Becoming a Bar Manager: Skills, Qualifications, and Insider Tips

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Let’s dive right in. Suppose you’re interested in the ins and outs of managing a bar. In that case, this comprehensive guide on the Bar Manager Job Description will give you a detailed overview of the bar manager’s responsibility, what the role involves, the qualifications needed, and the paths to success.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Role: A bar manager wears many hats, overseeing everything from staff management to customer service, ensuring the bar runs smoothly and remains profitable.
  • Skills and Qualifications: Success in this role requires a combination of hard skills, like knowledge of bar operations, and soft skills, like leadership and customer service.
  • Succeeding in Bar Management: Leading by example, building your bar’s brand and presence, and continuing education through bar management training courses are key strategies for success.
  • Career Prospects: With the right preparation and dedication, a career in bar management can be a rewarding path that offers both challenges and opportunities.

Bar Manager Job Description

A bar manager is a crucial figure in the smooth operation of any bar, overseeing everything from staff management to customer service. They keep their bars running smoothly, that excellent customer service is provided, and the establishment remains profitable.

What Does a Bar Owner, Bar Manager, or Bar Supervisor Do?

While each role has unique responsibilities, they all share a common goal – ensuring the bar’s success and profitability. Owners typically handle the business side of things, supervisors ensure the staff performs their duties efficiently, and managers oversee the overall operations, budget and monitor costs ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Responsibilities and Requirements

A bar manager wears many hats, and their responsibilities are diverse and crucial to the successful running of the bar. This often includes hiring and training staff, ordering supplies, maintains vendor relationships, handling customer complaints, and ensuring compliance with licensing, hygiene, and health and safety legislation.

Bar Manager Responsibilities

From leading operations to ensuring customer satisfaction and bar cleanliness and safety, a bar manager’s responsibilities are wide-ranging and varied. Here are a few key areas of focus.

Lead Operations

An effective and experienced bar manager is actively involved in all aspects of bar operations, including ordering stock, setting prices, and planning events. This ensures the bar runs smoothly and remains a popular destination for customers.

Ensure Bar Cleanliness and Safety

A bar manager’s vital responsibility is ensuring the bar maintains high standards of cleanliness and adheres to safety regulations. This involves keeping the premises clean and ensuring bar staff who are properly trained in health and safety procedures.

Join Your Staff on the Front Lines

A good bar manager isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and join their staff on the front lines of the restaurant business, assisting with service during busy periods. This helps ensure excellent customer service and fosters team spirit and mutual respect among staff members.

Bar Manager Skills and Qualifications

The best bar managers require specific skills and qualifications, including strong leadership abilities and exceptional customer service skills, leading to a profitable bar. But there’s more to it than that.

Bar Manager Education and Training Requirements

While there isn’t a specific educational requirement to become a bar manager, investing in training and professional development can enhance your abilities in this role. For example, qualifications in business management or hospitality could be beneficial.

Customer Service Skills

In the bar industry, excellent customer service can make or break your business, making this skill a must-have for all bar employees and any aspiring bar manager. This involves dealing with customers in a friendly and professional manner and resolving any issues or complaints they may have.

Bar Manager Experience Requirements

Prior experience in the hospitality industry, particularly in bar settings, is typically required for bar manager positions. This experience gives you a good understanding of the industry and helps you handle the various challenges that may arise.

How to Succeed in Bar Management

Being an effective bar manager demands more than just serving drinks and keeping customers happy; it involves strategic thinking, strong leadership, and innovative marketing.

Lead by Example

One of the best ways to inspire your team is to lead by example, setting high professionalism and work ethic standards. Show your team how it’s done, and they’ll be more likely to follow suit.

Build and Amplify Your Bar’s Brand and Presence

As a bar manager, you have a unique opportunity to shape and promote your own bar’s brand, creating a memorable experience for your customers. This could involve anything from hosting special events to running promotions on social media.

Take Bar Management Training Courses

Enrolling in bar management training courses can provide the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed. These courses typically cover topics like liquor laws, customer service, inventory management, and more.

How Do You Write a Bar Manager Resume?

If you’re applying for a bar manager position, crafting a compelling resume is crucial in showcasing your qualifications and experience. It should highlight your skills, qualifications, and previous experience in the hospitality industry, particularly in bar and restaurant management platforms.

You can find several bar manager job description templates online that you can customize to suit your needs.

Wrapping Up: A Career in Bar Management

Becoming a successful bar manager involves mastering complex responsibilities and skills. Still, with the proper preparation and dedication, it’s a rewarding career path that offers both challenges and opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bar Manager Jobs

Whether you’re considering a career in bar management or are already on this path, you might have questions about the role and the industry.

How Can a Bar Manager Be Successful in Their Job?

Success as a bar manager involves a combination of hard skills, like knowledge of bar operations, and soft skills, like leadership and customer service. It also requires a willingness to lead by example and join your staff on the front lines when needed.

What will be a Surprising Part of Bar Manager Jobs?

Many people are surprised to learn about the strategic and business-oriented aspects of bar management, which extend far beyond the day-to-day operations of the bar. These include tasks like marketing, budgeting, and strategic planning.

What does a bar manager do?

A bar manager oversees the operation of a bar, including staff management (including hiring, training, promoting, and, when necessary, disciplining or firing staff), customer service, inventory control, and compliance with safety regulations and liquor laws.

They are often involved in selecting music, booking bands, and providing input on décor and marketing, including the location’s social media and other forms of publicity.

Do bartenders make more than bar managers?

Yes, bartenders can sometimes make more money than restaurant managers, particularly those at the lower end of the restaurant management ladder. This is because bartenders often earn tips, which can significantly increase their take-home pay.

Individuals often pursue management roles for reasons beyond immediate income, such as greater stability and long-term career advancement opportunities, particularly if they have family obligations.

What is another name for a bar manager?

Other names for a bar manager can include beverage service manager, pub manager, front-of-house manager (in larger establishments with a separate kitchen/Back Of House manager), or tavern manager.

What is the difference between a bar manager and a bar supervisor?

A bar supervisor is responsible for overseeing bar operations in the absence of the bar manager. When on shift, a bar manager’s duties generally have a broader scope of responsibility, overseeing all aspects of the bar’s operation. In contrast, a bar supervisor often focuses on supervising the staff and assisting with daily operations.

What is the average age of a bar manager?

The average age of a bar manager is 39 as of 2023 (using’s data). However, the average age can vary widely, as people can become bar managers at different career stages. However, due to the experience required, most bar managers are often in their late twenties or older.

What are hard skills for a bar manager?

Some hard skills for a bar manager include knowledge of bar operations, inventory management, understanding of liquor laws and health and safety regulations, and proficiency in relevant software for scheduling and inventory.

What is the highest position in bartending?

The highest position in bartending can vary depending on the establishment. In larger operations, it could be a bar manager or beverage director. In smaller venues, the highest position might be a head bartender or bar supervisor.

How many managers should a bar have?

The number of managers a bar and restaurant should have depends on its size and volume of business. A small bar may only need one manager. In contrast, a larger establishment or a bar with a high volume may require multiple managers or supervisors to manage operations and staff effectively.

Is a manager higher than a supervisor?

Generally, a manager is a higher position than a supervisor. Managers often have a broader scope of responsibilities and may supervise multiple teams or departments, while supervisors typically oversee a specific team or area of operation.

What is the difference between a lead bartender and a bar manager?

A lead bartender typically oversees the work of other bartenders and may have additional responsibilities such as creating cocktail recipes or training new bartenders and other staff. A bar manager, on the other hand, is responsible for the overall operation of the bar, which includes managing staff and administrative tasks like scheduling, inventory management, and compliance with regulations.

What is the difference between a bar manager and a beverage director?

A bar manager oversees the day-to-day operations of a single bar. At the same time, a beverage director often has a strategic role, overseeing beverage operations across multiple bars or venues in an organization. They may be involved in creating drink menus, negotiating with suppliers, and setting pricing strategies. While a location might have multiple managers, there is usually only one beverage director for a hospitality organization.