These are state laws only. Cities and counties can overrule these if they are stricter. Always check with your local authorities before making any decision to serve alcohol!
State, county and city laws govern how old a person must be to legally bartend. As with most laws, the strictest applicable law is the one that must be followed. We have listed the STATE mandated bartending age in the table below for each state. Before making any decision about being a bartender, you should verify the correct age for your city if you are near the legal minimum. The state and/or city government website is a good place to start. Just like the customers that vary with each bar, the bartenders age usually follows that of the crowd they serve. If you are 40 and above, you probably don't want to work at 18 and up nightclub where the average age is 21. However, an upscale hotel, Martini bar and four-star restaurant needs a bartender with maturity who can hold a conversation with their upscale customers. If you are a sports fan, a sports bar is a great place to see the games and keep up with the scores. In closing, there is a bar for everyone, regardless of your age or background.
Well, you are wrong! Bartending is a career for people of all ages and backgrounds. In today's job market, many bartenders have relayed their corporate horror stories to us. Job layoffs, downsizing, reduced benefits, longer hours, no appreciation by the company, reduced wages and a general dissatisfaction with their chosen career. Many have told us that they just couldn't take it anymore! The kids are getting older and college tuition is coming up, or the kids are gone and it's time to do something that they would enjoy. Bartending is a great break from the grueling pace of the corporate world. A good bartender can earn a substantial living that is better than a lot of corporate jobs that require more expensive and longer schooling. It is also a great second income to help pay bills and can be a security blanket to fall back on when it's needed. A professional bartender can usually find work within a week of looking and can start making tips right away. There is no starting at the bottom and working your way up in bartending. An experienced bartender can switch jobs easily if they want a change of environment or different pace. Switching jobs is the norm for our industry and is not frowned upon so long as the bartender quits with a notice for a good reason.