"Bartenders are personalities, and good people always find work. There are work opportunities around the world if you know at least a little English."

Baarimestari Ortjo Nieminen
  • Ortjo Nieminen
  • Bartender at Another Doggy, owned by The Other Company Oy.
  • Graduated as a restaurant chef and later as a waiter from North Karelia Vocational College. Has completed the Specialist Qualification for Bartenders at Savonia Vocational College.
  • Thirteen years of work experience in the field.

Briefly explain what you do for a living. 

I'm a bartender and I work at the Another Doggy restaurant in Joensuu. My working day consists of the planning and mixing of beverages, customer service, and event planning. I also work as a restaurant manager in the same restaurant.

How have you ended up in the profession of your choice? 

At first, I thought I'd be a cook. I completed the last work placement included in the restaurant chef's training at a bar and stayed there to work after the placement. Soon after this, I ended up behind the counter at a nightclub. After I had worked behind the bar for five years, I felt it would be good to know more about the drinks. I started learning about cocktails independently, and later I studied a Specialist Qualification for Bartenders.

Describe your typical working day or week. 

The further the week progresses, the more fast-paced the bartender's work. Preparations for the weekend are made during the beginning of the week, such as unloading deliveries and making advance preparations. In bartender’s work, preparation means cooking up different liquids, such as syrups, cordials (i.e. flavour bases), and vinegar-based shrubs. Juices are also pressed in advance.

On Fridays and Saturdays, work is busy and mainly means serving and mixing drinks. At best, the bartender mixes hundreds of drinks in the shaker in one night, and works continuously under people's eyes. On Sundays, it is quieter, and the staff often meets to spend time with other restaurant professionals.

What kind of work environment or working hours do you work in? 

I work in a bar, which is a very noisy working environment. Tinnitus is a familiar problem for bartenders. Bartenders work evenings, nights and weekends.

What kind of competence or qualities are required in the profession? 

A good knowledge of non-alcoholic and alcoholic products is the foundation of the bartender's expertise. Creativity, customer service skills and patience are also needed. Combining different flavours and experimenting with new things require inventiveness. However, mastering an experimental kitchen is not enough, but you must also be a passionate customer service provider. When working in an environment where music is blasting and people are often drunk, you need good patience.

What is the best thing about your profession? 

The best part is when you can surprise the customer with a good cocktail, to offer them an experience.

What are the downsides of the profession or what seems challenging? 

The fact that the bartender's weekly rhythm is different from that of friends or family. It is common that you friend group changes to consist of other employees in the restaurant sector along the way, as it is difficult to maintain friendships or relationships with people working in day jobs.

Alcoholism is the pitfall of the industry. Even if you can avoid it yourself, you may have to watch other employees struggle with alcohol abuse.

What would you tell a person considering the profession of a bartender? 

Being a bartender is a passion: people do not end up working this job because of good pay or working hours. However, this is a fun job if you genuinely like customer service and want to play with different flavours.

How do you see the future of your profession? 

Bartenders are personalities, and good people always find work. There are work opportunities around the world if you know at least a little English. In the future, more non-alcoholic cocktails and low ABV cocktails, i.e. drinks with a low alcohol content, will probably be more popular.