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Bartender Duties Checklist Template [FREE] from BinWise

Scott Schulfer
Table of Contents
liquor inventory management software

If you're figuring out how to run a bar, one thing you'll learn quickly is that it’s impossible for you to run your bar by yourself. Therefore, bartenders are one of your most valuable assets because they can take some of the responsibilities off your plate. They play an essential role in bringing in revenues for your business. In your bar’s day-to-day operation, bartenders are either mixing drinks, interacting with guests, delivering the best customer service, or selling more liquor and beverages. That's all just bartending 101.

And, hey, the more money a bar brings in, the higher the bar manager salary.

For a smooth operation at your bar and to ensure bar profitability, it is extremely important that your bartenders are aware of their responsibilities. And that they're always in sync with each other. Much of this information can't be found in restaurant management books. One of the best ways to ensure a high level of performance from your team is to have a bartender duties checklist in place. A good bar manager always give their staff the tools to succeed. If you hire a bartender who just got their license to bartend, this checklist will be pivotal in making them successful.

That's why we put together a free downloadable checklist of bartender duties—including opening, side work, and closing responsibilities.

Bartender Opening Checklist

Bartenders are typically responsible for opening the bar since they are usually the first ones to arrive. This is a big part of a bartender's duties. First, they can make a quick property check for any visible damage. Then they can proceed to go through the bar opening and closing checklist and complete the following tasks:

  • Unlock beer and wine coolers
  • Unlock and inspect beer taps to ensure they are functional
  • Check bar inventory and restock any items if necessary
  • Place floor mats behind the bar
  • Cut and prepare garnishes and other perishables
  • Prepare mixers and juices
  • Assemble, fill, and start frozen drink machine
  • Stock glasses, mugs, highballs, pilsners, wine glasses, snifters, etc.
  • Double-check all bar drink-making tools and equipment (strainer, shaker, jigger, ice scoop, ice cream scoop, wine opener, bottle opener, stirrer, bar mats, pour spouts, etc.)
  • Restock ice
  • Make sure all trash cans are emptied and liners are replaced
  • Restock disposable items (napkins, straws, utensils, coasters, skewers, etc.)
  • Restock items for food menu (if the bar serves food)
  • Rinse and clean bar sink
  • Have backup beverage canisters and CO2 tanks ready to replace emptied ones
  • Wipe down the bar’s counter, tables, chairs, and stools
  • Turn on the light, music, bar TV, neon lights, and bar signs
  • Get and count opening bar bank from the bar manager
  • Get a new comp and waste log from the bar manager

A lot of this may also fall into barback duties depending on the structure of your bar.

Read our free Bar Management eBook

Bartender Closing Checklist

The first thing to do when closing is ensure all guests have left the bar and all doors are locked. Having guests linger around can severely slow down the closing process and prevent your bartenders from completing the tasks or leaving on time. While the manager takes care of the bar manager duties, like ordering the full bar liquor list, you can take care of yours. Here is the bar closing checklist for bartenders:

  • Lock beer and wine coolers
  • Clean and lock beer taps
  • Take floor mats to back dock
  • Empty trash cans and replace liners
  • Melt any remaining ice from the night before in the ice bins
  • Cover and store all perishable items in their appropriate places. Discard if necessary
  • Cover and store all mixers, juices, sweet and sour, etc., in their appropriate places
  • Empty frozen drink machine. Refrigerate leftover and clean machine
  • Clean and restock glasses, highballs, pilsners, wine glasses, snifters, etc.
  • Clean all blenders and mixers
  • Restock disposable items (napkins, straws, utensils, coasters, skewers, etc.)
  • Restock beer cooler
  • Restock liquor empties
  • Wipe down service well liquor bottles (all alcohol bottle sizes should be wiped)
  • Wipe bar top, counter, chairs, and stools
  • Sweep and mop the floor
  • Clean soda gun nozzles
  • Empty, rinse, sanitize, and clean the bar sink
  • Turn off the light, music, bar TV, neon lights, and bar signs
  • Give bar bank to the bar manager
  • Close and lock the cash register
  • Turn in comp and waste log to the bar manager

Bartender Side Work Duties & Checklists

Being a good bartender requires more than just knowing the standard pours. In addition to opening and closing the bar, there are also running bartender side work duties like cleaning and doing maintenance around the bar. This activity can be done either daily or weekly, depending on your bar’s unique operation.  A general bar cleaning checklist includes the following tasks:

  • Clean beer cooler
  • Pour Clorox in floor drains
  • Polish brass railing
  • Polish brass and chrome beer taps
  • Polish espresso machine
  • Wipe down displayed liquor bottles
  • Clean bar mirrors
  • Rotate beer and wine coolers
  • Clean cash register, credit card terminal, telephone
  • Clean back bar
  • Rotate, soak, and sanitize pour spouts

It is really important to create accountability for them to make sure they are doing their job. A good bartender knows that their work affects other staff. If they don't put a bottle back in the right spot, then the next bartender will have to spend time searching for it. When they could be making drinks or up-selling guests instead. You don't need to go to bartending school to know it's not good to make the next person have to work twice as hard.

It's also helpful if bartenders spend time preparing and setting up the bar area for the next bartender before they leave.

  • Restock garnishes and other perishable items
  • Restock beer cooler
  • Restock liquor and beverage
  • Check liquor expiration date to avoid liquor going bad
  • Cut and prepare fruits
  • Restock sweet and sour, juices, mixers
  • Restock mugs, glasses, highballs, pilsners, wine glasses, snifters,
  • Restock ice
  • Check liquor, and wine backups for each service well and back bar
  • Check how much beer is in a keg and if it needs to be replaced
  • Restock disposable items (napkins, straws, utensils, coasters, skewers, etc.)
  • Restock items on the bar’s food menu, or any other types of menu in use
  • Rinse and clean bar sink
  • Count bar bank and report back to the bar manager

While these tasks don’t need to be done in this specific order, it is important that they are all addressed. And completed throughout the day. Setting up your bar right before opening, closing your bar properly, and keeping your bar clean and well-organized. These are all important activities to ensure a smooth operation at your bar. Here's some of our picks for the best bar and restaurant cleaning supplies, too.

Having a bartender duties checklist—and keeping it safe and sound in your bar operations manual—is one of the most effective ways to communicate these responsibilities to your team of bartenders. And hold them accountable for their work. It is also easier to train bartenders if you have a duties checklist ready. You can also send other staff to alcohol server training so you can sell even more drinks.

Download our free printable bartender duties checklist and customize it to fit your unique bar or restaurant operations.

liquor inventory management software

If you find this article helpful, contact us to learn more about how BinWise Pro can help you manage your bar more effectively! It'll help get a handle on your liquor inventory control by keeping track of variance (variance definition here), pour cost,  par levels, and ensure your restaurant chart of accounts is accurate.