Long or Short Nails: What Is The Ideal Bartender Manicure?

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.

It’s important to maintain a well-kept appearance when you’re bartending, and your fingernails are no exception. You can bartend with long nails just as well as short nails, although it might take a bit to get used to doing things like opening cans with very long nails. 

Neat, clean nails are the best option since your hands will be front and centre on the job. Most bars do not have any rules as to whether you can have long or short nails or restrictions on nail colours or designs, but it’s always worth checking with your manager or reviewing the employee handbook to be sure. 

How hard is it to bartend with long nails? 

If you are used to having long nails in your regular life, you probably won’t have a difficult time bartending with long nails. 

Many bartenders find that it’s easier to do their job with shorter nails because they don’t get in the way as much, but there’s no reason why you can’t rock your long nails behind the bar if you’re careful.

There may be some things that are difficult to do with long nails like opening cans or bottles, typing on the POS machine, and picking things up off the bar. You always want to be careful that you don’t bang your hand or nails while you’re working because you could break a nail. 

Do long nails look unprofessional for a bartender? 

Long nails can look very classy and beautiful, and they’re a great way to showcase your personality. However, sometimes long nails can look unprofessional if they’re not well taken care of. 

To prevent your long nails from looking unprofessional, stick to flattering colours and minimal designs. Make sure you get your nails done regularly either in a salon or at home so that your nails aren’t chipped, faded, or broken. 

Will my long nails break while bartending? 

Bartending is hard work that requires using your hands almost constantly, so it is likely that your long nails will break more often. 

Because you are moving quickly to make drinks, serve food, and take payments, it’s easy to hit your nails on something which could easily break a delicate long nail. Another thing to be aware of is that where you are washing glasses and washing your hands so frequently, the constant exposure to water will also weaken your nails over time. 

How can I make sure my nails stay long and healthy while bartending? 

To help your nails stay nice and long even with a busy bartending job, there are some proactive things you can do to take care of your nails. 

Here are some tips to prevent your long nails from breaking while bartending:

  • Take hair, skin, and nails vitamins – The collagen in these vitamins will help your nails grow long and strong to withstand your long bar shifts. 
  • Keep nails and cuticles hydrated – Apply Vitamin E oil to your nails and cuticles every night before bed to keep your nails hydrated and help them grow. 
  • Find the perfect length – If your long nails are breaking often at work, consider shortening the length a bit to see if you can find a length where they break less. 
  • Take care of chips and breaks – When your nails chip or break on the job, cut or file the broken nail right away to prevent it from breaking further or catching on anything. 
  • Wear gloves – When you’re washing dishes, wear gloves to keep your nails from soaking in the water to prevent weakness. 

Is it sanitary to bartend with long nails? 

Bartending with long nails takes some practice and requires some extra effort to keep clean, but if you are diligent there is nothing unsanitary about bartending with long nails. You want to make sure that your nails are always clean and that they are not a length that will prevent you from being able to do the basics of the job. 

When you have long nails it’s easy for things to get caught under your nails, which can cause dirt and bacteria to get into the food and drinks you are handling if you’re not careful. It’s important to wash your hands regularly and make sure that there is nothing stuck under your nails while you are working. 

You should also be mindful of any nails that are weak or on the verge of breaking and trim them before you go to work to prevent any breaks while working. Get into the habit of checking your nails daily to make sure you stay on top of them. 

What do customers think about bartenders with long nails?

There will be customers that you encounter while bartending who will dislike your long nails. The same could be said about customers who dislike your hair colour or the colour of your shirt, so it’s not worth focusing too much on. 

Some customers may make comments to you or your manager about your ability to do your job with long nails, or they may even consider leaving the bar if it makes them uncomfortable. All you can do is put your best foot forward and make sure that you know you are doing your job to the best of your abilities, long nails or not. 

There’s no way to please everyone with your appearance or your personality, all you can do is your best. If you keep your nails clean and manicured and they don’t hinder your ability to do your job and maintain a clean workspace, there’s nothing to worry about. 

What is the best nail length for bartending? 

While you can certainly be a bartender with long nails if you are willing to go the extra mile to keep them clean and neat, the ideal nail style for bartending is short and sweet. 

Keeping your nails not much longer than the edge of your finger is the easiest way to keep your nails clean while working and also puts them at less risk of breaks. You can dress your nails up with pretty colours as long as your bar’s dress code allows if you want to add some personality to your look without the added length.

Can bartenders have acrylic nails? 

Acrylic nails are a good option for bartenders who want to have long nails because the acrylic makes your nail thicker which may help shield them against breaks. Nails with acrylic tend to be a bit stronger and hold up better to repeated abuse when you work with your hands a lot. 

As with any bartender with long acrylic nails, it’s important to keep your nails clean to prevent bacteria or dirt from getting trapped under them. It’s very easy to do when you’re handling food often. 

Wash your hands frequently while you’re working and check them for breaks or chips often. Wear gloves if you’re worried about breaking an acrylic nail or anytime you won’t be able to keep your hands clean. 

Good quality acrylic nails start with choosing a good salon and a nail technician that you trust. Make sure you go to a clean, reputable nail salon to get your acrylic nails done where they use clean instruments and have good overall hygiene.