advice for becoming a barback/bartender....?!

Question: Advice for becoming a barback/bartender....?
okay so ive wanted to be a bartender pretty much since forever and im finally trying to get a start on becoming one, but i need some advice. im 19 years old (20 in may) and i live in california. i keep hearing that 18 is the minimum age to be a barback out here. if thats wrong please let me know. i also keep hearing that bartending school is a waste of time and money, so i should become a barback first. well, first off, i have no experience at all, before i go looking for a job should i read up on some books about drinks and bartending or look up info on the internet first? and i also go to school in downtown san jose where theres pretty much like 10 bars on each block. should i just walk around going from bar to bar asking if they have an open barback spot? are there any specific things i should say or ask when i ask about the job?

i know these are a lot of questions but i need all the help i can get. haha. thanks guys.


Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

Bartending school is indeed a waste of time and money. Any schmuck can pour two or three liquids into a glass of ice--that's the easy part.

A bar owner needs staff who are quick, friendly, can think on their feet and honest (that's a biggie). Your best bet will be convincing someone to give you a chance, then running your *** off. A bartender makes money by pouring drinks, not stocking beer or washing glasses. As a barback, you need to keep the bartenders pouring. Pick one of the bars in your area and start hanging out, if they allow underage people in. DO NOT DRINK--you will not score any points by putting the staff at risk. Offer to help in any way you can, then work harder than anyone else.

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