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Bartenders

What Bartenders Do

Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y69KZcKLfh0

Work Environment

Bartenders work at restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, and other food service and drinking establishments. During busy hours, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently. They often work late evenings, on weekends, and on holidays. Some work part time.

How to Become a Bartender

Most bartenders learn their skills on the job. No formal education is required. Most states require workers who serve alcoholic beverages to be at least 18 years old.

Pay

The median hourly wage for bartenders was $11.39 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of bartenders is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Overall job prospects are expected to be very good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.

Duties

Bartenders typically do the following:

  • Greet customers, give them menus, and inform them about daily specials
  • Take drink orders from customers
  • Pour and serve wine, beer, and other drinks and beverages
  • Mix drinks according to recipes
  • Check the identification of customers to ensure that they are of legal drinking age
  • Clean bars, tables, and work areas
  • Collect payments from customers and return change
  • Manage the operation of the bar, and order and maintain liquor and bar supplies
  • Monitor the level of intoxication of customers

Bartenders fill drink orders either directly from customers at the bar or through waiters and waitresses who place drink orders for dining room customers. Bartenders must know a wide range of drink recipes and be able to mix drinks correctly and quickly. When measuring and pouring beverages, they must avoid spillage or overpouring. They also must work well with waiters and waitresses and other kitchen staff to ensure that customers receive prompt service.

Some establishments, especially busy establishments with many customers, use equipment that automatically measures and pours drinks at the push of a button. Bartenders who use this equipment, however, still must become familiar with the ingredients for special drink requests and be able to work quickly to handle numerous drink orders.

In addition to mixing and serving drinks, bartenders stock and prepare garnishes for drinks and maintain an adequate supply of ice, glasses, and other bar supplies. They also wash glassware and utensils and serve food to customers who eat at the bar. Bartenders are usually responsible for ordering and maintaining an inventory of liquor, mixers, and other bar supplies.

Bartenders held about 654,700 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of bartenders were as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places 46%
Drinking places (alcoholic beverages) 26
Traveler accommodation 7
Civic and social organizations 6
Amusement, gambling, and recreation industries 5

Bartenders typically work indoors, some work outdoors at pool or beach bars or at catered events.

During busy hours, bartenders are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently while ensuring that no alcohol is served to minors or overly intoxicated customers.

Bartenders perform repetitive tasks, and sometimes they lift heavy kegs of beer and cases of liquor. In addition, the work can be stressful, particularly when they deal with intoxicated customers to whom they must deny service.

Because bartenders often are on the front lines of customer service in bars and restaurants, a neat appearance may be important. This is especially true in upscale restaurants and bars, where they may be required to wear uniforms.

Work Schedules

Bartenders often work late evenings, on weekends, and on holidays. Some work part time.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of bartenders.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Flight Attendants

Flight attendants provide routine services and respond to emergencies to ensure the safety and comfort of airline passengers.

High school diploma or equivalent $56,640

Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers

Food and beverage serving and related workers perform a variety of customer service, food preparation, and cleaning duties in eating and drinking establishments.

No formal educational credential $23,000

Food preparation workers

Food Preparation Workers

Food preparation workers perform many routine tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers.

No formal educational credential $24,800

Waiters and Waitresses

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.

No formal educational credential $22,890

Food Service Managers

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages.

High school diploma or equivalent $55,320

For more information about bartenders, visit

National Restaurant Association

O*NET

Bartenders


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bartenders,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/bartenders.htm (visited ).


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Kate Williams

Kate Williams is a business communications expert and is the editor of Job Affirmations. She is a professional resume writer and has studied Myers-Briggs personality types and how they influence career choice. Job Affirmations has hundreds of job descriptions categorized by the 16 Myers-Briggs types, by career interests and work values. Kate also shares her best writing tips including the proper formatting of emails and cover letters You'll find positive affirmations for work, inspirational quotes, career vision boards for your best year ever.

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