Bartender - Job Description, Salary and Career Outlook


The profession of bartender has several monikers such as barman, barkeep, barmaid or bar person – but the job is the same. Regardless of position title, they work in a licensed establishment serving alcoholic drinks to customers.

In today’s competitive environment, some bartenders have had to become experts not only making drinks but also putting-on a show. It has also become en vogue for bartenders to experiment with different combinations to create new and exciting cocktails as their signature drinks.

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Bartender Job Description

Besides lending a sympathetic ear to those who need one, a bartender is in control of the bar area of any restaurant. He or she must be great at multi-tasking; fixing a number of drinks quickly from several different orders.

Serving drinks and keeping your patrons happy are just two of the top jobs of bartender. Having an outgoing personality is also a major plus, and helps with making tips.

Duties and Responsibilities Include:

  • Keeping track of tabs for lots of customers
  • Knowing how to make a wide variety of cocktails
  • Being creative to develop your own drinks and cocktails
  • Talking with customers and had offering suggestions
  • Collecting money or credit cards
  • Creating attractive displays of bottles and glasses
  • Planning of drink menus
  • Working with chefs so drinks complement meals
  • Ordering of supplies and liquor
  • Making sure the bar area is clean and sanitary
  • Checking IDs to verify legal age
  • Limiting legal problems by cutting drunk customers off and calling taxis
  • Serving food and bar snacks when ordered
  • Coordinating with wait staff and other bartenders for efficient service
  • Staying on top of drink and spirit trends
  • Prepping fruit for garnishments
  • Making sure that all equipment is in safe working order
  • Reporting any issues to the proper authorities
  • Ensuring that people are enjoying themselves and not causing issues
  • Being prepared for potential problems and helping solve them quickly

Bartender Salary Expectations

According to the January 2013 report, the median salary for bartenders in the U.S. is $25,500, including tips and bonuses. The most-experienced professionals, called “mixologists”, can make upwards of $75,000 a year.

As with most jobs, a bartender’s salary may vary by a number of factors such as location, experience, employer and success of the to become a bartender

Career Outlook

The bartending profession is expected to grow by 9% through the year 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This rate is slower than average compared against all occupations, but higher than most culinary positions. It should be mentioned that this projection can be adjusted according to the state of the economy.

How to Become a Bartender

In the past, one of the easiest ways to get into the profession was on-the-job training working with an experienced bartender. While this still goes on today, those looking for higher-paying opportunities will attend a bartending course at a vocational school. These classes give students a great understanding of how ingredients can be mixed, and proper bartending techniques. Having a  bartender certificate can also show potential employers that you have the proper training to earn more money for the bar.