What does a bartender job description entail?

So you want to know what a bartender job description contains? Here’s a snapshot of what a bartender does on a daily basis:

  • Makes and serves drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic
  • Continuously replenishes stock and cleans all parts of the bar that are on show
  • Constantly talks to customers, to find out their needs or to simply socialise
  • Processes customers’ payments

The 9 duties on every bartender job description

1. Greet customers with a friendly face and welcome them into your bar

bartender smiling

Even if it’s a rainy and cold Monday evening, you need to greet each customer with a friendly smile. Everybody knows how important first impressions are, and that’s never truer than in the hospitality industry. Welcome each customer into the bar, and remember that they all represent an opportunity for you and the business.

2. Check customers’ identification and confirm they meet the legal drinking age

“I haven’t got my identification but I’ve got my library card (which expired last year) that has my age on it…” It is essential that you watch out for people like this, if they haven’t got the necessary identification to prove they are of the legal drinking age, you can’t serve them! Tell them to pop back home and bring their identification with them or make them a mocktail.

3. Make and serve drinks of all kinds, and remember the recipes

The numero uno on a bartender job description. As a bartender, you’ll be asked to make so many different drinks day in, day out. You’ll whip up classic cocktails, drinks people have made up on the spot, and you may even have to heat up some chocolate milk for a sleepy five year old. That’s one of the brilliant things about bartending, no two days are ever the same!

4. Process customer payments as quickly as you can

customer paying at the bar

It may sound basic but get to know your till like the back of your hand, every option, every little trick to speed up the paying process. There is nothing worse than it being three deep at the bar and you can’t remember how to remove the four packs of peanuts that you’ve mistakenly added to a customer’s bill.

5. Continuously replenish stock and clean all parts of the bar

You’ve just been asked for two Vodka and cokes but you’ve only got one coke bottle left, what do you do? These type of situations can easily be avoided by simply observing what is low on stock and running into the back to grab some more – failing to prepare is preparing to fail!

6. Constantly talk to customers to find out their needs or simply socialise with them

You can secretly find out if the customer wants another drink or something to eat. If the conversation is flowing, they will feel more comfortable and inclined to stay longer and enjoy another cocktail. This is all crucial extra money for your business. Up-sell drink and snack items to customers.

7. Remember the locals’ preferences

bartender talking with a customer

The dark horse on all bartender job descriptions, it’s definitely worth your time and effort. Try to remember which glass 49 year old Harry drinks his one Gin and Tonic from every day after work. It may seem like a small detail but it has a massive impact, your locals are the people who keep your bar alive. Treat them like superstar customers.

8. Own the floor – take orders efficiently

Get to each table as quickly as you can and take their order, or if you can only order at the bar, make the customers aware. There is nothing worse than leaving paying customers sitting at a table for 15 minutes and they haven’t even been served. Super fast service is the secret to success.

9. Respect and listen to one another at all times

A successful bar is like a good cocktail. Take away one ingredient and the cocktail is spoilt. Likewise in a bar, if one person is not working as part of the team, the entire bar is affected. One way to avoid this is to communicate loudly and clearly. Don’t commit a bartending sin by guessing an order, if you’re unsure double check with your colleague. You don’t want a miscommunication to happen so that table 14 ends up with six lemon jellies instead of six limoncello.

So now you have a detailed insight into a bartender job description, but what other skills do bar managers perceive as desirable? Read on to find out!

The 6 key competencies bar managers look for

1 Ability to work under pressure
2 Maintain high energy levels
3 Work as part of a team
4 Be loyal and reliable
5 Be customer focused
6 Have strong communication skills


If you master the nine responsibilities and can display the six key competencies above, you’ll climb up the ladder in a flash and become a bar manager.

What’s the difference between a good and an excellent bartender?

There’s just one small difference, but it takes time and dedication.

A good bartender will provide service with a smile, make the customer’s drink, take their payment and move on, this meets all the requirements on a bartender job description.

An excellent bartender will go above and beyond the customer’s expectations. They will provide them with an unforgettable experience from start to finish. They will create a drink that will excite the customer’s taste buds whilst effortlessly socialising and entertaining them. A customer will leave an excellent bartender’s bar and feel like they have chatted to a friend, not to the bartender.