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Can Bartenders Wear Tank Tops? What’s the Typical Dress Code?

A bartender mixing beers.

Most jobs have some kind of dress code. If you’re considering becoming a bartender, you’ll have to wear certain things to work. Even the most casual bar is going to have certain standards you need to reach when you’re working there. So it is important to know what to expect.

The specifics of your dress code are going to depend on the particular bar you’re working at. So, if you want to be safe, make sure you ask your bosses for instructions. If you aren’t working at a bar yet, you should still know what to expect.

When I began my first bar tending job, I needed to go out and buy the style of pants and shirts that they wanted me to wear. If I had known what to expect in advance, I could have shopped around without the pressure of knowing I needed those clothes for tonight’s shift.

Can Bartenders Wear Tank Tops?

Bartender pouring beer in pub.

Tank tops are very comfortable, especially in the warm weather. The lack of fabric over your arms also allows for more flexibility, so you might think they are a good choice for bar tending. Unfortunately, very few bars are likely to let you wear tank tops at work.

They are too casual for most places. So, unless you’re working at a beach bar, assume that you cannot wear a tank top to bar tend. And even then, check with the manager.

What Is a Typical Bartender Dress Code?

Bartender in a shirt and apron presents a bottle of exclusive alcohol at bar counter.

While the dress code will often vary depending on the type of bar you’re working in, some types of clothing will be more common than others. There will also be some aspects of the dress code that are universal. So take a look at this list as you plan for your bar tending job.

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Black Pants

Most places will have black pants in their dress code. While other colors might be allowed as well, black pants are very practical. They hide stains and give you a sleek, professional look.

So make sure you have a few pairs of black pants that you can rotate throughout your work week.

Black Shirts

Likewise, black shirts are very common. So are white shirts. Both provide a professional appearance, however white shirts are very easily stained.

So you’ll want to make sure that you have at least a couple black shirts since those will hide stains far more easily.

No-Slip Shoes

There is always a risk that things will spill behind the bar. Whether it’s drinks, melting ice, or something unexpected, the floors can get slippery. For safety reasons, most bartenders are required to wear no-slip shoes at work.

These shoes have specially designed soles that grip slippery surfaces and prevent falls and injury. They come in a variety of styles that are practical for work.

Good Hygiene

Your hygiene is as important to the dress code as your clothes are. You need to make sure that you are clean and well-groomed for your shifts. Shower regularly, apply deodorant, and keep your hair tied back.

When you handle customers’ food and drinks, they want to be sure that you are clean. Dirty hands and body odor will cause complaints, which could get you in trouble. So make sure that you practice good hygiene before and during every shift.

Subtle Accessories

While the rules on accessories will be different in each bar, they always need to be safe. Dangling sleeves, earrings, or necklaces can get snagged on things and cause injury. Too much perfume can make coworkers and customers uncomfortable.

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And wearing rings can keep your hands from being clean enough to serve food and drinks. So make sure that your accessories are always subtle and always follow your bar’s particular dress code. While these guidelines are fairly universal, dress codes can get more complicated when you’re working in a specific type of bar.

If you’re looking to get hired by a certain place, check out their vibe before your interview or first day. Find out what customers are wearing, as well as staff. Consider the overall atmosphere as well. Is it a formal or casual place?

Is there a particular theme? You want to make sure that you fit in with the rest of the bar’s atmosphere. Here are a few types of bars you might find yourself working in, as well as what to expect from their dress code.

Special Circumstances

Beautiful bartender girl in the white apron spraying on a delicious cocktail.

Somewhere with Uniforms

This is a simple one. If the staff are all required to wear uniforms, you should make sure that you’re wearing your uniform every day. Sometimes this will be something that your managers provide, while other times you’ll need to purchase it yourself. Your uniform should be clean and neat at the beginning of every shift, so make sure that you have a couple of spares.

You should also make sure that you follow hygiene and accessory guidance when you’re wearing your uniform on a shift.

Upscale Bar

If you get a job in an upscale bar, you’ll be expected to dress formally. In some places, this will include simply trousers and a button-down shirt. These will often be black or white.

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Some places might require even more. You might need to wear a blazer and tie, or even a tuxedo. No matter what formal wear your dress code requires, you need to be able to do your job in it.

So make sure that it fits well and that you have no-slip shoes that look appropriately formal to go with them.

Sports Bar

While the atmosphere in a sports bar might be casual, that doesn’t mean the dress code will be. As I mentioned before, you probably can’t wear tank tops to work in these establishments. However, you shouldn’t be too formal either.

The standard dress code of black pants and a black shirt will often work nicely here. You’ll also want to get some merchandise from your local sports teams, since you’ll wear these sometimes. Shirts and hats can be very practical and may even be provided by your job.

Hipster Bar

If you get a job bar tending at a hip bar, you might need to consider your workwear carefully. No matter how much you want to express your personality and look cool, you need to make sure that you stay safe at work. Don’t wear too much jewelry or accessories that could get tangled or cause injury.

You always want to put safety before style. So consider finding ways to accessorize that fit the quirkiness of your bar while also providing the security and flexibility that you need. No matter where you end up bar tending, you’re likely to have a dress code.

Some places will be more flexible with their dress code, while others will be very strict. If you’re considering applying for positions as a bartender, you should know what to expect. By purchasing a few common dress staples like black pants and black no-slip shoes, you’ll be prepared to work in nearly any type of bar.

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From there, you can create your work outfits based on your particular bar’s rules and atmosphere.