Can You Be A Bartender At 18 In Florida?

If you’re 18 and excited to start bartending in the Sunshine State, you may be wondering – can I really tend bar at just 18 years old? In Florida, the legal drinking age is 21, but the minimum age to bartend is actually lower. The quick answer is yes, with some restrictions, 18 year olds can legally work as bartenders in Florida.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain the specifics on underage bartending in Florida. You’ll learn about the laws around handling and serving alcohol under 21, required training and certification for bartenders, and tips for landing a bartending gig in Florida at just 18.

Florida Laws on Underage Bartenders

Legal for 18+ with Restrictions

In Florida, it is indeed possible to work as a bartender at the age of 18, but there are certain restrictions in place. According to Florida law, individuals who are 18 or older can serve alcohol in establishments that hold a license to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.

However, there are some limitations on the types of alcoholic beverages they can handle. Specifically, bartenders under the age of 21 are prohibited from serving or selling distilled spirits, such as whiskey, vodka, or tequila. They are only allowed to serve beer and wine to customers.

This restriction is in place to ensure the responsible service of alcohol and to prevent underage individuals from having easy access to strong alcoholic beverages. By allowing 18-year-olds to work as bartenders while limiting the types of alcohol they can serve, Florida strikes a balance between providing employment opportunities for young adults and maintaining public safety.

Prohibited from Consuming Alcohol

While 18-year-olds are legally permitted to work as bartenders in Florida, it’s important to note that they are still prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages themselves. The legal drinking age in Florida, as in most U.S. states, is 21.

This means that even though they may handle alcohol as part of their job, underage bartenders are not allowed to drink it.

It’s crucial for bartenders to understand and abide by this rule to avoid any legal issues or consequences. Violating the drinking age law can result in fines, suspension or revocation of their bartending license, and even criminal charges.

It’s important to stay informed and up-to-date on your state’s laws regarding bartending and alcohol service. If you have any questions or concerns, it’s advisable to consult the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco or an attorney familiar with alcohol laws in the state.

Required Training and Licensing

If you’re wondering whether you can become a bartender at the age of 18 in Florida, it’s important to understand the training and licensing requirements set by the state. Florida has specific regulations in place to ensure the responsible service of alcohol and the safety of both bartenders and customers.

Alcohol Seller/Server Training

One of the key requirements to become a bartender in Florida is completing alcohol seller/server training. This training provides valuable knowledge on responsible alcohol service, including how to identify fake IDs, recognize signs of intoxication, and prevent underage drinking.

It also covers legal requirements and liabilities associated with serving alcohol.

There are several approved training programs available in Florida, both online and in-person. These programs typically include interactive modules, quizzes, and a final exam to test your understanding of the material.

Upon successful completion, you will receive a certificate that is valid for a certain period of time, usually a few years.

By completing the alcohol seller/server training, you demonstrate your commitment to responsible bartending and increase your chances of finding employment in the industry.

Florida DBPR License

In addition to alcohol seller/server training, bartenders in Florida are required to obtain a license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). This license is commonly referred to as the “TIPS” (Training for Intervention Procedures) certification.

The TIPS certification is designed to ensure that bartenders have the knowledge and skills necessary to handle alcohol responsibly and handle difficult situations related to alcohol consumption. It covers topics such as recognizing signs of intoxication, preventing over-serving, and dealing with underage patrons.

To obtain the TIPS certification, you must complete a training course and pass an exam. The course can be taken online or in-person, and the exam is typically multiple-choice. Once you pass the exam, you will receive your TIPS certification, which is valid for a certain period of time.

It’s important to note that while the TIPS certification is not mandatory in Florida, many employers require it as a condition of employment. Having the certification can give you a competitive edge in the job market and demonstrate your commitment to responsible bartending.

For more information on the specific training programs and licensing requirements in Florida, you can visit the official website of the Florida DBPR at They have detailed information and resources to guide you through the process of becoming a licensed bartender in the state.

Finding Bartending Jobs at 18

Are you an aspiring bartender in Florida who is eager to start your career at the young age of 18? While the legal drinking age in the United States is 21, there are still opportunities for you to work behind the bar and gain valuable experience.

Here are some tips on finding bartending jobs at 18 in Florida.

Start with Restaurants and Resorts

One of the best places to begin your search for bartending jobs at 18 is at restaurants and resorts. Many establishments in Florida hire individuals who are 18 years old to work as bartenders, as long as they do not serve alcohol to customers under the legal drinking age.

By starting your bartending journey at these establishments, you can learn the necessary skills and techniques while working in a professional environment.

Some popular restaurants and resorts in Florida that may hire 18-year-old bartenders include Olive Garden, Applebee’s, and Hilton Hotels. These establishments often provide training programs to help you develop your bartending skills and knowledge.

Additionally, working in these settings can also provide you with opportunities to interact with a diverse range of customers, further honing your customer service skills.

Sell Your Skills and Experience

While being 18 may limit your options for bartending jobs in some establishments, you can still increase your chances of landing a job by highlighting your skills and experience. Employers are often impressed by candidates who demonstrate a strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, and a passion for mixology.

When applying for bartending positions, make sure to create a well-crafted resume that showcases any relevant experience, such as working in customer service or hospitality roles. Additionally, consider obtaining a bartending certification or completing a mixology course to enhance your credentials and show your dedication to the craft.

Remember, finding bartending jobs at 18 in Florida may require some persistence and creativity. Don’t be discouraged if you face initial rejections – keep honing your skills, gaining experience, and networking within the industry.

With determination and a positive attitude, you can achieve your goal of becoming a successful bartender, even at a young age.

Tips for Success as an Underage Bartender

Know the Laws Thoroughly

As an underage bartender in Florida, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding alcohol service. Familiarize yourself with the specific guidelines outlined by the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.

This will ensure that you are operating within the boundaries of the law and will help you avoid any legal repercussions.

One important law to be aware of is that the legal drinking age in Florida is 21. This means that you cannot consume alcohol while on the job, even if you are serving it to others. It is also important to be familiar with the acceptable forms of identification for verifying a customer’s age and to know when it is appropriate to refuse service.

By staying informed about the laws and regulations, you can demonstrate your commitment to responsible bartending and provide a safe environment for both customers and yourself.

Be Honest About Your Age

While it may be tempting to lie about your age in order to secure a bartending position, it is vital to be honest about your age from the start. Employers value honesty and trustworthiness, and misrepresenting your age can have serious consequences for both you and the establishment you work for.

Instead, focus on highlighting your skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm for the job. Emphasize any relevant experience you may have, such as working in customer service or completing bartending courses. By showcasing your dedication and willingness to learn, you can increase your chances of landing a bartending job despite being underage.

Remember, being honest about your age also means being honest with customers. If a customer questions your ability to serve alcohol due to your age, calmly explain the laws and regulations surrounding underage bartenders in Florida.

This will help build trust and credibility with both your employer and customers.

For further information, you can visit the official website of the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco at

Alternatives to Traditional Bartending

While the legal drinking age in Florida is 21, you might be wondering if there are any alternatives for those who are 18 and interested in working in the bartending industry. Luckily, there are a few options that can provide you with valuable experience and pave the way for a future career as a bartender.

Barback Positions

One alternative to traditional bartending is to pursue a barback position. Barbacks are responsible for assisting bartenders by stocking supplies, cleaning glasses, and ensuring the bar runs smoothly. Although you won’t be making and serving drinks directly, this role allows you to gain firsthand knowledge of the bar industry and develop essential skills.

It’s a great stepping stone towards becoming a bartender once you reach the legal drinking age.

Barback positions can be found in a variety of establishments, including bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. It’s important to note that the specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on the establishment.

Some establishments may require you to be 18 or older, while others may have their own minimum age requirements, so be sure to check with individual establishments for their hiring policies.

Non-Alcoholic Venues

If you’re passionate about working in the hospitality industry but prefer to avoid serving alcohol, there are several non-alcoholic venues that may be a perfect fit for you. These venues include coffee shops, juice bars, smoothie bars, and tea houses.

Working in these establishments will allow you to develop your customer service skills, learn about different beverages, and gain experience in a fast-paced environment.

Non-alcoholic venues can provide a fun and unique atmosphere for both employees and customers. They often focus on creating delicious and innovative drinks that cater to a wide range of tastes and dietary preferences.

Additionally, these venues often have a strong emphasis on providing excellent customer service, making them a great place to develop your hospitality skills.

By exploring barback positions and non-alcoholic venues, you can gain valuable experience and knowledge in the hospitality industry before becoming a bartender. Remember to always check the specific hiring requirements of each establishment and focus on building your skills and expertise as you work towards your goal of becoming a bartender.


While traditional bartending gigs may be limited, passionate 18 year olds can still break into the service industry in Florida with the right approach. By highlighting your customer service skills, responsible work ethic and eagerness to learn, you can convince employers to take a chance on you. Follow the laws diligently, complete all required training, and before you know it, you’ll be building your bartending career in Florida.

Similar Posts