What is a bartender?

A bartender is a person who formulates and serves alcoholic or soft drink beverages behind the bar. They are mainly employed to serve drinks at pubs, restaurants and other establishments which are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.

As a bar staff, they are responsible for maintaining the supplies and inventory for the bar and confirming that customers meet the legal drinking age requirements before serving them alcoholic beverages.

How to become a bartender?

You can take a college course to learn some of the skills and knowledge needed in this job, which will help you find work in the industry. Courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry
  • Level 1 Award in Professional Food and Beverage Service Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Professional Food and Beverage Service

You could do an intermediate apprenticeship as a hospitality team member.

This will usually take 1 year to complete. You’ll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.

Bartender duties

Bartender duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Assess customers’ needs and preferences and make recommendations
  • Mix ingredients to prepare cocktails
  • Plan and present bar menu
  • Check customers’ identification and confirm it meets legal drinking age
  • Restock and replenish bar inventory and supplies
  • Clean the bar, tables, chairs, and work area to maintain a sanitary environment
  • Organise the bar area to streamline drink preparation and inventory
  • Place orders for liquor, beer, wine, and other supplies

Bartender skills

To be an effective bartender, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Communication and listening
  • Extensive Knowledge of Drink Mixing and Garnishing
  • Discretion and honesty
  • Friendly personality and the ability to make conversation with new people
  • Flexibility and diplomacy
  • Attention to Detail
  • Positive Attitude

How to find a bartender job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the bartender jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for bartender jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Bartender Job Titles

When you search for bartender jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for bartender jobs include;

  • Barstaff
  • Barkeep
  • Barman
  • Mixologist

What does a bartender do?

The job of a bartender varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of bartender job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a bartender include;

  • Greet customers and create a welcoming atmosphere
  • Use a till to take orders and payments
  • Handle cash
  • Serve drinks at the bar or at the table
  • Keep the bar clean and well stocked
  • Give advice on drinks to suit customers’ tastes
  • Collect glasses and wash up