Dress To Impress: What Do Bartenders Wear?

what do bartenders wear
Joe | Last Updated: November 19, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

If you’ve ever wondered “What do bartenders wear?” to give them that cool, professional vibe when they’re mixing and serving drinks, you wouldn’t be the first.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at the world of bartending attire. You may think it’s all just black shirts and aprons, but there’s so much more to the story.

Depending on where they work, bartenders can rock everything from casual tees and jeans to swanky vests and bow ties.

So, whether you’re an experienced bartender hunting for some fresh inspiration or a rookie gearing up for your first gig, this post has the answers you’re searching for.

Let’s get into it…

What Do Bartenders Typically Wear?

As a bartender, what you wear can influence how you’re perceived by customers, and in some cases, can even contribute to the overall vibe of the establishment where you’re working.

Not only does your attire need to be comfortable for those long shifts, but it also needs to have that bit of flair that makes you stand out behind the bar.

Now, let’s explore what typical attire looks like for both male and female bartenders.



Many male bartenders typically wear button-down shirts, often in darker colors like black or navy. It’s common to roll up the sleeves for both comfort and to avoid any interference while working.

Polo shirts are also quite common in more casual settings.


Dark-colored jeans or khakis are the norm for most bartenders. They are durable and provide the necessary comfort for long hours of standing.

In more upscale establishments, bartenders may wear dress pants.

two male bartenders dressed in smart shirts while serving drinks
Image by Michael Gaida


Comfort is the key here. Bartenders spend hours on their feet, so slip-resistant and cushioned footwear is a must. A smart pair of black shoes often does the trick.


Depending on the formality of the establishment, accessories like neckties, bow ties, or waistcoats might be part of the uniform.

Aprons, especially those with pockets, are also commonly worn for practical purposes.



Female bartenders also usually wear shirts or blouses, generally in dark or neutral colors.

Tank tops or tees might be suitable in more casual settings. The top can be either fitted or loose, depending on the individual’s comfort.


Like their male counterparts, female bartenders often wear dark jeans or pants. Some might opt for skirts or dresses, but these are usually knee-length or longer for ease of movement.


Comfortable, slip-resistant shoes are equally important for female bartenders. Closed-toe flats or low heels are usually the best options.


Aprons are common, providing a handy spot to store essential tools. Some bartenders may accessorize with scarves or neckties, particularly in more formal venues.

Can Bartenders Wear What They Want?

Whether bartenders can wear what they want largely depends on the policies of the establishment where they work.

In some venues, there may be a strict dress code or uniform that bartenders are required to follow. This could range from formal attire in high-end establishments to branded t-shirts in casual pubs or breweries.

However, in more relaxed settings or independent establishments, bartenders might have more freedom to express their personal style as long as it remains professional and practical for the work they’re doing.

Even so, their clothing choices should usually align with the vibe of the establishment and provide a comfortable fit for a physically demanding job.

Image by shooterbenjamin

In general, regardless of the dress code, bartenders often avoid loose clothing or dangling jewelry that could get caught or interfere with their work.

Comfortable, non-slip footwear is a universal requirement due to the long hours spent standing and the potential for wet floors.

The number of times I’ve seen new bartenders injure themselves due to slipping over on a wet floor is too many to count, so be sure you have the right footwear before working the bar.

Ultimately, while there may be some leeway, a bartender’s attire is typically not entirely up to individual discretion and will be influenced by a combination of factors including their employer’s policies, the nature of the bar environment, and the need for comfort and safety.

Be Mindful Of Personal Grooming

Sometimes overlooked, personal grooming is a vital part of a bartender’s overall appearance and professionalism.

After all, bartenders aren’t just serving drinks; they’re representing the establishment, engaging with customers, and ensuring a positive experience.

Cleanliness is paramount in this role. Hands and nails should be clean and well-manicured, as they are often in direct view of the customers when mixing drinks and serving.

Hair should be neat, clean, and preferably tied back or kept short to prevent it from falling into drinks or glasses. For men, facial hair should also be well-groomed.

While it can be tempting to wear a favorite perfume or cologne, bartenders should be mindful of using overly strong fragrances.

Not only can these scents interfere with the aroma of the drinks, but they can also cause discomfort to customers with sensitivities.

Photo by cottonbro studio

The key to personal grooming as a bartender is to aim for a clean, professional appearance that shows respect for your role, your workplace, and, most importantly, your customers.

Proper personal hygiene and grooming not only inspire confidence and trust but also contribute to a more enjoyable experience for everyone at the bar.

Nobody wants to be served by a gross bartender who lacks personal hygiene, so keep it clean and fresh, always.

Final Thoughts

To wrap up, the secret sauce to what bartenders wear is a perfect mix of comfort, practicality, personal style, and venue appropriateness.

But remember, clothing is just part of the equation. Equal attention should be paid to personal grooming and hygiene, as they play a vital role in making a good impression and ensuring a positive customer experience.

As a whole, whether you’re pulling on a crisp, button-down shirt or a relaxed tee, the goal is to feel confident, comfortable, and professional.

So, take these insights, find your unique style, and you’ll be all set to shine behind the bar.

See you in the next one and stay looking fresh!