Is becoming a bartender right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do bartenders do?
Career Satisfaction
Are bartenders happy with their careers?
What are bartenders like?

Still unsure if becoming a bartender is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a bartender or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become a Bartender

To become a bartender in the United States, there are several steps you can take. Here is a detailed guide on how to pursue a career as a bartender:

  • Research state and local requirements: Start by researching the specific requirements for becoming a bartender in the state and city where you plan to work. Regulations regarding age restrictions, alcohol serving certifications, and licensing can vary. It's essential to understand and comply with these requirements before proceeding.
  • Meet the legal age requirement: In most states, the legal drinking age is 21. To work as a bartender, you must meet this age requirement.
  • Obtain the necessary certifications: Many states and establishments require bartenders to hold a valid alcohol server certification. These certifications ensure that bartenders understand responsible alcohol service, laws related to serving alcohol, and how to handle challenging situations. There are various certification programs available, such as the ServSafe Alcohol Certification, TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS), and the Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training (BASSET). Research the certifications accepted in your area and complete the required training.
  • Gain experience and knowledge: While formal education is not mandatory to become a bartender, gaining practical experience and expanding your knowledge is crucial. Consider enrolling in bartending schools or workshops that offer hands-on training in mixology, drink preparation, customer service, and bar operations. These programs can provide valuable skills and insights into the industry.
  • Build a foundation of bartending skills: Familiarize yourself with essential bartending skills, including mixing techniques, pouring measurements, glassware knowledge, and basic drink recipes. Practice these skills at home or by working in entry-level positions at bars or restaurants, such as barbacks or servers, to gain practical experience.
  • Develop your palate and knowledge of beverages: Expand your knowledge of different types of alcohol, spirits, wines, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages. Familiarize yourself with flavor profiles, drink categories, and popular cocktail recipes. Stay updated on current trends in the beverage industry to offer unique and innovative drink options to customers.
  • Network and seek opportunities: Networking is vital in the hospitality industry. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with bartenders or industry professionals to learn from their experiences and potentially find job opportunities. Consider participating in bartending competitions or entering local mixology contests to showcase your skills and gain recognition.
  • Prepare a professional resume: Craft a well-written resume that highlights your relevant experience, certifications, and skills. Include any relevant bartending or customer service experience, as well as any training or certifications you have obtained. Emphasize your ability to provide exceptional customer service and work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Apply for bartending positions: Begin applying for bartending positions at bars, restaurants, hotels, or other establishments that align with your career goals. Submit your resume, along with a well-crafted cover letter expressing your enthusiasm and passion for bartending. Consider starting at entry-level positions and working your way up as you gain more experience.
  • Ace the interview and demonstrate your skills: Prepare for bartending interviews by researching the establishment, understanding their menu and drink offerings, and practicing common interview questions. During the interview, showcase your knowledge, confidence, and passion for bartending. If possible, offer to demonstrate your drink-making skills or provide a portfolio of your creative drink recipes.
  • Continuously learn and grow: Once you secure a bartending position, continue to enhance your skills, expand your knowledge, and stay updated on industry trends. Attend workshops, take advanced courses, and seek opportunities for professional development. By continuously learning and growing, you can excel in your bartending career.

Helpful Resources
There are numerous resources available to bartenders that can help them enhance their skills, stay updated on industry trends, and find valuable information. Here are some key resources for bartenders:

Books and Educational Materials

  • "The Craft of the Cocktail" by Dale DeGroff
  • "Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail" by Dave Arnold
  • "The Joy of Mixology" by Gary Regan
  • "Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails" by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald, and Alex Day
  • "The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique" by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Online Courses and Training

  • BarSmarts: Offers online bartender certification courses developed by industry experts.
  • Udemy: Provides a wide range of online bartending courses, from beginner to advanced levels.
  • TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS): Offers alcohol server training and certification programs.

Bartending Organizations and Associations

  • United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG): A professional organization that offers networking opportunities, educational resources, and competitions for bartenders.
  • Tales of the Cocktail Foundation: Hosts annual cocktail festivals, seminars, and educational programs for bartenders.

Bartending Magazines and Publications

  • "Imbibe Magazine": A print and online publication that covers the latest trends, recipes, and industry news.
  • "Difford's Guide": Provides cocktail recipes, product reviews, and industry insights.

Online Communities and Forums

  • r/bartenders: A subreddit dedicated to bartending discussions, tips, and advice.
  • EBS (European Bartender School) Community: An online platform for bartenders to connect, share knowledge, and participate in discussions.

YouTube Channels and Podcasts

  • "How To Drink" with Greg: A YouTube channel that explores cocktail recipes, techniques, and history.
  • "The Speakeasy": A podcast hosted by Damon Boelte, featuring interviews with industry professionals and discussions on bartending and spirits.

Industry Events and Competitions

  • Tales of the Cocktail: An annual cocktail conference and festival that brings together bartenders, industry experts, and enthusiasts.
  • World Cocktail Championships: A global bartending competition organized by the International Bartenders Association (IBA).

Social Media

  • Instagram: Follow bartenders, mixologists, and industry influencers to discover new recipes, techniques, and trends.
  • Facebook Groups: Join bartending-related groups to connect with fellow professionals, share knowledge, and stay updated on industry news.

These resources offer a wealth of information, inspiration, and networking opportunities for bartenders. It's important to explore and utilize various sources to continuously grow and stay connected to the ever-evolving world of bartending.