Being a Responsible Bartender

There are some laws that bartenders should be aware of. There is a big responsibility when you are serving alcoholic beverages. Please read the Dram Shop external link from

Get Certified

When you get certified, you learn how to become a responsible alcohol seller. I recommend people to get certified. Some establishments require that the bartenders get certified in order to bartend there. You could get your certification online.

Check Identification

  • If a person looks under 30 years old, you should check his/her ID.
  • When checking an ID, ask the person to hand it to you. Some people are going to show their ID in their wallet; ask them to take it out. You have to touch the ID.
  • Make sure it is a valid ID. It should be a State ID or Driver License, a Passport or a Military ID. No student IDs.
  • Make sure you look at everything on the ID. Look for picture, date of birth, height, weight, sex, hair and expiration date.

Use the F.E.A.R. Method

  • F: Feel the identification for evidence of tampering.
  • E: Examine the information, such as: picture, date of birth, height, expiration date, etc.
  • A: Ask questions, such as birthdate, zip code, address, etc.
  • R: Return the identification.

Never Serve to Minors

Never serve to minors and always check IDs. In the United States, a person has to be 21 years old to purchase alcoholic beverages. Selling to a minor is a misdemeanor.

What to look for?

Physical Signs

  • Lack of beard growth or underarm hair (Boys).
  • High or changing pitch in voice (Boys).
  • Lack of pelvic or breast development (Girls).
  • "Baby Fat" not consistent with obesity (Both).

Look at their Clothing

  • Clothes or/and accessories favored by young people.
  • Grooming styles favored by young people.

Behavioral Clues

  • Gathering in groups.
  • Preoccupation with how they appear to others.
  • Easily embarrassed or humiliated.

Don't Serve Intoxicated People

It is illegal to serve alcohol to intoxicated people and to those known to be alcoholics. If you intoxicate somebody and that person gets into an accident, you could get criminal charges and you might go to jail.

Always look at everybody that comes to your bar. Check for signs of intoxication like loss of coordination, slurred or irregular speech, violent or difficult behavior and disorientation.

Prevent Intoxication

Preventing intoxication is your responsibility as a bartender.

Slowing Down Someone's Drinking

  • Remove empty glasses before replacing them with fresh drinks.
  • Serve water.
  • Avoid serving pitchers.
  • Do not pass the tables as often.
  • Do not bring a drink for one person at another's request.
  • Divert attention away from drinking to dancing, pool, watching the TV screens, etc.
  • Serve food high in protein and fat. They slow the absorption of alcohol.
  • Don't serve high salt content foods. They increase thirst and customers desire for more drinks.

Refuse Service to Intoxicated People

  • If an intoxicated person comes to your bar and wants a drink, don't serve him/her. You have the right to refuse service to any intoxicated person.
  • Be non-judgmental and non-threatening. Say something like, "I'm sorry. I've served you as much as I'm allowed." or "I'm sorry, but if I serve you another drink, I could lose my job."
  • Inform other bartenders not to serve that person.
  • Never change your mind when you cut somebody off.


The Alcoholic Beverage Control or Alcoholic Beverage Commission (A.B.C.) sends persons under 20 years old to purchase alcoholic beverages from liquor stores and bars. They are trying to find the establishments that are selling alcohol to minors.

Never sell alcoholic beverages to minors and always check IDs.

Note: All the decoys that are sent by A.B.C. have to look under age. If you ask them for their age, they have to tell you their real age. They are not allowed to lie.