How to Become a

Bar Manager

The complete career guide to be a Bar Manager: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $33,330
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 9.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Bar managers oversee all employees and operations within a bar, nightclub, or cocktail lounge. They hire, train, and manage bartenders, bar backs, and cocktail servers; create schedules for shifts; and ensure excellent customer service is provided. They’re also commonly responsible for ordering stock.


What is a Bar Manager?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in bar manager roles:

  • Recruit, interview, hire, train, and manage all bar employees
  • Create weekly schedules for employees and assign employees to specific stations
  • Ensure the bar is always stocked with necessary ingredients by placing inventory orders
  • Observe bar patrons to ensure everyone is of drinking age and no one has been overserved
  • Count cash register balances at the end of the night and make bank deposits

A Day in the Life

Bar managers are in charge of supervising staff and maintaining operations at a variety of establishments. They commonly work in hotel bars, restaurant bars, and nightlife establishments like bars, clubs, and cocktail lounges. Their role is to oversee all functions of drink service, ensuring laws are adhered to and patrons are having a good time.

The primary responsibility of a bar manager to is staff the bars they manage. This requires them to hire and train new bartenders, bar backs, and cocktail servers. In some cases, the bar manager may have to train bartenders on how to make drinks; in others, the bar manager hires experienced bartenders, and the training is simply specific to bartending in that specific establishment.

With a fully-staffed team of bartenders and cocktail servers, the manager turns his/her attention to making work schedules. This can be time-consuming because the manager must consider all employees’ restrictions, constraints, and preferences when creating schedules that dictate working hours and locations within the bar. The bar manager also must make sure the bar is stocked with all ingredients that are needed to make drinks, and orders and stocks new inventory when required.

When the bar is busy, the bar manager may help bartenders make drinks. At the end of the night, the bar manager also helps employees count their cash registers, and the manager counts all balances against orders received to reconcile the funds received against the inventory sold that shift.

Typical Work Schedule

Most bar managers work full-time schedules, but the hours worked may be irregular. For the most part, bar managers work evening and weekend shifts when drinking establishments are the most popular, and they may be required to work into the early morning hours to complete closing responsibilities.

Typical Employers

Bar managers are hired to work for a variety of establishments. They may work for restaurants that have bars, hotels or casinos that have bars, or for nightlife establishments like nightclubs and cocktail lounges.


How To Become a Bar Manager

In most cases, a high school diploma is a sufficient level of education for becoming a bar manager. However, all bar managers begin their careers as bartenders, so earning a bartending certificate from a trade or vocational school can be beneficial for jump starting your career. Bartending schools teach students how to pour drinks and how to mix ingredients to make popular drinks like mimosas, martinis, margaritas, and many more. Students learn recipes for hundreds of popular cocktails while in school.

Conversely, you can also be trained to work as a bartender by taking an entry-level position at a bar—such as security guard, cashier, or bar back. Once you’ve proven that you’re a dedicated and trustworthy employee, the bar manager may be willing to bring you on as a bartender and teach you how to make drinks. Either attending bartending school or working your way into bartending training with an existing employer is sufficient for getting the professional bartending experience needed for promotion.

Most bar managers are promoted into the role after working as a bartender for an employer for a while and proving that they have the leadership skills and aptitude required for the role. Once you have professional experience as a bar manager, you should also qualify for open bar manager roles at other establishments if you want to find a new employer.


Bar Manager Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$23,430

Average

$33,330

High Range

$51,370

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$11/hr

Average

$16/hr

High Range

$25/hr

How do Bar Manager salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Bar Manager's can make an average annual salary of $33,330, or $16 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $23,430 or $11 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #649 Nationally for All Careers


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Bar Manager. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Bar Managers

  • 0.4%   Doctorate
  • 1.5%   Masters
  • 12.7%   Bachelors
  • 9%   Associates
  • 28.9%   College
  • 35.6%   High School
  • 12%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

890,100

2024 Est. Jobs

978,600

Job Growth Rate

9.9%

Est. New Jobs

88,500

How does Bar Manager job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 88,500 jobs for a total of 978,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 9.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #201 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Bar Managers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Full-service restaurants 219,300 13,100 13%
Elementary and secondary schools; local 35,900 200 0%
Special food services 35,800 2,100 2%

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