Creating a personal brand and following can be incredibly beneficial to improving tips and building up your career in bars – but how does a bartender become unique?

In partnership with Kinky Beverages, we turned to three career bartenders to learn how they developed their behind-the-bar personas and bring you their tips for building your personal brand. For the team at Kinky, being unique has been crucial to their success, which is why they wanted to empower bartenders to be themselves and bring their best to the bar.

Bartender at work

Bartender at work

One of the key tips we heard over and over was that doing research, continuing education, and staying curious are all critical for a bartender who wants to stand out. “Pursuing bartending as a craft & not just a job has pushed me,” shared Robert Boughner. In short, while your individual personality and authentic self are important for being behind the bar, there are still skills you need to develop to stand out. Patrick Todd added, “I’ve always been outgoing and really enjoy hearing about the journey of our guests. It’s definitely a skill I’ve worked on improving over the last 10 years.”

Being unique behind the bar has an innumerable benefits, for one it helps you bring regulars in as you develop relationships. And, as Boughner notes, “No matter where you work, in the end we market ourselves.” Whether you’re making friends for life while behind the bar, as bartender Sadiyyah Iddeen does, or creating a community of regular customers, standing out with your work is always worth the time. Todd adds that when putting in the effort to be unique, the extra effort goes a long way, “While most guest may not appreciate or realize the attention to detail, the quality work you do can never be questioned.”

So, how do you go about actually making sure you stand out?

Step 1: From Robert Boughner

“Everyone and every place has something to teach you. Go to every establishment you can, craft, flair, sports, beer, wine, dive, everyone has something to teach you, just watch. You will be surprised how big your bag of tricks can get when you stay open minded.”

Step 2: From Sadiyyah Iddeen

“Being a part of social media groups geared toward this industry. Go to industry parties and events. Read local articles which can help you learn about events and outstanding bartenders in your area.”

Step 3: From Patrick Todd

“Exploring beyond your comfort zone.  Don’t be afraid to try something completely foreign or new to you. Also, never be afraid to ask questions.”