Arkansas Bartender License Requirements

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 5 min.

As a bartender in Arkansas, you’re responsible for crafting delicious drinks, creating a welcoming atmosphere, and ensuring the safety of your patrons. But did you know that to serve alcohol in Arkansas legally, you need to obtain a bartender license?

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what it takes to become a licensed bartender in Arkansas, the benefits of doing so, and why it’s essential for anyone looking to make a career in bartending. So, let’s dive in!

Do You Need a Bartending License in Arkansas?

Yes, in Arkansas, bartenders must have completed training approved by Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC). You can find a list of Responsible Permittee Programs approved trainers on the ABC website.

Obtaining a bartender license not only fulfils legal obligations but also provides benefits such as improved job prospects, legal protection, enhanced professionalism and credibility, knowledge and skills, and personal growth.

Bartending License Requirements for Arkansas

Minimum Age To Serve Alcoholic Beverages In Arkansas:

You must be at least 19 to serve alcohol and 21 to bartend. According to the APIS, as of 2022, there are two ages for serving alcohol and working as a bartender. Servers can open bottles of wine and beer and take payments but not prepare mixed drinks.

  • To work as a server in a bar or restaurant, you must be at least 19 years old.
  • To work as a bartender or prepare drinks, you must be at least 21.

Serving Alcohol Permits in Arkansas

The ABC typically offers a free 4-hour educational seminar twice per month. Attendance is mandatory for permit applicants, and a permit will not be issued until the seminar has been completed. To view the schedule of upcoming seminars, visit the ABC website.

What Is the Job Market Like for Bartenders in Arkansas?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of bartenders in Arkansas is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5% from 2019 to 2029, slightly higher than the national average of 4.8%. This growth is largely driven by the state’s growing tourism industry and the increasing popularity of craft cocktails and speciality drinks.

What Cities Are Good Places for Bartending Work in Arkansas?

Several cities in Arkansas are considered good places for bartending work. Some of the top cities include:

  • Little Rock – The state capital and largest city in Arkansas, Little Rock has a bustling nightlife scene with numerous bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. It’s also a hub for business and tourism, which creates a steady demand for bartenders.
  • Fayetteville – Home to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is a college town with a lively nightlife and plenty of opportunities for bartending work. It also has a growing food and beverage industry, creating new job opportunities for bartenders.
  • Hot Springs – Known for its hot springs and historic bathhouses, it is a popular tourist destination that attracts worldwide visitors. It has various bars and restaurants serving alcohol, creating opportunities for bartenders to work in a unique and exciting environment.
  • Bentonville – Home to Walmart’s headquarters and several other large corporations, Bentonville has a growing economy and a thriving food and beverage industry. It’s also home to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which attracts a steady stream of visitors and creates opportunities for bartenders to work at high-end events and functions.

Overall, these cities offer a diverse range of opportunities for bartenders, from high-end cocktail bars to casual sports bars and everything in between.

How Much Money Do Bartenders Make in Arkansas?

According to websites like Indeed and Intuit, the average base salary for a bartender in Arkansas is $14.61 or $26,000 per year as of 2023, according to Intuit Mint’s data based on tax returns.

However, some bartenders may earn more than this, depending on their skill level and the type of establishment they work in. For example, bartenders who work in upscale restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs may earn higher wages and tips than those who work in more casual bars and pubs.

Arkansas Blue Laws and Dry Counties

In Arkansas, the sale of alcohol on Sundays is currently not permitted.

Additionally, almost 50% of the counties in the state are considered “dry,” meaning the sale of alcohol is prohibited. Even in counties where alcohol sales are allowed, some local jurisdictions may still be “dry” despite county regulations.

To see a current map of wet and dry areas in the state as of 2019, please refer to this link.

Arkansas Bartender License FAQ

Here are some questions people often ask about becoming a bartender in Arkansas.

Can I Work as a Bartender in Arkansas if I’m Under 21?

No, you must be at least 21 to work as a bartender in Arkansas; however, you can start as a server or hostess at 19.

Do I Need a High School Diploma or GED To Obtain a Bartender License in Arkansas?

This is not a legal requirement, however, many employers might expect you to have one.

Do I Need To Undergo a Background Check To Obtain a Bartender License in Arkansas?

Depending on your employer, you may need a background check, including fingerprinting and a criminal history check. This isn’t a state requirement, though.

Can You Work as a Bartender in Arkansas With a Felony Conviction?

According to FelonyRecordHub, only Indiana and Washington State have laws prohibiting you from becoming a bartender. However, it is up to the business to hire you if they do a background check.

Is It Possible To Complete the Required Training Program Online?

Since before COVID, many training programs have been available online and in person. Check with the approved training school you plan to attend if they offer online instruction.

What Topics Are Covered on the Certification Exam?

The requirements for obtaining certification as a bartender in Arkansas include attending an approved course of instruction, which covers topics such as the dangers of drinking and driving, state laws regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises and off-premises consumption, and recognizing and dealing with underage customers.

Each employee authorized to sell alcohol must also complete this training course within 30 days of starting work.


Obtaining a bartender license in Arkansas is a crucial step for anyone looking to pursue a career in bartending. It demonstrates your commitment to professionalism, responsibility, and providing safe and enjoyable experiences for your customers. By meeting the requirements and following the process outlined by the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, you can obtain your bartender license and reap the benefits of legal protection, improved job prospects, enhanced professionalism and credibility, and personal growth. So, if you’re passionate about bartending, take the necessary steps to obtain your bartender license and elevate your career.

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