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Career Profile: Bartenders

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

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 492,300 people employed as bartenders in the United States. The median annual salary is $25,000. Entry level employees earn approximately $17,940 per year and senior employees earn approximately $47,690 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Order or requisition liquors and supplies.
  • Plan bar menus.
  • Prepare appetizers such as pickles, cheese, and cold meats.
  • Stock bar with beer, wine, liquor, and related supplies such as ice, glassware, napkins, or straws.
  • Clean glasses, utensils, and bar equipment.
  • Collect money for drinks served.
  • Balance cash receipts.
  • Check identification of customers to verify age requirements for purchase of alcohol.
  • Clean bars, work areas, and tables.
  • Attempt to limit problems and liability related to customers' excessive drinking by taking steps such as persuading customers to stop drinking, or ordering taxis or other transportation for intoxicated patrons.
  • Take beverage orders from serving staff or directly from patrons.
  • Serve wine, and bottled or draft beer.
  • Plan, organize, and control the operations of a cocktail lounge or bar.
  • Serve snacks or food items to customers seated at the bar.
  • Mix ingredients, such as liquor, soda, water, sugar, and bitters, to prepare cocktails and other drinks.
  • Slice and pit fruit for garnishing drinks.
  • Ask customers who become loud and obnoxious to leave, or physically remove them.
  • Arrange bottles and glasses to make attractive displays.
  • Create drink recipes.
  • Supervise the work of bar staff and other bartenders.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
492,300
Annual Openings:
111,300
Increase in Openings by 2030:
33%
Annual Salary Range:
$17,940 - $47,690
Education Requirements:
Some high school