Bartender is a strange kind of anime. It does not have a continuous story but rather focuses on a customer every episode. During every episode there is a certain flow of pace which sets a mood that flows slowly through the whole episode. This is not a series I would recommend to other people as the right watching mood cannot be captured at will I think, it is something to stumble upon at the right moment for maximal enjoyment.
Though lots of liquor advertisement is done, it barely annoyed me as it blended in well with the bar and bartender who told something on the origin of that particular liquor.
Every episode shows the case of a customer who has a mindset that needs to be altered by the right drink. The bartender welcomes the customer and quickly sees right into his or her soul to provide the right drink with a metaphore to help the customer. The idea is simple and similar to animes as Death Parade and Jigoku Shoujo but in Bartender there is no action and killing involved. Also people are not punished but helped.
A lot of CG is used to make the bottles and glassware look alive. The characters look simple but believable and their bodily stance and facial expressions show very subtle details. In between scenes there is often a shot of a bottle of spirits (lots of advertisement are done here) to show what a customer will get.
The voice cast in Japanese was better than I expected, people sound real and believable and the script was done well. The music fitted nicely in the scenes as well.
I loved the opening and ending songs which is quite rare for me in anime.
Real people in real situations, everybody is believable and has his or her own story. I don't want to spoil anything so you can read other reviews, the wikipedia episode list or just watch it yourself.
A small pearl if you are in the right serious mood, a pile of advertisment thrash if you are not. There is no action and comedy, no single panty shot and nothing flashy except for lots of drinks. I loved the conversations and character insight/development in this small anime but as I already said, I won't recommend it to most anime fans as it asks for your full attention while little happens.