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Bar Staff Job Descriptions

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Bars, also called nightclubs, lounges, taverns or pubs, offer patrons entertainment such as a live band, DJ or pool and dart tournaments. A bar usually serves cocktails, beer and wine and some offer a food menu. The bar business is usually busiest at nighttime and on weekends when people are off work and stay out late. It takes work from all staff to run a successful bar and it begins with the bar staff. Bars have at least one bartender and a waitress or waiter. Larger bars will require several bartenders possibly running more than one bar, a waitstaff, security and a barback.


Bartenders mix drinks, serve beer and wine and provide conversation to patrons in a bar. In addition, a bartender can be responsible for keeping the bar area clean and take inventory. A bartender accepts cash payments or opens up a tab for patrons to charge drinks. Bartenders who serve alcohol to an intoxicated patron can be held liable if the patron leaves, drives and causes an accident. A responsible bartender will stop serving an intoxicated customer. About 50 percent of a bartender’s income comes from tips; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2006, income ranged from $7 to $13 an hour.

Waitress or Waiter

A waitress or waiter, also called a server, seats and takes orders from a bar patron. This can include mixed drinks, beer or wine and sometimes food. A waitress gives a bartender drink orders and many times is responsible for garnishing a drink such as putting a lemon wedge, straw or other drink garnishes. Servers work primarily for tips and normally have to tip the barback or busser if there is one. Waiters clean tables if there is not a busser and keep the tables clear of empty drink glasses or bottles and emptying ashtrays if the bar allows smoking. The median wage for a waiter is $8 an hour, but can be much higher depending on the bar.


A barback keeps the bar stocked with all the dishes and supplies a bartender needs. This includes clean glasses for wine or beer and utensils if the bar sells food. A barback will restock beer, change the tap on a keg and restock any liquor the bartender needs. A barback usually makes a salary and receives 10 percent of the bartenders' tips. Many barbacks eventually train into a bartender.

Bouncer and Security Guard

A bouncer or security guard often cards a person to identify if he is old enough to enter the bar. A bouncer will also monitor for any illegal activity, intervene if a fight occurs, and provide security so the bar runs smoothly. A bouncer will remove any patrons who are causing problems in the bar and make them leave or call the police.

Other Bar Jobs

Other jobs a bar may have is a hostess or host, on-staff DJ, and the bar manager or owner. A host greets patrons on arrival, collects a cover charge for entrance, and may seat patrons. Some bars will employ a full-time DJ that provides music or karaoke. Bar managers oversee the entire bar and can be the owner. They are responsible for the hiring of all bar staff, ordering supplies and maintaining the entire bar. They are also responsible for providing entertainment like hiring a band, DJ or other entertainment to increase business.


Prisca Rollins majored in accounting in college and minored in business. She was a Vet and Surgical Tech in the Army and a contractor with the US Army as an Admin and Marketing Coordinator overseas. Rollins is TESOL certified and has taken the PHR and Life, Health and Annuity Insurance Course.

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