How to Know When to Hire a Bartender

How to Know When to Hire a Bartender

Hiring a bartender can upgrade your event from coach to first-class. They keep the drinks flowing and the spirits high and save you from playing mixologist when you should be the life of the party. More importantly, a bartender helps in controlling alcohol consumption, reducing waste and costs, and ensuring compliance with local alcohol regulations.

So, why hire a bartender? Because they’re the secret ingredient to an event where you get to sip, savour, and actually enjoy without worrying about running out of ice or serving lopsided drinks!

What is Best, a Bartender or a Self-Service Bar?

Ah, the classic event dilemma: to hire a bartender or to go with a self-service bar? Let’s break it down.

Hiring a bartender is like having a party wizard at your disposal. They mix, they mingle, they keep everyone from over drinking. 

On the flip side, a self-service bar is the wild west of event drinking. Generally, a self-service bar is less expensive than hiring a professional bartender. It’s fun, it’s casual, but it can turn into a free-for-all, with the potential for mess, excess, and the mysterious disappearance of your favourite spirits.

So, what’s best? If you fancy a smooth, sophisticated bash where you’re not stuck playing bartender all night and want to avoid the morning-after mystery of “who spilled what where,” then hiring a bartender is a no brainer. But if you’re all for a laid-back vibe where your guests get to unleash their inner mixologists without supervision, then saddle up for the self-service bar experience. 

Here are some comments we found at a wedding forum about the topic:

“I wouldn’t suggest doing a self-serve bar. People tend to over-pour and waste drinks. I have been to so many events and see half bottles of beer and cups full of alcohol left sitting around… Instead of guests taking a whole beer, have someone pour half into cups.”

“Who would replenish the drink dispensers when they are low, how will I make sure everything is cold, who will our the toast etc.”

“Unless you have some type of liability insurance, I wouldn’t have a self-serve bar. I think it puts you at higher risk for someone doing something stupid once they leave your wedding all because they were allowed to serve themselves at your bar.”

Either way, cheers! We’re sure your event will be amazing! And if you need help, The Clever Barkeep is here to assist. We’re certified, insured professional bartenders located in Dartmouth, NS, but we serve the entire Atlantic Canada.

When Is It Better to Hire Bartenders?

Some events where hiring a dedicated professional bartender is more convenient than serving the drinks yourself or having a self-service table include:

  • If you anticipate that your guests will be consuming a lot of alcohol, a professional bartender can help monitor and manage consumption.
  • When you want to relax and feel like a guest at your own event, having a bartender can free you from the responsibility of serving drinks.
  • If you’re looking to add a touch of sophistication and want to impress your guests, a skilled bartender can provide that with their expertise in crafting cocktails and providing professional service.
  • For events where you expect a significant number of guests, a bartender can efficiently manage the bar area, serve guests quickly, and reduce the wait time for drinks.
  • If you desire a personalized touch, such as custom cocktails themed around your event, a bartender can design and serve these unique creations.
  • For outdoor gatherings like barbecues or pool parties, a bartender can manage a mobile bar, ensuring guests have access to refreshments without having to go indoors.
  • If you’re hosting a wine, beer, or spirits tasting, a bartender with knowledge in these areas can enhance the experience by providing insights and managing the tasting.
  • To ensure that drinks are prepared hygienically.
  • When hosting a business or networking event, a bartender can facilitate a comfortable and conducive environment for conversation and connections.
  • In situations where you’re hosting a fundraiser, a bartender can add a professional touch, potentially increasing the perceived value and enjoyment of the event, and encouraging guests to donate more.
  • When you want a no-mess solution. Hiring a bartender can also mean less cleanup for you post-event, as they can manage the bar area and reduce the likelihood of spills and clutter.
  • To mitigate the risks associated with alcohol consumption, such as overconsumption, underage drinking, and alcohol-related accidents.
  • For events where engagement is key, a bartender can add an interactive element, such as cocktail demonstrations or mixology lessons, adding an entertaining dimension to your gathering.

Some event ideas where bartenders can be of help are:

  • Thanksgiving: Make your Thanksgiving gathering more relaxed and enjoyable with a bartender to serve your guests.
  • Labour Day Weekend: Mark the end of summer with a Labour Day party, where a bartender can help you and your guests relax and enjoy.
  • Milestone Birthday Parties: For celebrating significant birthdays, a bartender can make the event more special and enjoyable.
  • Anniversary Celebrations: Marking a special anniversary with a bartender can elevate the occasion.
  • Graduation Parties: Celebrating academic achievements with friends and family while a bartender takes care of the drinks.
  • Housewarming Parties: Introducing your new home to friends and family with a professional touch in serving drinks.
  • Holiday Gatherings: Be it Christmas or New Year’s Eve, a bartender can help make your holiday party memorable.
  • Retirement Parties: Celebrating a major life milestone where a bartender can add a sophisticated touch.
  • Engagement Parties: Making your engagement celebration more special and stress-free with professional drink service.
  • Family Reunions: Allowing you to enjoy the company of your extended family while a bartender handles the bar.
  • Themed Parties: Whether it’s a 1920s speakeasy or a tropical luau, a bartender can enhance the theme with appropriate drinks.
  • Bridal Showers: Adding a touch of elegance and convenience, a bartender can serve champagne, cocktails, or mocktails to guests, allowing everyone to relax and enjoy the celebration.
  • Weddings: To add a professional touch to your reception and ensure guests enjoy their drinks without long waits.

Now, speaking of weddings, one question we get asked a lot is…

Do I Legally Have to Hire a Bartender for My Wedding in Canada?

Not really. You don’t HAVE TO hire a bartender, however, if you’re serving alcohol at a private event in Canada, keep in mind that:

  1. Each province and territory has its own set of regulations governing the sale and service of alcohol. 
  2. Some venues may have their own policies requiring professional bartending services, especially if the venue holds a liquor license. This is often a measure to ensure responsible service of alcohol and to limit the venue’s liability.
  3. Having a licensed bartender can also affect your liability insurance for the event. Insurance providers may have stipulations about alcohol service that require professional bartending to minimize risks associated with alcohol consumption.
  4. The need for a professional bartender can also depend on the type of alcohol service you plan to have. A full-service bar with mixed drinks might require a skilled bartender, while a limited service offering beer and wine might not.

It’s best to research the specific requirements for your location and consult with your venue or a legal advisor to ensure you comply with all applicable regulations.

Wait, Some Venues Require Me to Hire a Bartender?

Yes, in Canada, some venues indeed require you to hire a professional bartender, primarily due to liability concerns. Venues want to ensure that alcohol is served responsibly and that there’s someone with the expertise to recognize when a guest has had one too many. 

Professional bartenders are trained to spot signs of intoxication and know how to handle such situations, reducing the venue’s risk of being held liable in case of an accident. Venues prefer to have a professional on hand to mitigate these risks, ensuring that the event runs smoothly and safely for everyone involved.

Can Anyone Work as a Private Bartender?

Sure, while your friend’s second cousin can help at your private event at your house and start slinging drinks, it’s wise to consider a certified professional. Most provinces don’t legally mandate certification for serving alcohol in private settings, but opting for someone with the right credentials is a smart move. 

So, for peace of mind and to keep your party on the right track, investing in a certified bartender is the way to go.

How Do I Hire the Right Bartender?

To hire the right bartender, don’t just look for someone who can pour a drink; seek a mixologist maestro, a cocktail connoisseur, someone who can take your event from good to unforgettable. Here’s your recipe for finding the perfect bartender:

  • Start with a bartender who’s certified. This ensures they’re trained in the fine art of alcohol alchemy and responsible service.
  • Choose a bartender with a track record of success. You want a seasoned pro, someone who’s navigated the wilds of wedding receptions, corporate shindigs, and birthday bashes with flair and finesse.
  • Great bartenders come highly recommended. Look for glowing testimonials that sing their praises loudly.
  • It might sound as exciting as watching ice melt, but make sure your bartender has liability insurance. It’s the safety net that lets you enjoy your party without worrying about the what-ifs.
  • Nail down the details in advance. Discuss rates, hours, and any extra fees to avoid any post-party financial hangovers.

If ticking all these boxes seems like too much, hire a professional bartending company like The Clever Barkeep. We’ll meticulously handle all the details we’ve outlined, ensuring you get top-notch service with the added peace of mind that comes from having a reputable company in your corner. Contact us today to start planning your next event!

Cheers to making your party a resounding success!


Related Posts