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What Does it Take to Be a Bartender?

Bartender Example Mix and serve drinks to patrons, directly or through waitstaff.

A Day in the Life of a Bartender

  • Prepare appetizers such as pickles, cheese, and cold meats.
  • Plan, organize, and control the operations of a cocktail lounge or bar.
  • Stock bar with beer, wine, liquor, and related supplies such as ice, glassware, napkins, or straws.
  • Ask customers who become loud and obnoxious to leave, or physically remove them.
  • Supervise the work of bar staff and other bartenders.
  • Serve wine, and bottled or draft beer.

Things a Bartender Should Know How to Do

Bartenders state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Types of Bartender

  • Bar Captain
  • Drink Mixer
  • Barmaid
  • Bar Tender
  • Bar Attendant

Job Demand for Bartenders

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 611,200 jobs in the United States for Bartender. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 2.5% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 15,100 new jobs for Bartender by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 102,300 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Bartender are Colorado, Utah, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in Ohio, West Virginia, or Minnesota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Bartender Average Salary

Bartenders make between $17,610 and $42,230 a year.


Bartenders who work in Hawaii, District of Columbia, or Vermont, make the highest salaries.

How much do Bartenders make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $21,840
Alaska $28,180
Arizona $31,320
Arkansas $21,140
California $30,850
Colorado $27,520
Connecticut $26,970
Delaware $25,310
District of Columbia $43,600
Florida $26,040
Georgia $21,590
Hawaii $55,060
Idaho $22,920
Illinois $24,280
Indiana $21,970
Iowa $21,220
Kansas $19,160
Kentucky $19,530
Louisiana $19,350
Maine $29,320
Maryland $23,500
Massachusetts $31,170
Michigan $24,070
Minnesota $23,560
Mississippi $20,100
Missouri $26,480
Montana $21,570
Nebraska $22,140
Nevada $27,590
New Hampshire $23,540
New Jersey $29,600
New Mexico $20,610
New York $34,800
North Carolina $25,510
North Dakota $20,880
Ohio $21,880
Oklahoma $21,630
Oregon $26,660
Pennsylvania $23,380
Rhode Island $27,100
South Carolina $22,010
South Dakota $22,300
Tennessee $21,180
Texas $27,240
Utah $26,380
Vermont $36,720
Virginia $26,420
Washington $35,390
West Virginia $21,740
Wisconsin $22,740
Wyoming $22,060

Tools & Technologies Used by Bartenders

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Bartenders may use on a daily basis:

  • Web browser software
  • Facebook
  • Point of sale POS software
  • The General Store
  • Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale
  • MICROS Systems HSI Profits Series
  • NCR Advanced Checkout Solution
  • NCR NeighborhoodPOS
  • Compris software

How to Become a Bartender

Learn what Bartender education requirements there are.


What work experience do I need to become a Bartender?


Bartenders Sector


The table below shows the approximate number of Bartenders employed by various industries.


Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Bartender might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: U.S. Army Europe Images via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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