Bartender job responsibilities

Last updated: July 23, 2024
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Elyssa Duncan
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Bartender job responsibilities
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Bartenders are in high demand. In fact, over the next 10 years, the number of jobs is set to grow by 6%! If you are considering applying for a job behind the bar, you may be interested to learn about the top bartender job responsibilities.

In this article, we'll tell you about the most common bartender duties. Plus, we'll explain what makes a good bartender and give you a list of skills you'll need to do the job.

We'll also share our top bartender resume tips and let you know how much you can expect to earn in this job.

What is a bartender?

Bartenders work behind the bar in restaurants, clubs, hotels, and cruise ships. Some bartenders work at private events such as birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and weddings.

They take drink orders and mix and serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Depending on the venue, a bartender may also serve light snacks, including nuts and chips.

To be a successful bartender, you'll need to be comfortable standing for long periods. It's a fast-paced industry, and you'll regularly meet new people.

Jobs are part-time, full-time, and seasonal, and most bartenders work nights and weekends.

If you’d like to learn more about bartending jobs in your area, you can browse bartender jobs here.

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What responsibilities does a bartender have?

There are several bartender responsibilities. They need to know how to mix drinks and follow popular cocktail recipes. When serving drinks, a bartender may add garnishes and ice.

Bartenders work closely with wait staff and make sure the bar area and glassware are clean. They check the bar inventory and order additional stock as needed. Supplies may include spirits, snacks, napkins, straws, soda, and milk.

They're responsible for using the cash register, taking payments, and printing receipts. And they need to make sure their patrons are over the legal drinking age before serving them alcohol.

Some bartenders may help to design the bar menu, host events, or promote happy hour.

What skills do you need to be a bartender?

Bartenders need to have specific skills to be successful. Working in the industry can also benefits your future careers! Here are five skills that will help you be a great bartender.

1. Positive attitude

A bartender needs to be positive, friendly, and approachable. They work directly with the public, and a positive guest experience is their top priority.

Even if a bartender is having a bad day, they'll need to go to work with a smile on their face. The bar manager wants repeat customers and good reviews, and it all starts with happy staff.

2. Multitasking

Good bartenders work well under pressure. Bars can be busy, and the ability to multitask is essential.

Customers may have complicated orders with different drink requests. And bartenders often have to take payments, shake cocktails, and talk to patrons — all at the same time.

They need to be able to memorize orders and know how to make the most popular cocktails.

3. Teamwork

Bars, clubs, restaurants, and other venues usually rely on a team of people to run smoothly. There may be a bar manager, chefs, wait staff, security guards, and bar runners.

The bartender needs to be able to work closely with these other staff members.

For example, food and drinks may need to be ready at the same time. And bar runners, or bussers will need to clear the bar tables after each round and bring them to the bartender’s work area.

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4. Time management

Customers in pubs and restaurants can become impatient if they don’t get fast service. Part of the bartender's job description is to serve drinks in a timely manner.

They need to use their time management skills to get the job done quickly and efficiently. During peak periods, they need to make sure customers are served in the order that they arrive.

If there are multiple bartenders, they'll need to schedule their breaks for when it's less busy.

5. Communication skills

Communication skills are essential for bartenders. They need to use their interpersonal skills to listen and speak to customers, often in a loud work environment.

They need to have good body language and make regular eye contact. Sometimes patrons drink too much, and bartenders will need to practice conflict resolution.

They need to be confident asking people to leave and checking that customers meet the minimum legal age requirements.

What are the requirements to be a bartender?

Bartending jobs are often entry-level positions. To apply, you'll need to be at least 18 years old, and you may need a high school diploma or GED.

When you start, you’ll probably get on-the-job training. You can expect lessons in mixology, garnishing, and how to use the point-of-sale system.

To improve your chances of getting a job, you can take a short course at a bartending school. You'll learn how to follow different drink recipes and make cocktails, mocktails, and coffee.

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How much does a bartender make?

The median annual salary for a bartender is $44,960 per year or $23 per hour. However, bartenders can make significantly more depending on the restaurant and location. There are currently 654,700 bartender jobs in the U.S.

Top bartender resume tips

You can increase your chances of getting a job as a bartender with these top resume tips:

  • Customize the cover letter to the position and include the job title

  • Include any previous customer service roles or bartending experience

  • Mention any short courses or training

  • Highlight an example of when you've used conflict resolution skills

  • Proofread your work

  • Make sure your contact information is up to date

  • Flag your availability to work nights and weekends

What bartender jobs are available right now?

If you’re considering working as a bartender, you can see what jobs are available in your area right now by checking out the Jobcase job board.

Browse local bartending jobs on Jobcase.

Are you interested in becoming a bartender?

Bartenders work in a busy team environment, and they get to meet new people regularly.

If working as a bartender sounds like something you'd like to do, there are a few things you need to know.

We told you about some of a bartender’s key responsibilities, including serving drinks, taking orders, and accepting payments.

And we shared some of the skills you'll need to be successful, such as a positive attitude, multi-tasking skills, good time management, teamwork skills, and communication skills.


Don't forget to view job postings in your area. If you need help writing a resume or answering interview questions, check out our library of resources.

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