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What Do Bartenders Wear?

what do bartenders wear

If you’re preparing for your first job as a Bartender, you might have a lot of questions, one of them being: What do Bartenders wear? After all, dressing appropriately for the role can impact both your performance and the impression you leave on customers so it’s important to get it right.

Luckily, making the right wardrobe choices for the role of a Bartender doesn’t have to be difficult. As long as you understand industry standards, you’ll be able to find something you enjoy wearing and feel comfortable working in. The purpose of this article is to help you do exactly that.

We’ll examine bartending dress codes and provide tips for choosing the best bartending outfit.

Understanding Bar Dress Codes

Some bars require you to wear a Bartender uniform while others let you pick the attire yourself. If the choice is up to you, you still have to make sure you choose clothes that align with the establishment’s dress code.

Working in a high-end bar or a cocktail lounge means you have to follow a formal dress code. This includes wearing tailored pants and collared shirts which sometimes go with a vest and a bow tie. Wearing this type of outfit helps create a more sophisticated atmosphere and match the refined service and premium drinks the establishment offers.

On the other hand, Bartenders can expect a more relaxed dress code in casual bars. When working there, you can wear simple and standardized outfits. Typically, this includes trousers or jeans and T-shirts.

Whatever the case is in your establishment, it’s still up to you to make the right wardrobe choices. You have to pick every piece of clothing carefully and make sure your outfit looks good and feels comfortable to work in.

Tops and Shirts for Bartenders

If your establishment doesn’t require you to wear a Bartender uniform, you have the freedom to choose your top or shirt yourself. Still, you need to find something that matches the overall feel of the bar and keeps you comfortable throughout your shift.

When working in an upscale bar, your choice can be a formal shirt or blouse. Establishments like this want their employees to wear well-fitted tops as it can help add to the sophisticated atmosphere they’re trying to create. Neutral colors usually work the best, so black, navy blue and dark green are your top options.

More relaxed bars often provide Bartenders and other employees with T-shirts displaying the establishment’s logo. However, if this isn’t the case at the bar you work in, you can always choose a polo shirt. Polo shirts allow you to maintain a casual vibe but with a slightly more polished look.

bartender t-shirt

In terms of fabrics, we advise opting for something breathable that can keep your body cool during your shift. Cotton blends are comfortable enough and can endure the demands of working behind the bar.

Some bars may require you to wear an apron with ample pockets for you to put bottle openers and other essential bartending tools. Wearing one will also protect your clothes from spills and stains.

Bottoms for Bartenders: Pants, Skirts, and Shorts

For Bartenders, choosing the right bottoms to wear is equally important as finding the right top. They don’t only move a lot behind the bar, bending and reaching for items frequently are also a part of the Bartender job description.

You need something that allows freedom of motion while maintaining a professional look. Pants, skirts and shorts can all work, but it’s important to know under which conditions to wear them. Pants are the standard in high-end establishments. The same goes for skirts as long as they’re not too short. Shorts are only acceptable in warmer climates and more casual bars though.

Choosing the Right Pants for Bartenders

Dress pants are a go-to option in high-end establishments. They should be well-fitted and of a length that allows you to move freely and perform your duties efficiently. Polyester blends will help you maintain a sleek look since this type of fabric is resistant to wrinkling. Bartenders typically wear black pants but other neutral colors can also work.

If you work in a more casual bar, you can wear jeans to create a balance between relaxed and professional. However, not all jeans are a good, comfortable option. You need jeans made of stretchy materials that allow you for easy movement.

Also, don’t forget that Bartenders use their pockets often. Opt for pants with enough room for change and bartending tools.

Suitable Skirts for Bartenders

Skirts can be a stylish and comfortable choice for female Bartenders, especially those working in warmer climates.

Knee-length skirts are usually the best option as they aren’t too short and offer enough freedom of movement. Anything longer than that can reduce your mobility and make it difficult to work behind the bar.

Also, go for skirts that don’t wrinkle or require frequent adjustments. In terms of colors, neutral ones are again the best choice.

bartender skirt

When and How To Wear Shorts as a Bartender

Shorts may also be acceptable when working as a Bartender in warmer climates such as Miami. However, whether or not you can wear them depends on the type of establishment you work at. They’re usually only allowed for Bartenders who work in beachside bars and clubs.

If shorts are permitted, you want to keep them at knee length and stick to breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. They should also be well-fitted, meaning that they’re not too tight that they restrict your movement and not too loose that you appear unprofessional.

Choosing the Right Shoes as a Bartender

Footwear is another piece of your Bartender outfit that requires some thinking. Working long hours on your feet can be challenging so comfort is key. Your best option is to find comfortable footwear with good arch and cushioning.

You also want your footwear to be non-slip as spills are common in bar environments. Look for shoes with rubber soles as they offer better grip and more stability.

In terms of choosing the type of footwear for the position, it’s usually between formal shoes and sneakers. The former offer more versatility and are a suitable choice in both high-end and casual bars.

Black leather shoes are always a good option as they can fit in nicely in both casual and formal settings. In more relaxed bars, you can go for stylish sneakers. Just make sure to stay away from flashy colors.

Open-toe shoes are only acceptable in some types of establishments and are generally not a good option for Bartenders as they’re more likely to lead to accidents or foot injuries.

Accessories and Personal Grooming for Bartenders

Accessories and personal grooming complete your look and should always be in line with the overall style of the establishment. This is something to pay attention to as your overall appearance reflects your professionalism and can impact the overall experience of the customers.

It’s generally advised for Bartenders not to overload with accessories such as bracelets and necklaces, as they can get in the way while mixing and serving drinks, especially if you do flair bartending. Wearing a watch is often acceptable but you have to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your work.

Belts and suspenders can help keep your bottoms in place and may even contribute to a more professional look. However, you don’t want them to stick out and be too flashy.

Bartenders in all types of establishments should keep their hair neat and pulled back if it’s long. This helps keep it out of the way while mixing and serving drinks. Facial hair should be properly groomed as well.

Of course, hygiene is highly valued across all establishments that serve food and drinks. With that said, you should always keep your nails clean and well-maintained.

So, keep your accessories at a minimum and maintain a clean appearance. Do this and follow the other tips from this article and you can be assured you’re always dressed appropriately for your bartending job.

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