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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.

Bar Staff Employment and Labor Information 2023

Bar Staff Employment Brief:

Facilitate food service. Clean tables; remove dirty dishes; replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, glassware, and dishes; supply service bar with food; and serve items such as water, condiments, and coffee to patrons.

Bar Staff Job Description

Here is a Job Description an employer might post for potential Bar Staff.

Bar Staff Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Scrape and stack dirty dishes and carry dishes and other tableware to kitchens for cleaning.
  • Garnish foods and position them on tables to make them visible and accessible.
  • Run cash registers.
  • Stock vending machines with food.
  • Serve food to customers when waiters or waitresses need assistance.
  • Carry trays from food counters to tables for cafeteria patrons.
  • Locate items requested by customers.
  • Slice and pit fruit used to garnish drinks.
  • Greet and seat customers.
  • Set tables with clean linens, condiments, or other supplies.

Typical Daily Tasks of Bar Staff:

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships.
  • Getting Information.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others: Assist customers to ensure comfort or safety. Greet customers, patrons, or visitors.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others.
  • Developing and Building Teams.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities.
  • Training and Teaching Others.

Bar Staff Skills and Requirements:

  • Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Equipment Maintenance Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Negotiation Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

Bar Staff Salary and Wages:

Average Salary: 58,450. Education: typical education requirements include High school diploma or equivalent.

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United States Advertising Sales Agents data

Data from May 2023 courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program.


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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