How to become a Bar Person. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Bar Person do?
Bar staff, serve drinks in pubs, clubs, wine bars, café bars and hotels.
As a bar person your main duties would include:
- serving customers with drinks
- collecting payment and operating the till
- providing snacks, such as crisps and nuts.
You may also create cocktails for customers and, during busy periods, you may help serve hot and cold food.
You would be responsible for keeping the bar area clean and well stocked, which would involve:
- washing glasses
- emptying ashtrays
- storing empty bottles
- clearing and cleaning tables and the bar regularly.
You would also play a key role in creating a welcoming, friendly atmosphere and talking with customers.
You are likely to work shifts including evenings, weekends and public holidays. Part-time and seasonal work is commonly available.
Flexible opening hours for licensed premises provide the potential for up to 24-hour opening, seven days a week (subject to objection). This may impact on the type of shifts you would work.
Bars, pubs and restaurants can be very noisy, hot and crowded at key times of the day and during weekends.
How much does a Bar Person earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Full-time bar staff can earn between £15,000 and £18,000 a year.
- With experience and supervisory responsibilities, this can rise to around £21,000.
Salaries can vary greatly depending upon the type of bar or restaurant and its location. Tips from customers can increase earnings.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You will not usually need any qualifications to start work as a bar person. An outgoing, pleasant and helpful manner is usually considered more important than qualifications.
You may need a good general standard of education, and some large pub and bar chains will consider your ability to take relevant qualifications such as:
- NVQ Level 2 in Food and Drink Service
- Level 2 National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (see training and development section for details).
It would be an advantage to have some experience of customer service.
You will usually need to be at least age 18 to work in a bar. However, you could start a relevant apprenticeship at age 16. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeship website.
Training and Development
You will normally receive on-the-job training from your employer when you begin work. You could combine this with working towards:
- NVQ Level 2 in Food and Drink Service, Multi-skilled Hospitality Service, or Customer Service
- BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Food and Beverage Service
- the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) specialist courses in wine, spirits and other alcoholic beverages.
You could also take the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) courses and awards in subjects such as:
- Professional Bar Person’s Qualification
- Award in Beer and Cellar Quality
- Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing
- Award in Customer and Drinks Service.
If you have management responsibilities, you may be encouraged to achieve a Personal Licence Holder’s qualification. These are offered by the BII, NCFE, GOAL (through Education Development International) and GQAL (through Developing Hospitality Ltd).
Skills and Knowledge
- good communication skills
- an outgoing personality and a pleasant manner
- a smart and tidy appearance
- tact and diplomacy for dealing with demanding customers
- the ability to carry heavy crates, beer barrels and boxes
- the ability to memorise orders
- good number skills for handling cash
- the ability to work well in a team
- a flexible approach to work.
You will find jobs in pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels and other leisure complexes. You could also work in theatre bars, holiday centres, sports clubs, airport terminals, and on ships, trains and aircraft.
With experience, hard work and determination you could progress to supervisor, deputy bar manager and eventually bar manager. You could also move towards related careers including club steward, publican or bar manager with a chain of hotels.