Bartender Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

Bartenders, or Mixologists, mix and serve alcoholic beverages based on customer requests. Their duties include verifying the identification and age of customers, preparing and serving alcoholic beverages, accepting payment from customers, cleaning glasses and bar utensils and balancing cash receipts to record sales.

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Bartender duties and responsibilities

A Bartender has a variety of duties and responsibilities, including:

  • Verify identification and age requirements of customers
  • Mix traditional and creative cocktails
  • Process payment from customers
  • Clean glasses and bar utensils
  • Make suggestions based on customer tastes and preferences
  • Record and balance cash receipts and prepare cash deposits
  • Open and maintain tabs throughout their shift
  • Build a rapport with regular customers to create a positive atmosphere
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Bartender Job Description Examples

What does a Bartender do?

Bartenders are in charge of managing drink orders at a restaurant, pub, hotel, club, or private event to keep customers satisfied during meals or social gatherings. Bartenders have extensive knowledge of common drinks which they use to recommend drinks to customers, prepare cocktails, pour beers and properly decant wines. Bartenders also entertain customers who sit at the bar by providing stimulating conversation and excellent customer service while filling drink orders for other customers. Their role is to ensure that customers are of legal drinking age and then prepare a requested drink to their specifications.

Bartender skills and qualifications

Examples of skills and qualifications for a successful Bartender candidate include:

  • Knowledge of applicable laws and regulations
  • Knowledge of mixology for traditional and creative cocktails
  • Understanding of unique and complementary flavor pairings
  • Impeccable customer service and social perceptiveness
  • Ability to evaluate customer satisfaction and responsiveness 
  • Ability to enforce company policies regarding the consumption of alcohol
  • Accountability in maintaining inventory and processing payments
  • Physical ability to stand and walk for long periods of time

Bartender salary expectations

A Bartender makes an average of $11.59 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Bartender education and training requirements

Bartenders need at least a high school diploma or GED. Many Bartenders also complete bartending school to earn a certification. Food and alcohol handling certifications are also available. Bartenders who need to craft different types of cocktails can also complete mixology courses. Nearly all training that a Bartender receives in on the job. They usually shadow experienced Bartenders until they feel comfortable working on their own.

Bartender experience requirements

Bartenders usually need some experience in a hospitality or food and beverage position. Experience as a Server, Hostess or Front Desk Agent is valuable. In some cases, entry-level Bartenders can start with no prior experience. Those working in a high-end bar or restaurant usually need at least a year or two of experience. If they need to mix complicated cocktails, they should have some experience, though bartending or mixology school can serve as a substitute. 

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Frequently asked questions about Bartenders

 

What makes a good Bartender?

Good Bartenders are extremely personable and excellent at multitasking so that they can simultaneously take orders from customers at the counter, interact with wait staff and pour drinks without making a mistake. They also have a great memory so that they can keep a mental list of the ingredients in signature cocktails specific to their menu in addition to popular drinks that customers commonly order. Excellent Bartenders who want to work at high-end establishments may also have the physical dexterity and agility to perform bar tricks to entertain their customers.

 

What is the difference between a Bartender and a Cocktail Server?

Bartenders and Cocktail Servers work closely together at nightclubs, lounges and hotels. A Bartender is responsible for mixing drinks while a Cocktail Server is in charge of submitting orders, picking up beverages and delivering them to customers. Some establishments do not have designated Cocktail Servers, instead having Waiters or Food Runners who are in charge of delivering both food and drinks or asking patrons to pick up their own drinks from the bar. Cocktail Servers and Bartenders both need to have strong knowledge of the ingredients in each drink so that they can answer customer questions and make recommendations.

 

What are the daily duties of a Bartender?

On a typical day, a Bartender starts their shift by checking their inventory and making note of what liquors, beers, wines and garnishes are out of stock. They polish glasses, organize the bar and set out drink mats, napkins and straws for customers to easily access. Once the bar opens, they chat with customers and make suggestions for drinks they might enjoy. In between making drinks for customers, Bartenders wipe down the bar to keep it clean and sanitary for new customers. At the end of their shift, they do a deep clean of the counters, kegs and floors.

 

Who does a Bartender report to?

Bartenders report directly to Restaurant Managers or Club Managers. Some establishments have separate Managers for front-of-house and back-of-house, while others have one person in charge of both the kitchen and the bar. Bartenders work closely with Servers, Hosts and Bussers to provide excellent customer service and streamline workflows.

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    Last updated: Apr 28, 2021