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Job Description:

Bartender - Merchant - Madison, WI

Merchant, located at 121 S. Pinckney St. in Madison, WI, is seeking an elite crew of intermediate and veteran bartenders to join our team.  

Rule No. One Hospitality Group opened Merchant in late 2010 as a café, a shop, and a late night craft cocktail bar specializing in no-nonsense, modestly priced, seasonal fare that reflects the ingredients and burgeoning culture of Madison, Wisconsin.  Here we celebrate our neighborhood, the First Settlement District, steeped in history, quality, authenticity, style, and entertainment.  The idea has flourished as Merchant has become a Madison institution and a stage for showcasing some of the best bartending and culinary talent in the city with a distinctive menu steeped in the classic American repertoire.  Now, in 2022, we are rebuilding and reimagining Merchant for the new decade with a state-of-the-art renovation featuring aviation-style windows, new finishes and wraparound seating. This will be an opportunity to rebuild not only with new decor and menu, but a culture that celebrates our hospitality group's mission to create spaces for treating each other and ourselves well.  You will be working with a chef team led by some of Madison's top talent, including Chef Matt Schieble who has spent time in multiple Michelin-starred kitchens and General Manager Maggie Roovers, a 2019 James Beard Award semi-finalist.

Our bartenders’ primary focus is on the guest experience while mastering steps of service to make our guests repeat customers and providing them with the finest quality drink.  The bartender role is divided between drink production, menu and product knowledge, guest service and sales, and bar operations:


Merchant Drink Production and Product Knowledge

  • Prepare and serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks consistent with the restaurant’s standard drink recipes and methods.  Must use correct glassware and builds for all products sold.

    • The Merchant Bartender is expected to have an understanding of the palate in relation to taste categories and the mechanics of tasting in order to produce balanced drinks and how ingredients affect taste.

    • They are expected to have an understanding of the DNA of cocktails and how ‘mixology’ works at a base level: the Classic Cocktail Recipe of “Strong/Weak & Sweet/Tart”; the roles of base/modifier/accent; the Aperitif; the Digestif; the major cocktail types; Balancing a drink. 

  • Be knowledgeable about every product and menu item served: what it tastes of; what it is made from; where it comes from; how strong it is; how it is made; if and how it is aged.

    • Extensive knowledge of cocktail builds and history of beverages; curating your own original drinks for specials and menus; ability to craft drinks to customer specifications

    • Wine knowledge expected by region, grape and year; proper wine service skills

    • Knowledge of major beer types and serving styles

    • Knowledge of spirits carried and all N/A offerings

  • Every drink needs to demonstrate the skills of the bartender with a keen awareness to improve speed and efficiency of drink production without compromising the quality of the product.

  • Be knowledgeable about every kitchen menu item served: ingredient descriptions, what it tastes of; where it comes from.


Customer Service / Sales

  • Master the Steps of Bar Service: 1. The Greeting - 2. The Drink Order - 3. Making The Drink - 4. Food Order -  5. Guest Awareness / Conversation - 6. Checking Back - 7. The Farewell 

  • Know at least 3 ‘selling points’ for each bar & food product – whatever the bartender personally feels for the drink/brand as interesting be it technical, trivial or personal. 

  • The Merchant bartender is expected to treat every person as a guest and not just a customer and shall the respect them as such: judge the level of involvement the particular guest wants and cater to that; recommend improvements in their drinking habits, if asked, yet serve every drink with the utmost care and attention; acting as a ‘host’ to all your guests and acting accordingly.

  • Be aware of the profit motivation of bars and as such will be aware of relationships with suppliers: Implement positive selling techniques. 

Bar Operations

  • Knowledge of all tools and actions of a craft cocktail, high volume bar or restaurant: bottles and how handle them; pourers and pouring accurately in legal measures; glassware types and how to handle/care for glasses; shakers, mixing glasses; bar spoons and stirring, layering; strainers; drinks mats; blended drinks; ice types and usage; basic bar set-up; cellar and stock management; coffee and hot drinks service; cleaning procedures and importance; fridges and chilling.

  • Check identification of guests to verify age requirements for purchase of alcohol.

  • Money Handling- Accept guest payment, process credit card charges, and make changes if necessary.

  • Record drink orders accurately and immediately after having received them into the register system.

  • Managing your Schedule: Responsibly handle on-call shifts, time-off requests, getting shifts covered, and manager communications within the allotted time frame.



The role will report directly to the Bar Leads, Assistant General Manager and General Manager of Merchant.


  • Competitive wages

  • A flexible and predictable schedule that is posted two weeks in advance

  • 50% dining discount for you and your friends and family

  • A free and healthy GF Vegetarian or Regular staff meal

  • 50% off all food and beverage, 15% off retail items

  • Access to Merchant's online classroom with training materials, recipes, and checklists.  After full orientation, we offer weekly paid training opportunities to taste wine, spirits and food with industry experts

  • Our mission is centered around treating each other and ourselves well through our love of food, drink, and community.

  • Sustainability must be possible and attainable in our industry!

  • All employees are offered health, dental and vision insurance

  • Paid time off

  • 401k contribution coming soon

  • The chance to work in a brand new clean facility with state of the art new equipment

  • The chance to contribute to one of the most dynamic restaurant groups in the region

Our ideal bartender has the following attributes:

  • 2+ years of bartending experience.  High volume craft cocktailing experience preferred.  Fine dining hospitality experience preferred

  • Knowledge of all tools and actions of a craft cocktail is required,

  • The ideal bartender has good personal qualities, is polite, confident, a great sense of humor and above all, enjoys dealing with people.

  • The bartender should be warm and genuine using verbiage and vocabulary that is guest-focused and positive

  • Able to thrive in a team environment as a reliable and trustworthy player on the floor.

  • The bartender, along with all staff members, is expected to be clean, neat and tidy in their personal appearance and also in their working habits; they shall also maintain the highest standards of hygiene in their workplace.

  • The bartender, along with all staff members, is expected to embody the organizational mission and caring, inclusive, and authentic values in terms of who we are and what we believe.  

Our Values:

  • Inclusivity.  We will establish a culturally diverse and  inclusive environment, one that specifically supports minorities, all genders, and those historically underrepresented in our industry.

  • Humility. We are modest about capabilities, admit mistakes, and create the space for others to contribute.

  • Effective Collaboration. We are a team centered around positivity, that stands for one message which involves empowering others, empathizing with each other, and uplifting others as a collective.

  • Respect and Justice / Health and Well-Being. All team members need to be treated respectfully and fairly.  This pertains to equity in pay, and specific attention to physical/mental health, well-being and safety.

  • Positivity and Love of Food and Community. Cooking and serving others is a powerful act of caring and love for one another.  Let us work together to bring our community together through the power of food and drink


Pay Rate: $8-10/hr + tips, depending on experience. As much as $1,200 per week.​

Merchant is an equal opportunity employer, with a mission to support women, Black, LGBTQ+ applicants.  As an organization, we support a minimum wage of $16/hour.

RNO is a mission-driven lifestyle company dedicated to creating spaces for celebrating and treating each other and ourselves well.  We seek to provide warm, fun and an endlessly interesting mix of inspired programming that challenges, invigorates and delights our guests by celebrating our craft, who we are, what we do and what we believe. As a community-driven hospitality management organization, we are active in social causes supporting women, Black, LGBTQ+, and Indigenous communities everywhere. Cook It Forward is a non-profit advocacy arm of Rule No One Hospitality, Inc. with a mission to address ongoing inequities in our food systems. We are all working collectively on social entrepreneurship, social equity, and social justice-- one meal at a time.

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Bartender - Merchant - Madison, WI

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