Is Bartending A Trade? (Useful Resource)

is bartending a trade
Joe | Last Updated: August 30, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

If you’re anything like me, when you were a youngster your parents would always tell you that it’s a good idea to work in a trade as the experience is valuable and required all over the world.

Having trade experience is thought to be an asset to any resume as it requires skill and time to master.

Those that are good at a particular trade have the freedom of being able to travel without a lack of work. Who wouldn’t want to master a trade?

Learning a trade is an incredible career choice as it means you can fill a need. Plumbers, electricians, and carpenters are all trades, but what about bartending, is bartending a trade?

Yes, bartending is a trade. A bartender is defined as a person who formulates and serves alcoholic or soft drink beverages behind the bar, usually in a licensed establishment as well as in restaurants and nightclubs.

It takes skill, and lots of it to become a successful bartender.

Is Bartending A Trade?

Bartending is a skilled profession that is classed as a trade. It requires a high degree of practical and theoretical knowledge and is one that can not be replaced by robots. Not yet anyway!

A trade is a job that requires manual skills and special training to do, and whilst the construction industry often springs to mind for most people when discussing trades, bartending fits the bill too.

You wouldn’t expect somebody to build your family home if they have no experience, and likewise, nobody would expect to walk into a bar and be served by someone who doesn’t know how to make their drink.

is bartending a trade
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Training is vital in bartending, and usually, new bartenders are in training that lasts multiple weeks or sometimes months before they are ready to work a shift.

Newcomers start by washing glasses and learning the basics before they are expected to serve customers which is one of the reasons why bartending qualifies as a trade.

Reasons Why Bartending Is A Trade

Bartending is a trade because it requires both manual skills and special training to do.

If you put somebody who has never worked in a bar behind one and asked for a Ramos Gin Fizz, they would look at you like you were born on Mars.

It’s a job that requires knowledge to work in and without it, the bartender would not be very successful in their role.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why bartending is a trade.


Firstly, bartenders are required to go through training before they can get behind the bar and serve alcoholic drinks.

In some states throughout the US, it’s a mandatory requirement that a bartender completes bartending school and receives their license before they can bartend.

Bartender training typically lasts for between two and four weeks, whether that be in a bartending school or through on-the-job training.

Some bars even offer bartender apprenticeships which are paid jobs that offer hands-on work experience alongside off-the-job training.

Skill Based

If you’ve ever been blown away by a flair bartender then you know firsthand that there is a lot of skill involved in bartending.

Not all bartenders are equally skilled and some are highly skilled professionals that practice for years to become the best at their craft.

Effective communication, good memory, organization, and composure are all skills that need to be honed to be a successful bartender.

A good flair bartender can pull in a six-figure salary plus a fortune in tips. They are in demand all over the world which affords them the flexibility to travel and never be out of work.

Manual Skills Required

Bartending also requires manual skills such as the ability to change beer kegs, manage stock levels and create complex cocktails using cocktail mixers.

Often people don’t realize how physically demanding bartending really is and the amount of manual work that’s involved in the role.

Is Bartending A Good Trade?

Bartending is a great trade and is worth its weight in gold when it comes to your future career and progression.

The people you meet, the experiences you have behind the bar, and the lifestyle that you lead whilst being a bartender are exciting.

Most bartending roles are flexible and as most establishments don’t get busy until later in the evenings, the daytime is often free which works well for those with kids and other commitments.

The amount of money that can be made in bartending is another big perk. Those that can dazzle customers with their exceptional service skills can make a fortune in tips.

In the US, the average amount of money made in tips each night per bartender is around $150, but this number can shoot up depending on the bartender’s skills.

There are a lot of perks to being a bartender and the experience gained is invaluable. Whilst it’s not for everyone, those that are fun-loving and enjoy being social will likely love the job.

The Benefits Of Having Bartending Experience

Bartending experience is an excellent trade to have under your belt. It shows that you know how to deal with customers and have what it takes to work behind a bar.

It shows that you’re an extremely social professional and are capable of getting your hands dirty to get the job done.

There are many benefits that come with having bartending experience, but my favorite has the be the flexibility to travel the world and always be able to find a job.

Thriving bars and nightclubs are always on the lookout for skilled bartenders, so if you’ve got some experience and know what you’re doing behind a bar, the travel possibilities and endless.

is bartending a trade
Photo by Taylor Friehl on Unsplash

Experience in bartending is also a great foundation for career progression. The skills learned in bartending are transferable to many other careers including sales, business development, and other customer-facing roles.

Another great perk is that every day can be payday, in the form of tips. In some bars, the tips that can be made by good bartenders is mind-blowing and may be double, triple, or even quadruple their salary.

Meeting people from all walks of life is another great benefit of bartending experience, you learn how to deal with so many different types of people that it makes navigating other jobs and social situations much easier in everyday life.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this post has answered your question of “is bartending a trade” and you have learned more about the benefits of having bartending experience.

Bartending is a trade. It’s a job that requires training and skills to be good at and one that requires a lot of practice to master.

Whilst people often think of workers in the construction industry when discussing trades, bartending also qualifies as a trade as it meets all of the criteria needed.

Some people wrongly assume that bartending is an easy job that anyone can do, but those that have worked behind a bar know that this isn’t the case.

It’s a job that requires a high degree of skills and theoretical knowledge, with only the talented and determined being able to master the role of bartending.

When you take a closer look at what bartenders actually do, it’s easy to see why it’s a trade and qualifies as such.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and learn more about the role of a bartender.

Catch you in the next one!