How To Start A Career As A Bartender

Bartenders mix and serve alcoholic beverages and other drinks to bar and restaurant patrons. Bartenders need to learn about various beer, wine, and spirit varieties and brands, and how to serve each.

Students also need to study and practice techniques of cocktail making, such as shaking, stirring, pouring, and muddling.


Excellent customer service is an integral part of being a bartender. You are taking orders, receiving payment and making changes, offering drinks, and talking to their clients. They also have a clean area of work and may be responsible for keeping their bar well-stocked.

Bartenders also make sure that the bar and tables are well supplied, take inventory, and order supplies. Photo credits to:

Responsibilities of a Bartender

The job title can vary from business to business. For this role, alternative job titles include mixologist or barkeep. These are some of the duties involved.

  • Welcome customers, read and listen to people to determine preferences for drinks, make recommendations, and take orders for drinks.
  • Plan drink menus and provide new drinks and specials to customers.
  • Ingredient collection and blending, glass garnishing, and customer service.
  • Check that consumers are the legal age to buy alcohol.
  • Make sure that the bar and tables are well supplied, take inventory, and order supplies.
  • Comply with all laws on food safety and quality.
  • Handle cash, credit, and debit card transactions, ensuring the accuracy of payments, and returning the correct change to employers, maintaining the cash register.
  • Collect garbage, wipe tables, and wash plates, utensils, and tools, maintaining a clean work and dining area.
  • Develop new recipes for cocktails.

Training to Become a Bartender

For their work, most bartenders do not undergo formal training. By serving as a bartender’s helper or assistant, you will teach yourself or learn on the job.


To undergo their initial training, some bartenders go to bartending colleges. Bartending schools exist throughout the U.S., and experts recommend selecting one approved by the education department of your state and providing programs that take at least 40 hours to complete. Bartending course students learn how to use bar equipment, mix a wide variety of cocktails, pour different types of drinks, and provide excellent customer service.

There is no strict path to this career, and as soon as you meet the age requirements of your state, you could start working as a bartender. Some states set the minimum age at 18, while others require you to be at least 21 years old.

Where to Apply as a Bartender

Gaining work experience will help you have a better chance of landing lucrative jobs with busy, profitable bars and restaurants. You may step into the management of restaurants or even open your own bars.


Check for job openings in your field and properly apply and interview. Look for opportunities that might suit your interests well; for example, if you’re interested in sports, a sports bar might be the right place for you. To find out about job openings in your city, network with others in this career.


If you want to learn about more opportunities that await bartenders or other jobs in the hospitality industry, click here.