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Bar attendant

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Summary of occupation

Bar attendants prepare and serve drinks to customers in liquor licensed premises such as bars, nightclubs, hotels and restaurants. They also take care of customers’ orders in bar and dining spaces – they clean and clear benches and tables, set out tables, coasters and ashtrays, and restock fridges and snacks. Sometimes they are required to take meal orders or prepare and serve food. One of the most important things about being a bar attendant is to provide a friendly service and also keep an eye on patrons’ drink consumption to ensure that they do not become intoxicated.

ANZSCO description: Prepares, mixes and serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to patrons in a licensed establishment.
Alternative names: Bar Steward, Bartender
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Bar attendants need:

  • good people skills, to be friendly
  • good personal presentation
  • good stamina, with the ability to stand for long periods
  • an ability to work quickly and multi-task
  • an ability to handle stressful situations and difficult customers
  • good cash-handling skills
  • a good memory when taking customers' orders.
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Working conditions

Bar attendants generally work in licensed dining or drinking establishments, but may be required to work at special events like festivals, parties or weddings. They are generally on their feet for long periods and may be required to lift or stack heavy stock. They may have to check patrons’ identification and deal with difficult or intoxicated customers. Their work environment can be cramped, noisy, humid, slippery and incredibly busy. Bar attendants are often required to work on weekends and in the evening.

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Salary details

On average, bar attendants and baristas can expect to earn between $679.90 and $799 per week ($35 354.80 and $41 599 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a bar attendant develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.​

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Tools and technologies

Bar attendants use beer taps, spirit measures, glasses of varying size and shape, drink mixers and shakers, blenders and dishwashing equipment. They also use a wide range of alcohol, non-alcohol mixers, soft drinks, fruit, vegetables and dairy products to create and garnish drinks. Their public presentation and hygiene is very important, so they may be required to wear uniforms and closed shoes. There is also a great deal of cash-handling in their job, and they frequently use cash registers, EFTPOS machines and electronic-ordering devices.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

It is possible to work as a bar attendant without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in hospitality. 

The Certificate III in Hospitality is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia (WA). 

It is also possible to complete a traineeship in hospitality – food and beverage. The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

To serve alcohol in WA, you must be over 18 years of age and hold a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate. You can gain your RSA certificate through a number of registered training organisations. Contact the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries for more information.​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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