Getting Your Idaho Bartending License

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Welcome to the exciting world of mixology in the Gem State! If you’re drawn to the vibrant nightlife, love the art of crafting cocktails, and are looking to shake up your career in Idaho, you’re in the right place. Let’s start with what you need to obtain your Idaho bartending license.

Bartending License Requirements for Idaho

Do you need a Bartending License in Idaho?

No, you do not need a specific bartending license to serve alcohol in Idaho. However, many employers may require or prefer you to have alcohol server training.

However, it gets complicated because local jurisdictions can decide what training is required to serve alcohol.

Here are some jurisdictions where we found information on server training requirements.

Note, make sure you check with the city you want to work in before paying for training. We found one case where the City of Meridian recognizes 360 Training’s Learn2Serve, but it is not valid in Boise.


In Boise, anyone involved in selling or serving alcoholic beverages is mandated to complete a Boise Alcohol Server Certification Training course such as TIPS or other approved training. This certification must be acquired within the first 60 days of their employment.


Meridian and Nampa

Meridian and Nampa have the same requirements as Boise for licensees to ensure that all supervising servers of alcohol have completed an approved server training program.


Coeur d’Alene

Requires a Beer and Wine License, and likely that servers certification is required. Free server training is offered by Idaho Alcohol Beverage Control.


Sun Valley

According to the employment website, employees must be TIPs certified for alcohol service or obtain a TIPs certification within 30 days of hire.


What Is the Job Market Like for Bartenders in Idaho?

How Much Money Do Bartenders Make in Idaho?

According to websites like Indeed and Intuit, the average base salary for a bartender in Idaho is $13.15 or $28,000 per year as of 2023, according to Intuit Mint’s data based on tax returns.

What Cities Are Good Places for Bartending Work in Idaho?

Here are some cities in Idaho that could be considered good for bartenders to work in.

  • Boise: As Idaho’s capital and largest city, Boise has a vibrant nightlife scene with various bars and restaurants. Its growing population and the presence of Boise State University also contribute to a steady demand for bartenders.
  • Meridian and Nampa: Being part of the Boise Metropolitan Area, these cities also have a growing hospitality scene.
  • Coeur d’Alene: Known for its beautiful lake and resort, Coeur d’Alene sees a significant influx of tourists, especially in the summer. This increased tourism can create a high demand for bartenders.
  • Sun Valley: This resort city is a popular destination for tourists year-round, with skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. The tourism industry here could provide ample opportunities for bartenders.
  • Idaho Falls: As the largest city in Eastern Idaho, Idaho Falls has a range of bars and restaurants that could offer good opportunities for bartending work.

Please note that the best city for you will depend on your preferences, including the kind of establishment you want to work in (e.g., dive bars, high-end cocktail lounges, resort bars, etc.) and your preferred clientele.

Idaho bartending FAQ

Here are some common questions we found people asking about bartending in Idaho.

Do you have to be 21 to be a bartender in Idaho?

No, you can start bartending or serving drinks at 19, according to the APIS.

Note that some places may want more experience before starting you on the bar, so consider applying as a barback or look for a smaller restaurant to start at.

Can you drink while bartending in Idaho?

Yes, In Idaho, the law does not prohibit bartenders or servers in licensed establishments from consuming alcohol while on duty. However, the decision ultimately lies with the employer, who sets policies and procedures on this matter. The licensee should consult their legal advisor and insurance provider before permitting employees to drink alcohol during work hours.

Is Idaho a dry alcohol state?

No, while Idaho permits local authorities to ban the sale of liquor for on-premise consumption through a public vote, the state controls all retail package sales. Therefore, no local jurisdiction can prohibit packaged liquor sales intended for off-premise consumption.

Can you go into a bar at 18 in Idaho?

No, minors under 21 cannot enter or linger in a bar or lounge area. However, staff who are 19 years old and above are permitted to serve, sell, and dispense liquor, beer, and wine as part of their job responsibilities.

Can you drink under 21 with a parent in Idaho?

No, as of 2023, Idaho does not have an exemption for drinking with parents, even off-premises.


Here are some websites with more useful information about bartending in Idaho.


And there you have it! As you stir and shake your way into the Idaho bartending scene, remember that each city might have slightly different requirements for serving alcohol. While the Gem State does not require a specific bartending license, completing a server training program is always a good idea, which can be a plus point in your employment journey.

We’ve also touched on some frequently asked questions about Idaho’s liquor laws, from the legal age to serve alcohol to the question of drinking on the job. Remember, while the law might allow certain things, employer policies may differ, so it’s always best to check with your place of work.

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