How old do you have to be to bartend in California?

California – 21

The bartending age in California is 21 years old.

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Beginning July 1, 2022, any alcohol server and their manager must have a valid RBS certification from an ABC accredited RBS training provider and pass an online ABC administered RBS exam within 60 calendar days from the first date of employment.

This link will take you to the State website for training.

Is RBS training mandatory and do I need a certificate to serve alcohol in California?

RBS training under the requirements of CA Assembly Bill 1221 will become mandatory on July 1, 2022. The implementations date was modified by Assembly Bill 82. This new state mandate will require on-premises alcoholic beverage servers and their managers to successfully complete an ABC approved RBS training program and exam no later than August 31, 2022.

Currently, RBS training is only required if your local government mandates it. If you are required to take an RBS class for employment, please access the RBS Portal to search for a Department Authorized training provider and approved program.


California Bartenders Wages

  • Workers on average earn $14.69 per hour.
  • 10% of workers earn $14.00 or less per hour.
  • 10% of workers earn $23.54 or more per hour.


  • Age Requirement: The legal drinking age in California is 21. To work as a bartender, you must be at least 21 years old.
  • Bartender License: California does not require bartenders to hold a specific license or permit to serve alcohol. However, individual cities or counties may have their own requirements or regulations, so it’s essential to check with the local authorities where you intend to work.
  • Responsible Beverage Service: Bartenders in California are expected to practice responsible beverage service and comply with alcohol serving laws. This includes refusing service to intoxicated individuals, verifying the age of customers, and not serving alcohol to minors.
  • Alcohol Service Hours: The hours during which alcohol can be served may vary depending on local regulations. In some areas, there may be restrictions on late-night or early morning alcohol service. It’s important to be familiar with the specific hours allowed in the jurisdiction where you work.
  • Training: While not mandatory, completing a certified alcohol training program can be beneficial for bartenders. These programs provide education on responsible alcohol service, recognizing signs of intoxication, and legal obligations. Additionally, some establishments may require bartenders to undergo such training.
  • Dram Shop Laws: California has dram shop laws, which hold establishments liable for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals or minors who subsequently cause harm to themselves or others. Bartenders should be cautious to prevent over-serving or serving alcohol to underage individuals.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and local laws and regulations can vary. It’s crucial to consult the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control or seek legal advice for the most accurate and current information regarding bartending laws in California.