How to Become a Bartender

Bartender jobs are one of the most sought-after hospitality jobs, with openings available at every type of venue from casual pubs to five-star hotels. Discover what it takes to start a career in bartending right here.

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How to become a bartender

Where to find jobs for bartenders and other hospitality workers

If you’re interested in meeting new people, having a flexible schedule and working in a fast-paced environment, becoming a bartender could be just the job for you. After all, bartender jobs are some of the most in-demand hospitality jobs available today. With openings available at every type of venue from casual pubs to five-star hotels, your job search just got a lot easier.

Below, we share what you need to know about becoming a bartender, including wages, general duties and career outlook.

Key info to support your bartender job search

How much does a bartender make?

The median hourly wage for bartenders was $14.21 in May 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The earnings for a bartender often come from a combination of hourly wages and customer tips.

Which bartender jobs pay the most?

Earnings vary greatly from establishment to establishment. For example, bartenders in popular, upscale venues will likely make more in tips than in wages. In major cities such as New York City, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, you can expect bartending jobs to pay more.

What are some venues where you can find jobs for bartenders?

Bartenders can work in a variety of hospitality and event venues, including sports arenas, music and entertainment venues, amusement parks, event centers and outdoor festivals.

Additionally, bartenders support movie theaters, private events such as weddings and corporate gatherings, fairgrounds and even convention centers.

When do bartenders work?

Bartender shifts might include late evenings, weekends and holidays. Many bartender roles are part-time jobs.

Bartenders may also work during special occasions or private parties, where schedules can vary based on the event’s timing and duration.

Top skills and qualities of the best bartenders

What are the main duties for this role?

Bartenders should be familiar with a wide variety of drink recipes and be prepared to deliver exceptional customer service. In fact, the most important part of a bartender’s job is to mix drinks and serve them directly to guests or through wait staff.

In addition, they monitor the cash drawer at the bar and perform regular alcohol inventories. They also keep the bar area clean in accordance with company guidelines and the requirements of the local health department.

What qualifications are required for this role?

Bartending jobs often require a high school diploma or GED. Candidates must also be legally of age to serve drinks. For many bartending jobs, the tasks are as simple as pouring drinks into cups, opening bottles and performing other basic duties.

Previous experience in bartender jobs is preferred but not required. However, some employers will be looking for bartenders with an understanding of basics like standard recipes and garnishes. Higher-end establishments may seek a certified bartender with experience as a mixologist from a credentialed bartending school.

What skills and traits are necessary to succeed as a bartender?

Jobs for bartenders require excellent communication skills and the ability to build a rapport with customers. A great bartender will also need a sharp memory and the ability to stay organized. Another important part of the job is monitoring how intoxicated guests are and knowing when to stop serving them. The safety of bartenders and their guests will always come first.

Is bartender school necessary?

Seeking a formal education in bartending is a personal decision every bartender must make on their own. Many bartenders learn on the job, but those who value networking or a more structured learning environment may benefit from attending bartender school.

The skills and opportunities you gain will ultimately depend on what you put into your bartender education. Check local rules and regulations to see what is required in your area.

Do I need a license to become a bartender?

Licensing requirements for bartenders vary by location, and some establishments may not require a specific license. Research the local regulations in your area to determine if a license is necessary. You may find that many companies hiring bartenders prioritize experience and skills over a formal license.

Future forecast for bartender positions

What’s the job outlook for bartender roles?

Employment of bartenders is projected to grow 3% from 2022 to 2032, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s about on average for all other occupations. Approximately 111,300 bartender jobs are projected each year, on average, over the next decade.

Is it hard to be hired as a bartender?

Just like many roles in the hospitality industry, your odds of being hired as a bartender can often depend on factors such as experience, skills and the specific requirements of the company hiring bartenders. Gaining relevant experience can enhance your chances of securing jobs for bartenders.

Networking within the industry and demonstrating a passion for your craft can also contribute to your success as you submit bartender job applications.

Can I work part-time as a bartender?

Yes! Many people become part-time bartenders to make room for other commitments such as school or childcare responsibilities. It’s common for bars and restaurants to offer flexible jobs, making it easier for bartenders to work part-time shifts. For aspiring bartenders, this allows you to gain experience and earn income while pursuing life outside of work.

Where can I find the right bartender jobs?

Check online platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn and other social media channels to find bartending jobs. You can also expand your search to include hospitality-specific websites and networking opportunities at local industry events, bars and restaurants.

Staffing agencies that specialize in hospitality staffing are another great resource. They may have more access to flexible jobs in your area, including bartender and other hospitality and event roles.

What are the benefits of working with a hospitality staffing agency?

Working with a staffing agency to find bartender jobs provides access to a wide range of opportunities in various hospitality and event settings. Additionally, staffing agencies can offer personalized support, guidance and resources to match you with bartending jobs that fit your skills and schedule.

PeopleReady connects you with bartender jobs and other hospitality jobs

Whether you’re a beginner bartender or an experienced pro, PeopleReady gives you access to flexible and temporary jobs in your local community. Our website and our app, JobStack, let you apply to barback jobs, bartender jobs and a variety of other hospitality jobs right from your phone. You choose work that fits your skill set and your schedule and we take care of the rest. Here are some examples of event jobs and hospitality jobs available now:

If you’re typing “bartending jobs near me” into your search engine, you’re in the right place.

Looking for bartender jobs?

PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company (NYSE: TBI), specializes in quick and reliable on-demand labor and highly skilled workers. PeopleReady supports a wide range of industries, including construction, manufacturing and logistics, retail and hospitality. Leveraging its game changing JobStack staffing app and presence in more than 600 markets throughout North America, PeopleReady served approximately 83,000 businesses and put approximately 226,000 people to work in 2022.