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Bartending Contract basics

Bartending Contracts protect both the bartender and the host by requiring bartenders to abide by liquor laws and by outlining payment requirements. Our contracts are suitable for weddings, corporate events, family events, fundraisers and music events.

Use the Bartending Contract document if:

  • You'll be providing bartending services to another business or individual.
  • You'll be hiring bartending services for an upcoming event.
  • You want to hire a bartender who will abide by applicable liquor laws.

Our Bartender Contracts establish a professional agreement between the bartending service and the event planner. They outline payment requirements, schedules, liabilities and more. Bartending Agreements can be made, stored, edited and shared online.

Other names for this document:

Bartender Contract, Bartending Agreement, Bartending Service Contract

What protections does a Bartending Contract provide?

The contract outlines the basic agreements between the venue or event planner and the bartender or bartending service. It includes agreements on the time, location and payment. A typical contract will generally also include legal protections such as:

Agreement to follow liquor laws
The contract requires the bartender to adhere to local laws such as not serving minors and it provides them the right to refuse service based on their own discretion.

Payment security
The agreement not only states the payment amount but it also outlines what happens if the bill is not paid or if the venue cancels the event.

This agreement protects business or proprietary information that the bartending service may be privy to during the event. This confidence is expected to be kept after the contract expires.

This section releases named parties from liability of the other's actions. It also restricts the bartenders and related service workers from imbibing during the event.

Default and termination
This section lists actions that may result in default such as non-payment or the failure to deliver services. You can allow the other party a certain number of days to remedy the situation if desired. And, you can request arbitration before litigation.

Force Majeure
This protects both sides from "acts of God" such as the storms, fires, earthquakes and riots.

Advantages to hiring professional bartenders

Professional bartenders can provide much more than just drink services. Their experience can help you in many ways. Professional bartenders can help you by:

  • Adhering to local liquor laws
  • Controlling costs by measuring drinks
  • Alerting security of unruly guests
  • Limiting the over-serving of guests
  • Providing a customized drink menu
  • Having liquor liability and general liability insurance
  • Helping you estimate what needs to be purchased for the bar
  • Allowing you to have more time to spend on other tasks

What is a fair rate for paying bartenders?

How much you will need to pay the bartender or bartender service is often based on the following:

Hourly rate with a minimum number of hours per bartender
Most often the hourly rate may be around $35 per hour with a minimum of four or more hours. A deposit or retainer fee is also usually required. Usually, the tips (if tipping is allowed) will be divided between the workers.

Number of guests
The number of guests can help bartenders estimate how busy they will be and the effort required to satisfy those guests. In many cases, you may need to hire additional bartenders, servers and bar backs.

If the bartenders are asked to work beyond the agreed upon hours they have the option of charging at an increased rate. Keep in mind that the bartender may not be able to work overtime and can refuse to work.

Supplies and equipment
If you need the bartending service to provide supplies such as glasses and the bar itself, those are additional charges you will be expected to pay. If they also need to bring the liquor, beer, mixers, wine, ice and more, they usually charge for the price of the goods plus a fee.

Questions bartenders may ask you before signing

Before signing an agreement, potential bartenders or bar service companies will have questions for you, as well. Answers to these questions will help them bid a fair price and to know what resources they will need to commit to your event.

The may ask you:

  • How many will be served?
  • Who is providing the bar supplies?
  • Who is providing the liquor, wine and beer?
  • What hours are required? Does that include prep and cleaning time?
  • Who will be doing the final cleaning after the event?
  • Is tipping going to be allowed?
  • Will security be provided?
  • What is the plan for bad weather? (if outside venue)
  • Will you be providing a ride service for guests?
  • How do you want us to handle disorderly guests?
  • What happens if we run out of supplies?
  • What type of insurance will be required?
  • Will there be a limited bar menu offered or a full-bar?
  • Will there be a toast and when?

If you have legal needs outside of the Bartending Contract, please check out our complete list of customizable service agreements.

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