A great bartender can make the difference between an average night out and a fantastic one. You might not think so, but a bartender at the top of his (or her!) game can really enhance your night out. Here are the qualities to look for.

Attentive, But Not Too Attentive

You don’t want a bartender that’s going to dominate your conversation or engage with you and neglect all his other customers. What you do want is someone who’s quick of wit, glib of tongue, and always notices when your drink is running low. If you’re having to chase down your bartender to remind him you need a refill, then you’re not in the presence of a great bartender.


If your bartender doesn’t know more about beer than you do, you’re in the wrong place. Any question you’ve got about any beer the place serves, and many that they don’t, should be at your bartender’s fingertips. If he hesitates or doesn’t know, find another place. It shouldn’t be up to you to train the staff. On a related note, bartenders need to be passionate about the beer they serve. It should show in their presentation and when they talk about it. In particular, they should be fussy about temperature, and be perfectly prepared to accept your decision if you find that the beer is not tasting right. Beer is a living substance and it can be moody. A great bartender knows that and will change the barrel if you say so.

Clean and Fast

The bar should be spotless. The bartender should be tending to it anytime he’s not fixing someone a drink, and where those drinks are concerned, he should be lighting fast on the delivery.

Gives Good Head

Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. Draught beer needs a good, foamy head. Not too big, and not nonexistent. Presentation matters, and a beer delivered to you with just the right amount of foam adds to the scent and flavor like you would not believe. A great bartender understands this and can pour a perfect pint every time, probably in his sleep.

Come enjoy the wonderful world of beer at the Edmonton International Beer Festival.