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Bar Service

Course CodeVTR204
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


  • Develop a knowledge of products and services provided by a bar
  • Learn about both alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks
  • Enhance your work prospects in hospitality and related industries 

Bar staff are employed in restaurants and bars for customer service: serving customers with, primarily, drinks and secondarily, food (occasionally other things such as cigarettes and cigars).

In some situations, bar staff may only dispense drinks and snacks such as nuts and potato crisps. In other situations (e.g. at a pub), bar staff may be required to take orders for "counter meals" and dispense the meals after they have been prepared by the cook.

General duties for bar staff at all times will be:

  • Providing customer service
  • Cleaning (including the bar, tables and glassware)
  • Prepare and serve drinks and customers orders
  • Customer relations

Bar staff often have duties segregated from food service staff; although in many restaurants, the same person might perform both duties. Essentially, food service staff are responsible for meals and bar staff for drinks and light snacks. Menus can vary significantly depending on the type of establishment. In today’s ever changing world, there is increasing innovation, and the rules of traditional bar service are increasingly broken. As such, bar staff may very often find themselves performing various food service duties.

Course Aim: This course provides basic knowledge for attending a bar or working as a drinks waiter or waitress.


Do you have an outgoing personality? Are you enthusiastic, committed and flexible? Bar service can offer you the opportunity to work anywhere in the world.


This course provides general knowledge for anyone who wants to work behind a bar or as a drinks waiter. In this course you will develop a broad understanding of the industry. Through this you will:

  • Become familiar with alcoholic drinks such as wine, spirits, beers and cocktails
  • Learn how to make non-alcoholic drinks including cappuccinos, chai lattes and other specialty teas
  • Learn how to provide quality service to bar customers
  • Mix a range of cocktails and other drinks and
  • Learn the fundamentals of wine appreciation.


Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction, industry orientation, presentation, bar equipment, layout, creating a menu, the law, staff qualities, hygiene and cleaning, dealing with staff, beverage dispensing equipment, glasses.
  2. Alcoholic Products – Beer, brewing process, lager, beer mixes, wines, types of wine, storing wines, spirits, liqueurs, aperitifs.
  3. Non-Alcoholic Beverages – Coffee, coffee blend, coffee grinding, coffee variations, tea, speciality tea, herbal tea, spiced teas, storing teas, brewing tea, water.
  4. Service Procedures – Dealing with customers, addressing customers, during service, recording, waiting, carrying plates, using a service plate, carrying glasses, carrying trays, handling food, guidelines for maintaining hygiene, money issues, using a cash register, accounts, tipping, refusing service, understanding substance abuse disorders, alcohol abuse.
  5. Mixing Drinks – Cocktails, mixing cocktails, bar flairing, terminology, general hints, measures, liqueur coffees.
  6. Wine – Wine selection, wine presentation, opening wine, serving wine, wine grapes, grape varieties, beverage list, serving temperatures.
  7. Bar Service and Problem Based Learning Project – In this lesson, students are required to carry out a project to develop a new and innovative bar service.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Develop a broad understanding of the industry
  • To be familiar with the range of alcoholic products found commonly in a bar.
  • To be familiar with the range of non alcoholic drinks available at bars.
  • Develop an understanding how to provide improved service to bar customers.
  • Develop an ability to mix a range of drinks
  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of different wines.

What You Will Do

  • There are six assignments that will need to be submitted relating to the lessons that you study.

Tips for Working at a Bar

Research has shown that many consumers are ignorant of the information on a wine label. Being afraid to display their ignorance, they often choose wines that are familiar with generic names.

A good wine list will have a range which satisfies all needs, with some generic wines, and some others, for connoisseurs. There should be variety in the price range and type. Be sure to include dry, medium & sweet wines; reds, whites, and sparkling. You may also offer Rosé.

When choosing wines for a wine list, it is wise to have a few tried and true labels that are familiar to a majority of people as many people may feel safe with them. It is also good to add some interesting flavours to the list by including some quality drops from exotic places such as a Pinotage from South Africa, or a Pinot Gris from Alsace. This may work to stimulate some discussion during the wine selection process and can help to establish a good rapport between a learned staff member and their customers.

Other drinks, where appropriate, should also be offered. Always include some non alcoholic drinks including cold drinks such as fruit juice or cola, as well as coffees and teas.
You should also consider offering drinks to complement the menu or style of restaurant. In a Greek restaurant, customers may expect to find "Ouzo", in an Italian restaurant they may expect "Lambrusco" and in a Spanish restaurant they may expect to find “Sangria”. Fruit cocktails may be more appropriate in a "tropical resort style" restaurant.

It is generally illegal to serve alcoholic drinks in any way without a license. You must check out and comply with appropriate laws for the state or country you operate in.

It is also useful to be able to offer low alcohol content drinks. There are many vineyards now producing low alcohol and low sugar sparkling and white wines.

If you have a personal interest or would like to extend your knowledge about wine and its accompaniments it is a good idea to undertake a wine tasting course. This will help you to understand the labels, the different flavours and aromas as well as how they complement certain foods. The following are considered to be complementary. This list is in not exhaustive and the complementary wines can vary depending on the vineyard and the age of the wine.

  • Hors d'oeuvre - Dry White Burgundy, Riesling, Alsace
  • Antipasto - Light or dry sherry
  • Oysters - Sparking Wine, Premier Grand Cru, Verdelho
  • Soup - Dry Sherry
  • Lobster - Hock, Pinotage
  • Seafood - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling
  • Fish - Chenin Blanc, Late Harvest (Sweet), Riesling
  • Grills - Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Red, Merlot
  • Beef - Burgundy, Vino Rood, Vin Rouge
  • Pork - Chianti, Merlot, Chardonnay
  • Lamb - Grenache, Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chicken - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Pinot Gris
  • Oriental - Shiraz, Muscat
  • Game Birds - Claret, Shiraz
  • Game (furred) - Burgundy, Shiraz
  • Salad - Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris
  • Sweets - Champagne
  • Dessert - Sweet Wine, Sweet Sherry, Port, Muscat
  • Cheese platter* - Red Wine, Port

* the choice of wine to complement cheese will depend on the type of cheese.

Many people will, of course, eat and drink in combinations other than these, perhaps because of their different tastes, or perhaps through a lack of experience and having become accustomed to these traditional combinations.

This course will enable you to:

  • Develop a knowledge of products and services provides by a bar
  • Learn about both alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks
  • Enhance your work prospects in hospitality and related industries




Meet some of our academics

Sarah PartridgeB.Sc.Zool (Hons)

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