production processes and so on. Bartenders need the geographic knowledge of where a certain spirit comes from but also about different cultures around the world, particularly in the high tourism areas in America. All of these knowledge is necessary as a bartender for thriving in a food services industry.

Geographers at work: Human geographers, Social geographers, Cultural geographers, Food and beverage geographers.

Recommended College Courses: Regional Field Studies, Economic Geography, Cultural geography, social theory, food geographies.

Skills: Cultural analysis and research

Occupation Group: Food Preparation and Serving


Learn more about Bartenders from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/bartenders.htm

Written by Binay Thapa