Bar staff or bartenders, prepare and serve a range of different alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in bars, pubs and hotels.
They are also responsible for maintaining the bar area, ensuring it is comfortable for customers and fully stocked with supplies.
Our thorough guide provides all the information you need about the role of bar staff, including responsibilities, training and progression opportunities and a sample job description.
- Bar staff job description
- How much do bar staff earn?
- What do bar staff do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs bar staff?
- Which junior jobs progress to bar staff roles?
Bar staff job description
Bar staff |The Defiant Deer Hotel
About The Defiant Deer Hotel
The Defiant Deer, based in Chesterfield, serves up the best in quality beverages and food. We offer a range of local real ales and an extensive cocktail list as well as a gastro-dining area.
About the role
We are seeking friendly and energetic bar staff to join our team, providing excellent customer service and quality drinks to our customers. In this varied role, you’ll be expected to look after everyone from local regulars during the day to groups of friends enjoying a night on the town.
- Mixing and preparing a range of different drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic
- Welcoming customers to the bar and taking orders, making recommendations where appropriate
- Processing payments including handling cash and credit cards, and balancing the register at the end of the shift
- Cleaning the bar and surrounding areas to maintain a sanitary environment
- Checking identification of customers when necessary, confirming customers meet legal drinking age
- Determining when to refuse service based on guidelines for responsible sale of alcohol
- Restocking and replenishing bar inventory and supplies
- Devising new and innovative cocktail recipes
- Adhering to all food and beverage regulations
Location & commitments
- Permanent, full-time position
- Based in Chesterfield town centre
- Must be available to work day, evening and weekend shifts
- Previous experience working in a customer facing environment
- Able to work flexible shifts (evenings and weekends included)
- Excellent interpersonal skills and a professional appearance
- Knowledge of preparing drinks including cocktails
- Knowledge of POS systems
Contact us to apply
If this role sounds like it matches your experience and skills, please send a copy of your CV and a cover letter to our general manager Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org
How much do bar staff earn?
Bar staff earn an average of £19,000 a year, with the opportunity to increase their basic wage through customer tips.
Bar staff salaries in the UK
- Low: £16,622
- Average: £19,000
- High: £23,000
Bar staff salaries can vary based on;
- Type of venue – e.g. is it a local pub serving basic beers or an upmarket cocktail bar in a five-star hotel?
- Types of drinks being served – e.g. is the role mainly pulling pints or does it require more complex work, such as mixing cocktails?
- Level of responsibility – e.g. does the staff member manage the bar by themselves or work as part of a team? Bar staff who take on additional duties such as balancing the register and managing stock may earn higher wages than those with less responsibility.
For example, bar staff working in a high-end cocktail bar or hotel will be expected to provide exceptional service and demonstrate extensive knowledge of spirits, cocktail recipes and wines. Therefore, they are likely to receive a higher base salary and tips than bar staff working in a local pub, or working men’s club, providing a basic service.
What do bar staff do?
This section breaks down the bar staff job description into simple terms, listing the tasks and responsibilities a typical bartender will carry out in an average working week;
- Preparing and serving drinks – Making and mixing a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks including beer, wine, cocktails and soft drinks
- Customer service – Offering customers a friendly and enjoyable experience, with friendly greetings and answering queries
- Handling complaints – Resolving any issues with customers and negotiating a positive outcome
- Maintaining the bar – Cleaning down the bar, washing glasses and ensuring all products are well stocked and displayed
- Taking inventory – Ensuring the bar area is fully replenished with drinks, glasses, garnishes and snacks
- Processing payments – Handling cash and credit card payments, ensuring the register is balanced at the end of the shift
- General cleaning duties – Cleaning the bar and seating areas e.g. clearing tables, washing floors and maintaining sanitary washrooms
- Adhering to service guidelines – Maintaining legal requirements such as minimum legal drinking age
What do bar staff need?
Bar staff need to demonstrate a mix of skills, experience and knowledge to effectively deliver their role.
While on-the-job training is often provided, here’s a basic overview of what’s needed.
While not essential, it is favourable for bar staff to have previous experience preparing drinks in a pub, bar or hotel. More senior positions are likely to ask for previous experience working in a hospitality role, or at least some kind of customer facing job.
Bar staff skills
To be successful in their roles, bar staff need to possess both soft skills and technical knowledge.
- Customer service: Interacting with customers and providing them with a friendly, enjoyable experience throughout their visit
- Sales: Identifying customer need and using the opportunity to make recommendations or upsell products
- Organisation: Overseeing the running of the bar, including liaising with customers, restocking supplies and maintaining a sanitary place of work
- Teamwork: Interacting well with other staff including fellow bar staff, kitchen staff and waiters
- Negotiation: Resolving conflicts and complaints with customers, and handling intoxicated patrons
- Professionalism: Presenting yourself well and representing the venue as a key member of the front of house staff
- Food and drinks knowledge: Ability to prepare a range of different drinks including complex cocktail recipes, coffees etc.
- Software knowledge: Using POS and other systems to manage orders and process transactions
Bar staff qualifications
Bar staff don’t need to have formal qualifications, especially if they are working in more junior positions. Many employers value a friendly and hard-working personality, and are then willing to provide training on the job.
However, there are training options for people looking to develop their knowledge and skills in bar work, particularly related to cocktail making and wine appreciation.
Levels 1 and 2 NVQ Diploma in Food and Beverage Service
Organisations such as Pearson offer these work-based qualifications to support students in the hospitality and catering industry. They cover topics such as safety and hygiene, collecting and delivering items for customers and maintaining customer care.
International Bartending Diploma
The London Bar School runs a four-week bar-tending course which teaches students more than 80 cocktail recipes and aims to improve product knowledge across spirits, wine and beer.
WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) qualification
Bar staff looking to improve their understanding of wine can undertake qualifications to become a sommelier (wine expert). These courses offer modules focusing on areas such as terminology, sensory evaluation, customer service and improving knowledge of wine and spirits from across the globe.
What is expected of bar staff?
Typically, bar staff will be expected to commit to the following;
- Full time or part time work – Bar jobs are available on a range of contracts from casual evening shifts to 40+ hours per week
- Shift work – Most will be required to evening and weekend shifts, as they are normally busy periods for bars and restaurants
- Location – Based on-site at the venue
Bar staff benefits
Bar staff receive a number of benefits in addition to their base salary including things like:
- Customer tips
- Training and development
- Extra pay for public holidays – Such as double pay on bank holidays
- Subsidised drinks and meals during shifts
- Staff discounts on food and drink
Who employs bar staff?
Bar staff are needed at venues across the country where customers are served drinks and food, meaning that jobs are widely available.
There are opportunities to work for large chains or independent venues, ranging in size and clientele.
These venues may include:
- Pubs and bars
- Music venues
- Event staffing companies – Companies who outsource bar staff to prepare drinks at corporate or private functions
Which junior jobs progress to bar staff roles?
Junior bar staff are entry-level positions within the hospitality industry and often require little to no experience. It is useful for the candidate to have some experience dealing with customers or preparing food or drinks.
Which senior jobs do bar staff progress to?
If looking to progress within the food and wine industry, there are a number of opportunities for bar staff to progress; these include:
Sommeliers are experts in wine and generally work in fine dining restaurants. They are re responsible for the wine service including talking to customers about their preferences, matching wines to food orders and demonstrating an extensive understanding of wine varieties and brands.
Bar managers oversee the running of an entire venue, including all front of house staff and kitchen staff. They are responsible for the venue’s profitability and devise promotional strategies to increase customer attraction.
Bar staff job description – conclusion
Working as bar staff is a great entry point into the hospitality and catering industry, offering a friendly and fun workplace and opportunities to progress in the future.
They also gain valuable experience in drink preparation and cocktail or wine knowledge which can lead to a specialisation in those fields.
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