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A bar-back or runner, as they are commonly known in Europe, is a bartender's assistant. Bar-backs work in nightclubs, bars, restaurants and catering halls. They stock the bar with liquor, ice, glassware, beer, garnishes, and so on, and usually receive a portion of the bartender's tips. At high volume bars, the tips are divided where more than one bar-back is present.

They are often under the tutelage of bartenders and work their way into the job. They are there to simplify a bartender's job; bussing tables and dishwashing are common duties. In some establishments, bar-backs may also be responsible for the safety of the bartender.

While the legal drinking age in the United States is 21, the minimum age to work as a bartender or bar-back varies from 18 to 21.

See also[edit]


  • Ville, Cooper (2013). Straight Up: A Guide to a Better Bar Experience (First ed.). LuLu Press, Inc. ISBN 978-1-300-88262-6.