What’s the Minimum Age to Be a Bartender?

Minimum age to be a bartender

One of the most frequently asked questions aspiring bartenders have is: “how old do I have to be to become a bartender?

In other words, new bartenders often want to know at what age they can start preparing and serving drinks. 

This is clearly important to know because along with (potentially) having to get your liquor-serving/bartending license, meeting the minimum age is the only other requirement to be a bartender.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one answer to “how old do you have to be to bartend” because age requirements vary from country to country, state to state, and province to province.

So to answer the majority of people’s questions, I’ve put together a few simple tables so you can quickly look up what the minimum age is to be a bartender in your geographical area.

Table of Contents

    1. United States Bartending Age Requirements
    2. International Bartending Age Requirements

In the tables below, you’ll be able to find the minimum age requirements for the following countries, states, and provinces: Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States.

If you work as a bartender in other parts of the world and you know what the minimum age requirement is, please reach out so I can also add that country to the list :-).

Please get in touch here.

Finally, before we get to the list, I’d like to point out that in the United States, despite some state’s lower legal minimum age requirements, some bars will still require you to be of legal drinking age (i.e. 21) to hire you as a bartender.

Because bartenders are constantly surrounded by alcohol, it’s common for them to drink (illegally) on the job. If you get caught drinking illegally AND you’re underage, the venue will face the consequences. So it’s more risky hiring bartenders who are underage and some venues aren’t willing to take that risk.

United States Bartending Age Requirements

In the United States, age-requirements for serving alcohol can be confusing. The requirements are primarily broken down between two categories: On-premise and Off-premise. Furthermore, the serving of alcohol On-premise can be broken down one step further. Let’s take a look.

On-Premise

On-premise refers to an establishment that sells alcohol to be consumed in where it is purchased, hence on the premise. This includes restaurants, bars, casinos, hotels, and more. On-premise can be further broken down between servers and bartenders, with each having their own age requirements (which we will get into below). The difference between a server and a bartender is that a bartender may pour and mix drinks, whereas a server may only serve the completed drink to the patron.

Off-Premise

Off-premise refers to an establishment that sells alcohol that is to be consumed off the premises. The most common off-premise establishment is the liquor store, but it can also include such things as grocery or convenience stores.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way let’s take a look at the age requirements for each category.

On-Premise Bartending Age Requirements

Updated April, 2022
State or ProvinceBeerWineSpiritsSupervisor?*
Alabama212121Yes
Alaska212121
Arizona181818
Arkansas212121
California212121
Colorado181818Yes
Connecticut181818
Delaware212121
District of Columbia (DC) 212121
Florida181818
Georgia181818
Hawaii181818Yes
Idaho191919
Illinois181818
Indiana212121Yes
Iowa181818
Kansas212121Yes
Kentucky202020
Louisiana181818
Maine171717Yes
Maryland181821
Massachusetts181818
Michigan181818
Minnesota181818
Mississippi21 2121
Missouri212121
Montana181818
Nebraska191919
Nevada212121
New Hampshire181818
New Jersey181818
New Mexico212121
New York181818
North Carolina181821
North Dakota212121Yes
Ohio192121
Oklahoma212121
Oregon181818
Pennsylvania181818
Rhode Island181818
South Carolina212121
South Dakota21 2121
Tennessee181818
Texas181818
Utah212121
Vermont181818
Virginia212121
Washington212121Yes
West Virginia181818Yes
Wisconsin181818
Wyoming212121

*In some states it is required that a manager or supervisor be present in the establishment while an underage person is serving alcohol. 

On-Premise Server Age Requirements

Updated April, 2022
State or ProvinceBeerWineSpirits
Alabama191919
Alaska212121
Arizona181818
Arkansas191919
California181818
Colorado181818
Connecticut181818
Delaware181818
District of Columbia (DC)181818
Florida181818
Georgia181818
Hawaii181818
Idaho191919
Illinois181818
Indiana191919
Iowa181818
Kansas181818
Kentucky202020
Louisiana181818
Maine171717
Maryland181818
Massachusetts181818
Michigan181818
Minnesota181818
Mississippi181818
Missouri181818
Montana181818
Nebraska191919
Nevada212121
New Hampshire181818
New Jersey181818
New Mexico191919
New York181818
North Carolina181818
North Dakota181818
Ohio191919
Oklahoma181818
Oregon181818
Pennsylvania181818
Rhode Island181818
South Carolina181818
South Dakota181818
Tennessee181818
Texas181818
Utah212121
Vermont181818
Virginia181818
Washington181818
West Virginia181818
Wisconsin181818
Wyoming181818

Off-Premise Seller Age Requirements

Updated April, 2022
State or ProvinceBeerWineSpirits
AlabamaNoneNone21
Alaska212121
Arizona161616
Arkansas181821
CaliforniaNoneNoneNone
Colorado181818
Connecticut151818
Delaware212121
District of Columbia (DC)181818
FloridaNoneNone18
GeorgiaNoneNoneNone
Hawaii181818
Idaho191919
Illinois181818
Indiana191919
Iowa161618
Kansas181821
Kentucky182020
LouisianaNoneNoneNone
Maine171717
Maryland181821
Massachusetts181818
Michigan181818
Minnesota181818
Mississippi02121
Missouri181818
Montana181818
Nebraska161616
Nevada161616
New Hampshire161616
New Jersey181818
New Mexico212121
New YorkNoneNone18
North CarolinaNoneNone18
North Dakota212121
Ohio181818
Oklahoma181821
Oregon181818
Pennsylvania181818
Rhode Island181818
South CarolinaNoneNone21
South Dakota181818
Tennessee181818
Texas161621
Utah212121
Vermont1616None
VirginiaNoneNoneNone
Washington181818
West Virginia181818
Wisconsin181818
Wyoming212121

International Bartending Age Requirements

CountryState or ProvinceLegal Minimum Age
AustraliaEntire Country18
CanadaAlberta18
CanadaBritish Columbia19
CanadaManitoba18
CanadaNew Brunswick19
CanadaNewfoundland & Labrador19
CanadaNorthwest Territories19
CanadaNova Scotia19
CanadaNunavut19
CanadaOntario19
CanadaPrince Edward Island19
CanadaQuebec18
CanadaSaskatchewan19
CanadaYukon19
EnglandEntire Country18
FranceEntire Country18
GermanyEntire Country18
IrelandEntire Country18
ItalyEntire Country18
NetherlandsEntire Country18
New ZealandEntire Country18
ScotlandEntire Country18
SpainEntire Country18
SwitzerlandEntire Country18
United KingdomEntire Country18
WalesEntire Country18

Note: Be aware that minimum age requirements do sometimes change. These cases are rare but they exist. To be sure, contact your local municipality for the most up to date legal information.

Can You Bartend Under 21?

Yes, there are currently 31 states where individuals can bartend under the age of 21. As you can see from the tables above, there are specific state rules that are more prohibitive even if you can bartend under 21 though. Some states have different rules based on the alcohol, some require a manager on staff, and of course there are also other requirements for servers vs. bartender. It is also worth noting that some states have local allowances that differ from state rules, so be sure to check your county’s regulations.

What Licenses Are Required to Become a Bartender?

Regardless if you make the age requirements to bartend, in some states and counties, there are requirements that you have be licensed in order to serve, sell, or make alcoholic beverages. You can see state and county licensing requirements here.

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