Legal Bartending Age by State

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what is the legal bartending age?

How Old Do You have to be to Become a Bartender

Many people think the legal bartending age is 21, however, each state has its own laws, and in some states, the age to serve alcohol is only 18. So check the law as you may be able to start bartending and earning great pay today, while in other states you may have to be 21!

Legal bartending age by state

Find your state in the table below. If you are not the legal age, you can start as a bar back or a server. Once you have your foot in the door, you can learn the ropes, and over time move up to a bartender job. As a server, however, you can serve drinks, but not pour or mix the cocktail and beers. It is against the law to pour drinks if you are not the legal age in your state. Therefore never pour a drink if you are not the legal age. The bar will face fines and lose their liquor license and could result in the bar being closed.

TIPS Certification

Even If you are not the legal age you should be TIPS certified since it’s great for your resume to be certified. Employers prefer to hire Employees with TIPS when they apply for a job. If you are not TIPS certified you are less likely to be hired.
You can get TIPS certified here.

Blood Alcohol Concentration
Get Tips Certified

Why would you be less likely to be hired without T.I.P.S Certification?

The reason why a hiring bar owner or bar manager may choose not to hire you is that you are considered more of a risk. Bar owners can face expensive fines and even lose their liquor license if a staff member does something illegal.

Dram Shop Laws.

These laws are enforced through civil lawsuits, allowing DUI victims or their families to sue alcohol vendors or retailers for monetary damages. Typically, when the plaintiff wins a lawsuit against both an alcohol vendor and the intoxicated driver, the compensatory damages are divided between the two defendants.
“Dram shop” laws are named after establishments in 18th Century England that sold gin by the spoonful (called a “dram”). These laws are enforced through civil lawsuits, allowing DUI victims or their families to sue alcohol vendors or retailers for monetary damages. Typically, when the plaintiff wins a lawsuit against both an alcohol vendor and the intoxicated driver, the compensatory damages are divided between the two defendants.
Proving the fault of the vendor has become an easier task than it used to be. You can bet that if someone leaves your bar and is involved in an accident they are coming back to you by way of asking where they were drinking, their credit card history may show where they were drinking, should the person be killed in the accident, also video surveillance would be requested should the accident happen in the area. So does the video show the bartender offering the customer something to eat or does it show the bartender continuing to serve a customer who could barely stand?
Not all dram shop laws are the same – in fact, they can differ quite a bit. States that do impose a dram shop laws may define specific terms in their statutes differently. Words like “guest or patron” and retailer can carry different meanings.
One commonality is often the application of the “obvious intoxication test,” where a retailer knew or should have known that the patron was so intoxicated that more alcohol would cause danger to himself or to others.
Currently, 43 states and the District of Columbia have some sort of dram shop law in effect, varying in scope. Those states without dram shop laws are Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, and Virginia. See the DUI Laws and Resources section to learn more about the DUI laws in your state.

Learn more at the ATF website.

https://www.atf.gov/alcohol-tobacco

How old do I have to be to bartend?
Alabama 21
Arkansas 18
Arizona 19
California 21
Colorado 18
Connecticut 18
Florida 18
Georgia 18
Hawaii 18
Idaho 19
Illinois 21
Indiana 21
Iowa 18
Kansas 21
Kentucky 20
Maine 18
Massachusetts 18
Minnesota 18
Mississippi 21
Missouri 18
Montana 18
Nebraska 19
Nevada 21
New Hampshire 18
New Jersey 19
New York> 18
North Carolina 21
North Dakota 19
Ohio 21
Oklahoma 21
Pennsylvania 18
Rhode Island 18
South Carolina 21
South Dakota 21
Tennessee 18
Texas 18
Utah 21
Vermont 18
Virginia 21
West Virginia 18
Wisconsin 18
Wyoming 21
Washington DC 21
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