What is a BarBack? Description, Duties & Roles in the Hospitality Industry

A barback is an essential member of a bar or restaurant staff. They are responsible for supporting the bartenders by stocking the bar, preparing ingredients, and keeping the bar area clean and organized.

Barbacks are the unsung heroes of the bar world, working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the bartenders have everything they need to make great drinks and keep the customers happy.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Barback

The duties of a barback vary depending on the size and type of establishment they work in, but generally, they are responsible for:

  • Stocking the bar with ice, glassware, mixers, and other supplies
  • Preparing ingredients for drinks, such as juicing fruits or making syrups
  • Keeping the bar area clean and organized, including washing glassware and wiping down surfaces
  • Assisting the bartenders with drink preparation and service, such as garnishing drinks or running food
  • Keeping track of inventory and ordering supplies as needed
  • Helping to set up and break down for events or special occasions

What Skills Does a Barback Need?

Barbacks usually work in a rapid-fire, tense atmosphere with close-knit time limits and lofty customer demands. Frequently, this role requires long shifts, including evenings, weekends, and public holidays, having to remain standing for prolonged amounts of time, hoisting heavy ice bags, and operating in loud places like a bar or pub.

To succeed as a barback, one needs to be equipped with a combination of hard and soft hospitality skills, like:

-Endurance: A barback will be on their feet and moving around for prolonged times and possibly having to lift hefty ice bags or beer crates.

-Organization: A barback needs to keep the bar neat and orderly, prepared to make quick decisions, and think on their feet.

-Attention to detail: A barback must pay attention to the details and ensure that the bar is always well-stocked with products and ready for customers.

-Customer service: While a bar back may not have as much direct interaction with patrons as a bartender, they are still front-of-house staff and need to be able to provide good customer service and be friendly and approachable.

How Much Are Barbacks Paid?

Barbacks typically earn an hourly wage, which varies depending on the location and type of establishment they work in. According to Salary.com, the national average hourly wage for a barback is $10 to $12. However, some barbacks in high-end or busy establishments may earn more, and tips can also add to their income.

Career Progression and Advancement Opportunities

The position of a barback can be utilized to progress one’s career in the hospitality world. Plenty of barbacks desire to become bartenders and climb the ladder by demonstrating their expertise and loyalty to their job.

Furthermore, some barbacks might explore other industry opportunities, like becoming a manager or being employed in a different field of business, such as events or advertising.

Barback Garnishing Drink

Different Types of Bars and Restaurants

Barbacks can work in a variety of different types of bars and restaurants, including:

-Fine dining restaurants: In fine dining establishments, barbacks may be responsible for stocking the bar, preparing garnishes and ingredients, and assisting the bartenders with drink orders. They may also be responsible for keeping the bar area clean and organized.

Nightclubs and music venues: In these types of establishments, barbacks may be responsible for stocking the bar and preparing ingredients or helping with bottle service. They may also be responsible for maintaining a safe and orderly environment and helping to control crowds.

Sports bars and pubs: In sports bars and pubs, barbacks may be responsible for stocking the bar, preparing ingredients, and helping bartenders keep up with drink orders during busy times. They may also be responsible for cleaning and organizing the bar area.

Hotels and resorts: In hotels and resorts, barbacks may be responsible for stocking and organizing the bar, preparing ingredients, and assisting the bartenders with drink orders. They may also be responsible for keeping the bar area clean and tidy.

How to Become a Barback

Getting started in the hospitality sector as a barback is a fantastic way to begin, and there are numerous paths that can be taken. Here are some options:

-On-the-job training: Some bars and eateries will hire people with no experience and teach them on the job. This offers an ideal opportunity for getting a head start and gaining knowledge of the basics.

-Bartending school or classes: Bartending schools and online classes can give you the basics you need to land a job as a barback, especially if you’re working your way up to a bartender. Taking classes is an excellent way to learn all it takes to succeed as a barback and make valuable connections in this industry.

Hospitality degree: Some people may opt for obtaining a degree in hospitality management, which can lead to expanded knowledge about the business and possible openings for career growth.

Here’s a great guide from bevspot.com on skills every barback should master for success.

What to Look for in a Barback

When looking for a barback, it’s important to find someone who meets the following criteria:

  • Reliable and always on time
  • Can handle high-pressure environments
  • Eager to take instructions and eager to learn
  • Physically strong and able to lift loads of heavy items
  • Capable with their hands, allowing them to quickly and effectively prepare ingredients
  • Possesses a positive outlook and is an active team player

How to Hire a Barback

When looking to recruit a barback, it’s essential to:

  • Post the job listing on multiple job boards accessible to a broad base of potential applicants.
  • Thoroughly read resumes and cover letters.
  • Carry out phone conversations or in-person interviews to get an understanding of the potential employee’s character and past job experience.
  • Check sources for insight into their work ethics and accomplishments.
  • Think about having them undergo training and mentoring, so they are equipped to handle the duties entailed in the position.


Can a barback become a bartender?

Yes, many barbacks do eventually become bartenders. The skills and experience you gain as a barback can be a great stepping stone to becoming a bartender, and many bars and restaurants will promote from within. However, it is also important to note that not all barbacks desire to become bartenders. Some may continue to work as a barback or pursue other opportunities within the hospitality industry.

Is a barback only responsible for stocking and cleaning?

A barback is not only responsible for stocking and cleaning. They additionally offer help to the bartenders in completing any tasks they need assistance with, get garnishes and items ready, as well as running errands. The primary goal of a barback is making sure that the running of the bar is smooth and that the bartenders have what they require to concoct quality drinks.

Is experience necessary to become a barback?

It is not always necessary to have prior experience in order to be a barback. Many businesses employ those with no background and furnish training while on the job. Nevertheless, having familiarity with hospitality or customer service may be advantageous.


A barback is a critical bar or restaurant staff member, working away from view to ensure the successful operation of the bar. Their duties encompass stocking the bar, readying components, as well as keeping the area neat and in order.

When looking for someone suitable to fill this role, it can be helpful to target dependable individuals who can perform well in tense situations and are strong team players. With the right barback on board, you can be sure that your bar will run efficiently and effectively – making both your patrons and business happy.

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