What are the Requirements for Becoming a Bartender?


Bartending can be either a fun hobby or a lucrative job, given that you meet the requirements. Most states have strict liquor laws, which prohibits a variety of people from serving or selling alcohol. Along with mixing and serving drinks, most bartenders are required to closely check forms of identification in order to prevent underage drinking from happening on business grounds.


  • Depending on the state, bartenders are required to be at least 21 years of age. In some states, individuals who are 18 years old can serve alcohol, but generally in waitressing situations. Some state laws will allow 18-year-olds to serve closed alcoholic beverages such as cans or bottles of beer. Look at your specific state laws to find out what the policies that apply to you are.

Liquor Card

  • Many states require that all bartenders hold a liquor card. This is a small license that allows the card holder to serve alcohol in business situations, while the card is valid. In some cases, the card must be reinstated yearly, and in others it can be valid for up to three years.


  • Depending on where you are trying to work, you may be required to have bartending experience. This experience can count as past jobs in many situations. Some businesses, generally more upscale establishments, want employees to attend bartending school to obtain a bartending license. Bartending schools are located in most major cities and are meant to teach students technique and liquor safety.


  • Your personal record can hinder your bartender employment eligibility. In most states, convicted felons are prohibited from serving alcohol. This doesn't always mean that they can't work in the establishment, felons are just not eligible to bartend.

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