How to Get Your Bartending License in Missouri

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: April 2, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

In Missouri, bartending positions can be found in various settings, including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, and event venues. Many bartenders work part-time or on a flexible schedule, making it an ideal career for those looking for additional income or a job that allows for work-life balance.

In this guide, we will look at what you need to become a bartender in Missouri.

Bartending License Requirements for Missouri

The good news is there are few restrictions on what requirements there are for becoming a bartender in Missouri. Getting some alcohol compliance training like SMART will defiantly help your job prospects.

In Missouri, alcohol sales are run by the Department of Public Safety Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC). You can find server training information on their website.

Minimum Age To Serve Alcoholic Beverages In Missouri

The minimum age to serve alcohol in Missouri is 18 and 21 to bartend or mix drinks, according to the APIS.

Do You Need a Bartending License in Missouri?

No, there is no required bartender certificate to become a bartender in Missouri, though most employers will want staff to have some responsible server training such as SMART.

Missouri’s SMART Online Server Training Program

The University of Missouri’s Wellness Resource Center operates the SMART (State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training) Online Server Training Program, a free, interactive training program for bartenders and other alcohol servers in Missouri. It is available online 24 hours a day.

The program educates serving staff about their legal obligations, dealing with intoxicated patrons, and reducing liability risks. It also helps detect fake IDs and may lead to insurance discounts.

Owners, managers, and employees of alcohol-serving establishments are strongly advised to take the program.

As well as for servers, the program covers selling alcohol at retail outlets with information topics such as how to prevent alcohol theft and signs a customer may be buying alcohol for a minor.

Understanding the Responsibilities of a Bartender in Missouri

First and foremost, bartenders in Missouri must be knowledgeable about the state’s liquor laws. They must be aware of the legal drinking age, hours of operation, and restrictions on the sale and service of alcohol. Bartenders are also responsible for monitoring the behaviour of their patrons and cutting off anyone who appears to be intoxicated or disorderly. Bartenders must maintain a safe and responsible environment for their patrons, which means being vigilant and proactive about preventing over-serving.

Bartenders in Missouri are also expected to be trained in responsible alcohol service. The State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training (SMART) Online Server Training Program is a free, interactive training program that educates servers about their legal obligations concerning the service of alcohol. This program is strongly recommended for owners, managers, and employees of alcohol-serving establishments in Missouri.

What Is the Job Market Like for Bartenders in Missouri?

The job market for bartenders in Missouri is generally steady, with opportunities available in both urban and rural areas throughout the state. The hospitality industry has seen significant growth in recent years, with new bars, restaurants, and hotels opening across the state.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of bartenders in Missouri is expected to grow by 6.4% from 2020 to 2030. This growth is slightly higher than the national average of 6.1%.

How Much Do Bartenders Make Hourly in Missouri?

According to websites like Indeed and Intuit, the average base salary for a bartender in Missouri is $14.81 or $28,000 per year as of 2023, according to Intuit Mint’s data based on tax returns. This will depend on where you work, though.

What Cities Are Good Places for Bartending Work?

Missouri has several cities that offer numerous opportunities for bartending work. Here are some of the best cities in Missouri for bartenders:

  • St. Louis: With a thriving hospitality industry, St. Louis has a wide variety of bars and restaurants, which provide ample opportunities for bartenders. The city also hosts several major events throughout the year, providing additional opportunities for bartenders to earn money.
  • Kansas City: Another major city in Missouri, Kansas City has a robust hospitality industry with a vibrant nightlife scene. Bartenders can find employment in numerous bars and nightclubs, and the city’s major sports teams, such as the Chiefs and Royals, also provide additional opportunities for bartenders.
  • Columbia: Although a smaller city, Columbia is home to the University of Missouri, which has a large student population. Bartenders can work in college bars and restaurants, and the city hosts several events throughout the year, providing additional opportunities for bartenders.
  • Springfield: Springfield has a smaller hospitality industry than St. Louis and Kansas City but still offers numerous opportunities for bartenders to work in various settings, including bars, restaurants, and event venues.
  • Branson: A popular tourist destination, Branson offers bartenders opportunities to work in bars and restaurants, particularly during the busy tourist season.
  • Jefferson City: As the capital of Missouri, Jefferson City is home to several government buildings and agencies, which provide opportunities for bartenders to work in government-related events and functions.

These cities in Missouri offer numerous opportunities for bartenders to find employment in various settings, making them great places to start a career as a bartender.


Overall, the job market for bartenders in Missouri offers opportunities for those with the right skills, experience, and training. While the competition for positions can be high in certain areas, bartending remains a viable and rewarding career choice in the state.

If you’re interested in bartending in other American states, we’ve written an article about bartending requirements across America here.