State & Local Laws

Minimum Age for Bartending

The majority of states in the U.S. permit adults age 18 to 20 to tend bar in on-premises establishments. Generally the term "bartender" refers to a person who dispenses alcoholic beverages whereas "server" refers to a waitperson. The minimum ages for servers are found at Minimum Age to Serve. On-premises establishments are those in which alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption where purchased instead of elsewhere. They are typically restaurants and bars.

In some states, persons under 21 may be allowed to tend bar only in certain types of on-premises establishments, such as restaurants. In some cases, bartenders must be at least s specified age, but younger employees may be allowed to stock coolers with alcohol or clear alcoholic beverages from tables.

Some states place conditions on on-premises bartenders under 21 years of age. These include requirements that a legal-age manager or supervisor be present when the underage person is tending bar and/or that the underage bartender undergo beverage server training beyond that otherwise mandated in the state.

The minimum ages for bartending in on-premises establishments are listed by state:

 

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