Bartender Job Description

Bartenders make drinks to order, and either serve them to directly to customers or through the waitstaff.

In addition to serving and mixing drinks, bartenders may also be responsible for managing the inventory at the bar and ordering more alcohol or other supplies when inventory is running low.

Since they rely on tips for the majority of their income, good customer service and interpersonal skills are incredibly important for bartenders.

Additional responsibilities for bartenders include:

  • Checking the IDs of customers to verify that they are of legal drinking age.
  • Stocking the bar with liquor, beer, win, and necessary supplies.
  • Arranging glasses and bottles into displays that will be attractive to customers.
  • Balancing the cash register at the beginning and end of each shift.

Work Environment and Schedule

Bartenders work in bars, restaurants, cocktail lounges, clubs, and anywhere else that alcoholic beverages are served.

The work can be stressful at times. During rush hours, bartenders have to serve many customers at the same time, which requires a good memory and efficient service. Because customers expect quick service, bartenders have to commit dozens of drinks to memory.

In establishments that allow smoking, bartenders may be exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke over the course of a shift. However, government regulations are reducing the number of smoking bars as time goes on.

Dealing with intoxicated customers can be one of the most challenging aspects of this occupation, though it can also be one of the most memorable. It’s hard to find a bartender without some good stories to tell.

Most bartenders work full-time, but there are plenty of part-time positions available as well.

How to Become a Bartender

Most entry-level bartenders are trained on the job. Training normally lasts a few weeks, and focuses on customer service, food service, and drink mixing.

Some bartenders take a course at a vocational school to learn the basics of the trade. These classes can last anywhere between a few weeks or a few months, depending on how often the class meets. Few employers require a class, though.

Fine dining restaurants and more upscale bars often require their bartenders to have significant work experience.

Related Occupations

Employment Outlook

There are currently 508,680 bartenders in the United States, with 22,200 new bartender job openings created each year.

Bartender jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Bartender Salaries

Overall Salaries

Bartender salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most bartenders make between $16,900 – $23,300 per year, or $8.12 – $11.22 per hour.

Updated: 09/02/2017

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