When you’re serving a sophisticated drink, you’ll want to look the part. As a master mixologist or bartender, it’s important to exude an air of professionalism and expertise. This starts from the moment you meet your customer through to their first sip.
If first impressions count, then an outfit needs to be carefully considered to give off the right vibe.
But first, there’s a few areas to consider when decking out your bartending staff.
Practicality: First and foremost, a bartending outfit needs to be practical enough to soak up the spills. This means sourcing professional outfits made from resilient fabrics and that won’t let marks show up noticeably.
All Seasons: More than one bartending outfit may need to be considered for the changing seasons. Think about how styles can vary to reflect the changes in weather.
Style: You’ll want to consider a style or outfit that is timeless and stylish that the staff will want to wear.
Colours: Some establishments just have a colour theme, giving staff the flexibility to wear clothes of their choosing. These colours need to reflect the overall business, and worn together form some kind of uniform that will allow customers to tell who the bartenders are.
No Uniform: Some bars, particularly lower-key neighbourhood bars pride themselves on having no uniform. Nonetheless, it’s always useful to offer your staff a guide as to what’s appropriate to wear, since some establishments are smarter than others.
Message: What kind of message do you want your staff to convey? Experts, connoisseurs, experimentalist or mad professors? Think about the image you want your staff to portray and how their outfit can play into this.
A Brand Extension
For bar owners unsure where to start, first of all think about your establishment and what it stands for. Is it trendy and modern, or classic and refined – does it have a theme or heritage that runs through it?
Your bar staff is an extension of your business, and their bartending outfits should be a reflection of what you stand for.
Here are a few popular bartending outfits to consider:
Bibs are versatile solutions for stylish and modern bartending.
The Dandelyan Bar in London is a stylish destination, catering to a glamorous well-heeled crowd. Their bar staff wear muted grey shirts with dark green bib aprons with a leather trim. This ‘uniform’ goes hand-in-hand with their classy and sophisticated environment.
These bibs can be easily sourced online for around £110 upwards for a bespoke canvas apron with adjustable straps.
Leather bib options are available too, these can give off a vintage and premium feel, sometimes reserved for head bar men and women.
A contemporary look with a nod to times gone by, the shirt and braces combination offers a barrow boy feel that is distinguishable and smart. It can be pulled off by most establishments, but best suits those with retro menus or a vintage feel. Add a bow tie for a completely dapper look.
Although belt and braces can have unisex appeal, you can alternatively just have shirts with bar aprons. For an extra touch, you can even get your bar logo etched on the side, which costs as little as £16 from professional uniform suppliers.
And finally, be mindful that while white shirts look smart, they are not the most practical for mixing drinks!
Waistcoats and Jacket
Keep it old school and stick with a waistcoat or jacket! Given a new lease of life by Gareth Southgate, this dapper look always suggests expertise and knowledge, which makes it a great outfit for hotel bars.
Well-cut jackets don’t necessarily need waistcoats, as the bar staff at The American Bar at The Savoy show-off in their well-tailored outfits.
Great for bars that are experimental or high-end, these chef-inspired white jackets give an air of seriousness, often associated with the medical profession. If your bar is known for its avant-garde concoctions, or offers adventurous experimental drinks with a scientific feel to them, this uniform perfectly aligns with that vision.
Mixologists at New York’s upmarket Employees Only bar bring this look to life with minimum effort and maximum impact.
The solid use of black or white outfits is a tried and tested approach. It gives off an sense of style, elegance and sophistication. It’s often associated with business and allows the bartender to show off their skills without a loud outfit distracting from their expertise. The House of Machines in LA is one such venue that does this to a high standard.
If you prefer a colour code, rather than a uniform, make sure you offer examples to your staff about what clothes you would prefer – for instance, jeans, trousers, shirts or vests.
If you want to learn more about our extensive range of courses click here, they are comprehensive and will help you or your staff improve and learn new bartending skills.