Bar person

bar worker waiter server mixologist bartender

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Six year jobs forecast

The information is supplied by LMI For All

What's it like?

You would serve drinks to customers in pubs, clubs and hotels.

You’d take customers’ orders, serve drinks and food and take payment. It would be important to make people feel welcome, chat with them and make a good impression.

There are many different types of licensed premises such as pubs, hotels, nightclubs, social clubs, restaurants, sports clubs, leisure centres and holiday parks. Depending on the type of bar you’re working in, it might a very lively, noisy place.

You would:

  • Take customers’ orders, often memorising the order rather than writing it down
  • Serve a range of drinks and snacks including sandwiches and hot food
  • Mix and pour drinks using the bar measures
  • Carry trays of drinks over to tables
  • Collect and wash glasses
  • Keep the bar and tables clean and tidy
  • Stock up with alcoholic and soft drinks, ice and snacks like nuts and crisps
  • Use tills, collect money and give change

You might become an expert in making cocktails or learn to pour real ale and store craft beers. You could help to organise special events to attract customers such as quiz nights, karaoke or live music.

Sometimes you’d need to check a customer’s identification to ensure they are of the legal age to be there. You’d also need to be patient and firm with difficult customers who might be rowdy or drunk, and you might have to refuse to serve them.

Sometimes you might need to carry or move heavy crates, beer barrels and boxes.

Working conditions

Hours

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 local licensing).

Environment

Bars, pubs and restaurants can be very noisy, hot and crowded at key times of the day and during weekends.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Helping customers
  • Being tactful
  • Working with numbers

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications to enter this role. Employers value a good general education.

You will also need

Under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 all staff serving/selling alcohol must receive at least two hours of basic training before they can sell/serve alcohol. Employers are expected to provide this training. 

You must be over 18 years of age to serve alcohol however you may be able to work as a glass collector and washer at a younger age.

Helpful to have

Qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6 or relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Hospitality Services or Food and Beverage Service (SVQ level 1).