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Bartending can be a Creative Career

What do bartender do?

Bartenders typically do the following:

Greet customers, give them menus, and inform them about daily specials
Take drink orders from customers
Pour and serve wine, beer, and other drinks and beverages
Mix drinks according to recipes
Check identification of customers to ensure that they are of legal drinking age
Clean bars, tables, and work areas
Collect payments from customers and return change
Manage bar operation and order and maintain liquor and bar supplies

In addition to mixing and serving drinks, bartenders stock and prepare garnishes for drinks and maintain an adequate supply of ice, glasses, and other bar supplies. They also wash glassware and utensils and serve food to customers who eat at the bar. Bartenders are usually responsible for ordering and maintaining an inventory of liquor, mixers, and other bar supplies.

Some bartenders run their own bar or catering business. In addition to their standard bartending duties, these owners also are responsible for hiring, training, and supervising their staff; budgeting for and ordering supplies; and setting prices.

How to Become a Bartender

Most bartenders learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training usually lasting a few weeks. No formal education is required.

Many bartenders are promoted from other jobs at the establishments in which they work. Bartenders at upscale establishments usually have attended bartending classes or have previous work experience.

Although most states require workers who serve alcoholic beverages to be at least 18 years old, most bartenders are 25 or older. Bartenders must be familiar with state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages.


No formal education is required to become a bartender. However, some aspiring bartenders acquire their skills by attending a school for bartending or by attending bartending classes at a vocational or technical school. These programs often include instruction on state and local laws and regulations concerning the sale of alcohol, cocktail recipes, proper attire and conduct, and stocking a bar. The length of each program varies, but most courses last a few weeks. Some schools help their graduates find jobs.

Bartender vs Mixologist

According to BonApetit their is resurgence of the classic cocktail that has led to a whole new generation of bartenders, many of whom have started making their own infusions, bitters, sodas, and more. And titles like bar chef and mixologist are now common.

From BonApetit (see Reference link below) : "...However, while it's easier to find a well-made cocktail, the art of tending bar is being lost. In the words of esteemed bartender Jim Meehan of the New York bar PDT: "A mixologist serves drinks, a bartender serves people--many of my favorite bartenders can't make a good drink, while some of the best mixologists in America can't carry on a conversation."

I say, if you work behind a bar and serve drinks, call yourself a bartender; it is perfectly descriptive and free of any pretense. Would you call a skilled trash collector a trashologist?"

Professional Mixology Programs

ICE- Institute of Culinary Education NYC- Held in ICE's state-of-the-art Mixology Center, the program is designed and taught by ICE Director of Beverage Studies, Anthony Caporale. The creator of YouTube’s first instructional cocktail series, Art of the Drink, and the acclaimed Off-Broadway show, "The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking," Caporale is widely regarded as one of the premiere cocktail educators in the field. Having developed bar programs for numerous NYC establishments, including Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, as well as national restaurant chains, his experience combines the best of high end luxury cocktails and proven bar business strategy. Click here for a private tour.

Readings and References

Don’t Even Think About Calling Your Bartender A Mixologist. Here’s Why.- Huffington Post

What's the difference between a bartender and mixologist? - Bon Appetit

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bartenders,