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Bartender interview questions and answers

This Bartender interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

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Bartender Interview Questions

You may already have some excellent Bartender candidates around you, in the form of your current barbacks. But, if you don’t, and are hiring a team of bartenders from scratch, you’re looking for bartenders with proven experience in the kind of establishment you have. This is more important than the number of years they’ve been bartending.

Bartending certification is desirable, as is alcohol safety training. Knowledge of a second language could be useful, depending on where you are. Also, if it gives you an edge over your competition, you may consider hiring someone with a specialization such as a sommelier (wine expert) or cicerone (beer expert).

These interview questions are mostly open-ended and situational, and will encourage candidates to speak at length about their bartending experience. Outstanding candidates will be knowledgeable about popular and classic cocktails, and will be opinionated about how to best pair these drinks with your menu items. They will be outgoing and will be able to upsell drinks without being too pushy. They’ll be reliable, hardworking, and will work well in teams.

Operational and Situational questions

  • What do you like about bartending?
  • How would you describe our customers?
  • What kinds of customers are you used to serving?
  • Describe any training or experience you have in bartending.
  • What alcohol safety training do you have, if any?
  • What’s your favorite drink to make?
  • Where do you go for a good cocktail?
  • What drink would you pair with [our specialty dish]?
  • How would you make an Old Fashioned?
  • What dessert drinks would you recommend?
  • What would you do if one of your patrons has clearly had too much to drink?
  • What would you do if you suspected that an underage person was using a borrowed ID?
  • What would you do if you knew you were going to be more than an hour late to work?
  • How would you keep yourself busy during a slow night?
  • Describe a time you turned a negative situation with a customer into a positive one.
  • What’s your approach to upselling?
  • A customer sends their drink back. How would you handle it?
  • How do you handle substitutions to drink ingredients?
  • Describe a time you resolved a problem with an angry customer.
  • What would you do if your coworker wasn’t doing their share of the work?
  • What would you do if you knew you were going to be more than an hour late to work?
  • Have you been a patron at our bar before? What was your experience? How can we improve?


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