How Old Do You Have To Be To Work at a Bar?

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At A Bar

Aiming to pursue your career as a professional bartender but aren’t up with how old you have to be to work at a bar?

The exact digit of how old you have to be to work at a bar as a bartender varies in different states depending on the jurisdiction and state law. Generally, age restrictions lie around 18 to 21 years to start your bartending career. However, each state defines its own minimum limit. For example, the legal age for working in a bar in Kentucky is 20, while in the case of Delaware, it is 18.

Yearning to know about the legal joining age that applies in your state? Then buckle down through the article as it, blow by blow, unravels all the required information. 

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At A Bar?

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At A Bar

Different States have different legal ages at which you can serve as a professional bartender at their on-premises establishments. Generally, the minimum age lies between 18 to 21 years. 

In nearly 26 states of the United States, the minimum age to serve alcohol is defined as 18 by the local law and jurisdiction, while in 18 states, the age is 21. However, a few states have set the limit as 19 and 20 years.

Moreover, in some states, it is further defined that bartenders must be at least 21 years old to serve wine drinks. However, they can serve liquor and other beverages at a younger age.

Usually, bartenders are 33 to 35 years old in the United States. This is due to the increased risk of mixing alcohol; most bars prefer not to go for younger staff even when eligible as a bartender. The reason lies in the less experience of mixing drinks and handling the huge responsibility. 

Additionally, the local law of a particular state can raise the legal age above the one set at the state level. But they can’t lower it.

Minimum Bartending Age In Different States 

Looking for the permissible limit in your state? Then here comes the right delight for you. Enlisted below is the minimum age requirement across all 50 states of the United States. 

Name of StateMinimum Age to Work as a bartender 
District of Columbia 18
Louisiana 18
New Hampshire 18
New Jersey18
New Mexico19
New York18
North Carolina18
North Dakota18
Rhode Island18
South Carolina18
South Dakota18
Tennessee (TN)18
Minimum Age to Work as a Bartender 18

Can I Serve As A Bartender At The Age Of 18?

Whether or not you can even as a bartender at 18 depends solely on the state and the local law you are living in. 

18 is the defined legal age for serving alcohol in most states, but not in all. 

So, you need to visit your state’s official website and look for Bar regulations there.

Can I Serve As A Bartender At The Age Of Less Than 18?

You can’t serve as a bartender under 18 in on-premises establishments and bars.

But yes, you can sell liquor and wine at a random grocery store, even when you are a minor. 

Apart from serving as a bartender, there are various alternative jobs you can hit upon, out of which a common one is to act as a server in the bar until you reach the age limit. 

Do All Bars Require A Bartending License From You?

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At A Bar

No, not all bars require a bartending license for you to serve alcohol at the bar. (Bartending license is a certificate or document given to people by bartending school on completion of a course.)

In fact, you need no general certificate or permit to pursue your career as a bartender. However, you can take a bartending course by yourself if you want to gain perfection before joining the bar.

You can rarely be asked to take one or more bartending courses depending on your state’s requirements.

Most bar owners long for an alcoholic beverage commission certification that confirms their awareness of alcohol and the associated risks.

What Does A Bartender Do?

A bartender is a professional worker in restaurants, bars, and clubs who mixes drinks like beer, vodka, and different liquors. 

Some of the general duties of a bartender are:

  • Mixing and serving the different alcoholic beverages in different ratios
  • Interacting with the customers and making drinks according to their preference
  • Ensuring that the customers are of legal age to drink
  • Collect payment from the customers 
  • Assist in product inventory 

Is A Bartender’s Job Hard?

At times, it can be.

Initially, you can find the bartending job a bit challenging and time taking. The reason is that it is the first time you are handling different cocktails and mixing them in different ratios to keep up with the customer’s orders.

But since making and mixing drinks is a skill, it gets perfect with time. So, as you make more and more drinks, the repetition makes you perfect at making drinks.


The legal age to start working at a bar as a bartender is mostly between 18 to 21 in most states. So, you need to visit your state’s official website to learn the minimum age to work at a bar. 

However, if you are underage, you can join a bar as a server which provides the customers with alcohol, and meanwhile, get a bartending license from a bartending school until you reach the age threshold.

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