What they do
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.
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.
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.
How do I become one?
Education and training
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 Certificates II and III in Hospitality are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
It is also possible to complete a traineeship in hospitality – food and beverage. The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
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.