What is a Barback?

A barback plays a crucial part in the hospitality sector. Barbacks support bartenders in the background by making sure they have everything they need to serve clients effectively.

Throughout their shift, they are responsible for replenishing the glassware, swapping out the kegs, and keeping the dining area tidy. Fast-paced and demanding, a barback’s job can be a fantastic method to get customer service experience prior to beginning a career as a bartender.

Barbacks frequently learn from bartenders as they advance to bartending positions. In addition to washing glasses and making garnishes, they are in charge of supplying the bar with drinks, ice, and other supplies.

No one will ever be aware that there was a problem thanks to a good barback that keeps the ship afloat. On the other hand, a poor barback might cause the ship to sink quickly!

What is a Barback?

A barback is an essential member of the bar industry who assists bartenders in running the bar smoothly.

They are responsible for various tasks that help streamline the service and ensure that customers receive their orders promptly. In this section, we will discuss the responsibilities, duties, skills, and training required to become a barback.


Barbacks are responsible for a wide range of tasks that help bartenders to focus on customer service. They are expected to stock the bar with liquor, ice, garnish, glasses, and other necessary items.

They also ensure that the bar area is clean and organized, and they handle the trash and recycling. During service, barbacks help bartenders by preparing garnishes, mixing tools, and cleaning spills. After service, they clean counters, restock the bar, and prepare for the next shift.


Barbacks perform a variety of duties that require them to be versatile and multitask. They must be able to lift heavy items such as kegs and cases of liquor and be comfortable standing for long periods. They also need to have excellent communication skills to work effectively with bartenders and servers. Barbacks are expected to be organized and efficient, ensuring that everything runs smoothly during service.


To become a barback, certain skills are required. Barbacks must have excellent organizational skills and the ability to multitask. They should be physically fit and able to lift heavy items. Communication skills are also essential, as barbacks must work closely with bartenders and servers. Additionally, they should be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment and be able to handle stressful situations.


There are no formal education requirements to become a barback, but most employers prefer candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent. Barbacks usually receive on-the-job training, which includes learning how to stock the bar, prepare garnishes, and use the POS system.

They also learn how to handle kegs, bottles, and other heavy items safely. Some employers may require barbacks to have experience working in a busy bar or restaurant.


As a barback, there are several key responsibilities that must be fulfilled to ensure smooth bar operations.

These responsibilities include stocking the bar, preparing garnishes, cleaning spills, and restocking the bar.

Stocking the Bar

One of the primary responsibilities of a barback is to ensure that the bar is fully stocked with all necessary supplies. This includes restocking bottles of liquor, beer, and wine, as well as replenishing ice, mixers, and other essential ingredients. The barback must also ensure that all necessary glassware is clean and available for use.

Preparing Garnishes

Another important responsibility of a barback is to prepare garnishes for cocktails and other drinks. This may include slicing fruit, preparing herbs, and creating other decorative elements that add visual appeal to the drinks being served. The barback must also ensure that all garnishes are fresh and properly stored.

Cleaning Spills

Spills are an inevitable part of working in a bar, and it is the responsibility of the barback to clean them up quickly and efficiently. This may involve mopping up spills on the bar or floor, wiping down surfaces, and ensuring that any broken glass is safely disposed of.

Restocking the Bar

Finally, the barback must ensure that the bar remains fully stocked throughout the night. This includes regularly checking inventory levels and restocking supplies as needed, as well as ensuring that all empty bottles and containers are properly disposed of.

Overall, the role of a barback is critical to the success of any bar or restaurant. By fulfilling these key responsibilities, the barback helps to ensure that customers receive prompt and efficient service, and that the bar runs smoothly throughout the night.


As a Barback, there are several duties that are expected to be performed efficiently.

These duties are crucial to ensure that the bar runs smoothly and customers are satisfied with the service they receive. The following sub-sections outline the primary duties of a Barback.

Stocking Liquor and Beer

One of the most important duties of a Barback is to ensure that there is an adequate supply of liquor and beer. This includes restocking the bar with bottles of liquor, kegs of beer, and other necessary supplies. The Barback should also keep track of inventory levels and alert the bartender when supplies are running low. This will help prevent any delays in service and ensure that customers are always served quickly and efficiently.

Cleaning Glassware and Dishes

The Barback is also responsible for cleaning and maintaining the glassware and dishes used in the bar. This includes washing glasses, plates, and utensils, as well as ensuring that they are properly stored and organized. The Barback should also be aware of the different types of glassware used in the bar and ensure that each glass is cleaned and stored appropriately.

Organizing the Bar

Another important duty of a Barback is to keep the bar organized and tidy. This includes keeping the bar top clean and free of clutter, as well as ensuring that the bar area is well-stocked and organized. The Barback should also be aware of the different types of equipment used in the bar and ensure that each item is stored in its proper place.

Stocking Garnishes and Supplies

The Barback is also responsible for stocking the bar with garnishes and other necessary supplies. This includes cutting fruit, preparing garnishes, and ensuring that there is an adequate supply of straws, napkins, and other necessary items. The Barback should also be aware of the different types of garnishes used in the bar and ensure that each item is prepared and stored appropriately.

In summary, a Barback is responsible for ensuring that the bar runs smoothly and customers are satisfied with the service they receive.

This includes restocking liquor and beer, cleaning glassware and dishes, organizing the bar, and stocking garnishes and supplies. By performing these duties efficiently, the Barback can help ensure that customers have a positive experience and that the bar operates smoothly.


Barbacks require a unique set of skills to be successful in their role.

Some of the essential skills for a barback include communication skills, multitasking abilities, lifting, and carrying skills.

Communication Skills

Barbacks are an integral part of the bar team, and they must be able to communicate effectively with other staff members. They need to be attentive listeners and able to follow instructions accurately. They must also be able to communicate with customers and provide excellent customer service. Good communication skills are essential for a barback to ensure smooth operations and customer satisfaction.

Multitasking Abilities

Barbacks must be able to multitask effectively to keep up with the fast-paced environment of a bar. They must be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, such as restocking supplies, cleaning the bar area, and assisting bartenders. They must also be able to prioritize tasks and work efficiently to ensure that everything is done on time.

Lifting and Carrying Skills

Lifting and carrying heavy objects are a significant part of a barback’s job. They must be physically fit and able to lift and carry heavy loads, such as kegs, cases of beer, and boxes of supplies. They must also be able to move quickly and efficiently to ensure that everything is in the right place at the right time.

In summary, a successful barback must possess a combination of communication skills, multitasking abilities, and lifting and carrying skills. These skills are essential for ensuring that the bar runs smoothly and that customers receive the best possible service.


Barbacking is a position that requires some training before an individual can perform the duties effectively.

The training should cover several aspects of the bar industry and equip the individual with the necessary skills to perform the job.

Bar Industry Knowledge

Barbacking requires an understanding of the bar industry, including the different types of drinks, glassware, and bar tools. The training should cover the basics of mixology, including the ingredients and preparation of popular cocktails. The individual should also be familiar with the different types of beer, wine, and spirits, as well as their serving temperatures, glassware, and garnishes.

POS System Training

The point of sale (POS) system is an essential tool in the bar industry, and barbacks should be familiar with its use. The training should cover the basics of the POS system, including how to take orders, process payments, and manage tabs. The individual should also know how to enter discounts, void items, and split checks.

Barbacks should be aware of the legal drinking age and ensure that customers are of legal age before serving them alcohol. The training should cover the laws and regulations regarding the sale of alcohol, including the consequences of serving minors. The individual should also know how to check IDs and recognize fake IDs.

Overall, the training should provide the individual with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the job effectively. The training should be ongoing, and the individual should continue to learn and improve their skills throughout their employment.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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