Hire a Bartender for an Event: Everything You Need to Know

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Hosting a successful event requires careful planning and attention to detail. One important aspect that often gets overlooked is hiring a bartending service. In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know about booking a bartender or bartending staffing agency for your event, ensuring a memorable experience for you and your guests.

Do I Need To Provide My Own Glassware and Alcohol?

When you hire a bartender, one common question is whether you need to supply your own glassware and alcohol. The answer may vary depending on the bartender service you choose. Some will hire a bartender who provides their own glassware, while others may require you to provide it. Similarly, regarding alcohol, some bartenders offer package deals that include alcohol, while others may request that you supply it. It’s essential to clarify these details with the bartender service before making a decision.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Bartender for an Event?

Budget is an important factor when hiring a bartender. Understanding the cost breakdown is crucial to making an informed decision. The cost of a bartender can vary depending on factors such as the duration of the event, the number of guests, and any additional services required. On average, you can expect to pay between $25 and $50 per hour per bartender. It’s advisable to obtain quotes from different bartender services and compare their offerings to find the best fit for your budget.

Do I Legally Have to Hire a Bartender for My Wedding?

Weddings often raise questions about whether it is mandatory to hire a bartending service due to legal requirements. While the legal obligations may vary depending on the location and specific circumstances, many venues and states have regulations in place that require the presence of a licensed bartender for the service of alcohol. A professional bartender ensures legal compliance and brings expertise in responsible alcohol service, allowing you to enjoy your special day with peace of mind.

Can Anyone Work as a Private Bartender?

Working as a private bartender requires specific qualifications and skills. Professional bartenders undergo training and acquire knowledge in mixology, cocktail preparation, bartending services and customer service. Generally, they don’t hire people just starting their bartending journey.

Getting trained professionals with the necessary experience and expertise to handle various drink requests, engage with guests, and maintain a well-organized bar setup. With a private bartender, ensure they have the required certifications and a track record of delivering excellent service.

What To Look for When Hiring a Wedding Bartender

When it comes to weddings, finding the right bartender is essential to create a memorable experience for you and your guests. Look for bartenders who have experience specifically in weddings. They should have a comprehensive understanding of wedding bar setups and signature cocktails and the ability to handle high-pressure situations easily. Additionally, seek bartenders who can offer customization options to match your wedding theme and preferences.

Birthday Parties

Are you hosting a birthday party? Hiring a bartender can elevate the celebration and add a touch of sophistication. A professional bartender will create delicious cocktails and handle all the beverage-related tasks, allowing you to focus on enjoying the party. They can recommend themed drinks, cater to specific preferences, and ensure steady refreshments throughout the event. Let the bartender take care of the drinks while you create lasting memories with your loved ones.

What Is the Difference Between a Mixologist and a Flair Bartender?

In the bartending service industry, a mixologist and flair bartenders are distinct roles with their own specialities. A mixologist excels in crafting unique and innovative cocktails, utilizing their extensive knowledge of spirits and ingredients to create personalized drinks. They focus on the art of mixology, delivering beautifully presented beverages bursting with flavours.

In contrast, a flair bartender combines bartending skills with entertaining flair techniques, showcasing bottle flipping, juggling, and other captivating tricks while preparing drinks. Their performances add an element of excitement and spectacle to the bar service, captivating guests with their showmanship and special skills.

Whether you seek extraordinary drink creations and a memorable beverage experience or a lively and engaging atmosphere for your event, choosing between a mixologist and a flair bartender depends on your specific preferences and the venue and desired ambience.

Finding a Bartender For Hire

When selecting a service for your event, it’s worth considering what sets them apart from the competition. Look for services that offer unique features and value-added services. This could include personalized consultations to curate a tailored drink menu, specialized cocktail presentations, or even themed bar setups. A unique bar service can elevate the overall ambience of your event and leave a lasting impression on your guests.

Do They Have a Liquor License?

When hiring, it’s crucial to ensure that they possess a valid liquor license. A liquor license is necessary to serve and handle alcoholic beverages legally. By choosing a service with a valid license, you can rest assured that responsible alcohol service will be maintained, adhering to legal regulations and promoting the safety and well-being of your guests.

Hire Bartenders for Corporate Events and Private Parties

Corporate events often require a professional and polished atmosphere. Hiring a bartender for a private party or corporate can elevate the overall experience and facilitate networking opportunities. Skilled bartenders can create a sophisticated bar setup, craft elegant cocktails, and provide excellent service to your guests. They can also assist with customizing the drink menu to align with your company’s branding or theme, adding a touch of professionalism to the event.

Does Every Bartender for Hire Have a Bar Kit Ready To Take on Any Event?

Professional bartenders come prepared with a well-equipped bar kit to handle any event scenario. Their full bar service kits typically include tools such as shakers, jiggers, strainers, muddlers, and bar spoons. Additionally, they bring their professional-grade equipment, such as portable bars, ice buckets, and garnish trays. This ensures they have everything they need to deliver a seamless and efficient bar service, regardless of the event’s location or setup.

What Supplies Am I Expected To Provide?

With a bartending service, clarifying what supplies you are expected to provide is essential. Typically, clients are responsible for providing the necessary alcoholic beverages, mixers, and garnishes. Additionally, you may need to supply the glassware unless the bartender service explicitly states that they will bring their own. Discussing these details with the bartender service in advance is important to avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smooth setup on the event day. Clear communication regarding the required supplies will help the bartender prepare and set up efficiently, providing a seamless bar service experience.

Look For Experience and Knowledge.

When hiring a bartender, experience and knowledge are key factors to consider. Look for bartenders with a proven track record in the industry and a wide range of expertise. Experienced bartenders have a deep understanding of different spirits, cocktail recipes, and mixology techniques. They can recommend and create delicious drinks that suit your guests’ preferences. Additionally, their experience enables them to handle high-volume events, manage time effectively, and provide exceptional customer service.

Let Your Bartender Know About Potentially Problematic Guests

Open communication with your hired bartender is crucial, especially regarding potentially problematic guests. If there are individuals with known alcohol-related issues or specific dietary restrictions, informing your bartender in advance allows them to take necessary precautions and provide alternative drink options. This proactive approach ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for all attendees, and your bartender will appreciate the heads-up to accommodate your guests’ needs better.


So, whether you’re hosting a private party, an intimate gathering or a large-scale event, bartending services is an investment that pays off in elevated service, memorable moments, and a stress-free experience. Cheers to an unforgettable event with a skilled bartender at your service!

Hiring Bartenders for an Event FAQ.

Here are some frequently asked questions about hiring a bartender for your event.

How far in advance should I book a bartender for my event?

It is recommended to book a bartender at least 4-6 weeks in advance, especially for popular dates or during peak event seasons. This allows ample time to discuss details, customize the drink menu, and ensure availability.

Can the bartender create signature cocktails for my event?

Absolutely! Many event bartenders have the creativity and expertise to craft signature cocktails tailored to your event. Discuss your preferences and event theme with the bartender to collaborate on unique and memorable drink creations.

How many bartenders do I need for my event?

The number of bartenders required depends on the size of your event, the expected guest count, and the complexity of the drink menu. As a general guideline, it’s recommended to have one bartender per 50-75 guests to ensure efficient service.

Consulting with a professional event bartender service can help determine the ideal number of bartenders for your specific event.

Can bartenders provide non-alcoholic options as well?

Yes, professional bartenders are well-equipped to serve various non-alcoholic beverages such as mocktails, soft drinks, and speciality non-alcoholic cocktails. They can cater to guests who prefer non-alcoholic options or those who do not consume alcohol.

There is also a growing market for Gluten-free cocktails that bartenders might specialize in.

Do I need to provide glassware and alcohol when hiring a bartender?

The requirements may vary depending on the bartender service. Some bartenders provide their glassware, while others may ask you to. Similarly, some bartenders offer package deals that include alcohol, while others may require you to supply it. It’s important to clarify these details with the bartender service beforehand.

What qualifications should I look for when hiring a private bartender?

With a private bartender, look for qualifications such as training certifications, experience in the industry, and a strong knowledge of mixology and customer service. Ensure that the bartender has the certifications and licenses required by local regulations.

Can I customize the drink menu for my event?

Absolutely! Professional bartenders are often open to customizing the drink menu to suit your preferences and event theme. Discuss your ideas and preferences with the bartender, and they will work with you to create a tailored menu that reflects your unique style.

How far in advance should I book a bartender for my event?

It’s advisable to book a bartender at least 4-6 weeks in advance, especially for popular dates or during peak event seasons. This allows ample time to discuss details, secure the availability of the bartender, and make necessary arrangements.

What is the cost of hiring a bartender for an event?

The cost of a bartender can vary depending on factors such as the duration of the event, the number of guests, and any additional services required. On average, you can expect to pay between $25 and $50 per hour per bartender. It’s recommended to obtain quotes from different bartender services and compare their offerings to find the best fit for your budget.

Can bartenders provide non-alcoholic options for guests?

Professional bartenders are well-equipped to provide non-alcoholic options for guests who prefer not to consume alcohol. They can create refreshing mocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails and offer a variety of soft drinks to cater to everyone’s preferences.

How much is a cocktail bartender?

The cost of a cocktail bartender can vary depending on various factors, such as the location, the duration of the event, and the level of expertise required. On average, you can expect to pay between $25 and $50 per hour per bartender for their services. Obtaining quotes from different bartender services is recommended to get a more accurate estimate based on your specific event needs.

Do you tip at an open bar?

Tipping at an open bar is not mandatory but is generally appreciated. If you feel that the bartenders provided exceptional service and went above and beyond to ensure a great experience for you and your guests, tipping is a gesture of gratitude. It’s customary to tip around 10-20% of the total bar bill or provide a flat gratuity amount per bartender, depending on your preference.

What is a toonie bar?

A toonie bar is a term commonly used in Canada to refer to a type of cash bar where guests pay a fixed amount, typically two Canadian dollars (hence the name “toonie,” which is a Canadian two-dollar coin), for each drink they order.