Bar Jobs: What Positions are Available
Bars are busy places with plenty of work to go around! If you're interested in working in a bar but aren't what jobs are available, we've got you covered. Browse our list to discover the best one for your skillset!
Types of Bar Jobs
Of course, you can't have a bar without a bartender— which is why this is the first job on our list. Bartenders are the ones responsible for making cocktails and pouring drinks, as well as serving those drinks to customers sitting at the bar. Depending on the setup of the bar, this bar job may also be responsible for delivering drinks to tables; other times, it's a cocktail server that handles this (more on that below).
Most bartenders need specific alcohol-server certifications before they can legally work in a bar. The licensing regulations for bartending training are managed by the state, so double check your state's rules for the specifics. On top of a bartending license, you should be friendly and outgoing to work behind the bar. Not only does a bartender's attitude make or break the energy in the bar, but having the right attitude will increase your tips.
If you've ever heard the name and wondered "What is a barback?", it's essentially a bartender's assistant. Barback duties include keeping the bar stocked (including ice) and clean. A barback is an excellent position for aspiring bartenders that don't have the experience needed to get hired as a bartender.
Many bars promote within, so if you do well at a low-level bar job like barback, becoming a bartender is definitely within reach if that's your goal. Barbacks don't have too much interaction with customers, so this is ideal if you're an introvert. They get a regular base wage—usually, hourly—that's supplemented by a portion of the bartender's tips.
Cocktail Server Jobs
Not every bar will hire cocktail servers. However, larger establishments will so they can keep up with customers' demands. Cocktail servers aren't much different than a typical restaurant server; their distinction comes from the types of food and drinks they serve.
Since most bars put alcohol first, and then supplement that with a few appetizers, the servers that wait on these tables are usually considered cocktail servers. But similar to a restaurant server, cocktail servers need to get a food handler card. Additionally, cocktail servers should maintain a positive and friendly attitude to ensure customers leave satisfied after every visit.
What is a busser? A busser is to the bar's tables what barback is to a bar. Busser responsibilities include cleaning tables between customers and maintaining general bar cleanliness.
Servers also depend on their restaurant bussers to help them during busy times—especially with things like drink refills. Bussers are paid a base hourly wage and then tipped with a portion of their servers' tips. The establishment that you're working in determines your percentage of tips. Still, bussers can typically expect to receive around 10% of the total tips.
As you may expect, the need for cooks or chefs in a bar depends on the food menu of that particular establishment. Generally, there is at least one cook in every bar. However, if a bar is larger or especially busy, there may be line cooks and prep cooks working alongside the head chef.
All cooks need to have their food handlers cards and should be up-to-date on their state's latest food regulations. Cooks don't have to worry about interacting with customers, but should still work well with others as working in a bar is a team job.
The last job on our list is the host or hostess. The need for someone to answer phones and greet customers is wholly dependent on the size of the bar and the amount of business it receives. If the bar is slower, the manager or bartender will usually take care of answering phones and greeting people.
Get Your Required Food or Alcohol Training Online
Now that you have a better understanding of all the types of bar jobs, does one stand out to you? If you're interested in serving or selling alcohol, you need to complete and pass a state-approved training program and receive your license.