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Barman vs. Bartender — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 4, 2023
Barman and Bartender essentially mean the same, referring to a person who mixes and serves alcoholic drinks at a bar. Barman is often used in British English, while Bartender is commonly used in American English.
Barman vs. Bartender — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Barman and Bartender

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Key Differences

The term Barman and Bartender both refer to individuals who serve drinks, typically alcoholic, in bars or pubs. However, while "Barman" has traditionally been used to describe a male serving drinks, "Bartender" is a more gender-neutral term and can refer to individuals of any gender performing the role.
While "Barman" can be seen as more old-fashioned and less commonly used in modern-day language, especially in the United States, "Bartender" has become the more prevalent term to describe someone who mixes and serves drinks to customers. Both Barman and Bartender are expected to possess knowledge of drink recipes, proper pouring techniques, and the ability to engage with patrons.
It's important to note that the usage of Barman versus Bartender may vary depending on regional dialects and cultural influences. For instance, in some parts of the UK, "Barman" might still be commonly used, whereas in the US, "Bartender" is the predominant term. Regardless of the term used, the primary responsibilities remain largely the same: serving drinks, taking payments, and ensuring a pleasant customer experience.
From a linguistic perspective, both terms, Barman and Bartender, derive from the word "bar", indicating the place of their work. The "-man" in "Barman" is a gendered suffix, whereas "-tender" in "Bartender" relates to the act of tending to or serving customers, emphasizing the nature of the job rather than the gender of the person performing it.
In conclusion, while both Barman and Bartender describe individuals working in the same profession, they carry different connotations. "Bartender" is a more inclusive term, reflecting modern sensibilities, while "Barman" is somewhat dated and gender-specific. However, regardless of the term, their role in the hospitality industry remains crucial.
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Comparison Chart

Gender Specificity

Typically male-specific
Gender-neutral

Prevalence

Less common, especially in modern American English
More widely used, especially in American English

Origin

Derived from "bar" + "man" (gendered suffix)
Derived from "bar" + "tender" (referring to tending/serving)

Connotation

Somewhat old-fashioned and specific
Modern and inclusive

Job Description

Serving drinks in bars or pubs
Serving and mixing drinks, more emphasis on crafting drinks

Compare with Definitions

Barman

The term barman can also signify a person skilled in creating beverages.
The barman crafted a unique cocktail for the special occasion.

Bartender

Bartender might refer to a person knowledgeable about various alcoholic beverages and concoctions.
The bartender recommended a whiskey for the gentleman.

Barman

Barman might also pertain to a male bar attendant responsible for keeping the bar orderly.
The barman wiped down the counters and organized the glasses.

Bartender

The term bartender can encompass managing, stocking, and maintaining the bar area.
The bartender checked the inventory and ordered more supplies.

Barman

A barman is a male who serves drinks at a bar.
The barman expertly mixed the cocktails.

Bartender

A bartender might create signature beverages or cocktails for patrons.
The bartender surprised everyone with a new, fruity cocktail.

Barman

Barman may refer to a man working at any establishment serving drinks.
The barman at the club was known for his specialty drinks.

Bartender

A bartender is someone who prepares and serves drinks at a bar.
The bartender mixed a perfect margarita for the guest.

Barman

In some regions, a barman might refer to someone managing the stock of a bar.
The barman ensured that the bar was fully stocked for the night.

Bartender

Bartender also implies interaction and engagement with customers.
The bartender listened attentively as the customer shared his story.

Barman

A man serving behind the bar of a pub or hotel.

Bartender

A bartender (also known as a barkeep, barman, barmaid, or a mixologist) is a person who formulates and serves alcoholic or soft drink beverages behind the bar, usually in a licensed establishment. Bartenders also usually maintain the supplies and inventory for the bar.

Barman

A man who serves drinks in a bar.

Bartender

A person serving drinks at a bar.

Barman

A man who works in a bar.

Bartender

One who mixes and serves alcoholic drinks at a bar. Also called barkeeper.

Barman

An employee who mixes and serves alcoholic drinks at a bar

Bartender

One who tends a bar or pub; a person preparing and serving drinks at a bar. 19

Bartender

A barkeeper.

Bartender

An employee who mixes and serves alcoholic drinks at a bar

Common Curiosities

Can "bartender" refer to both males and females?

Yes, "bartender" is gender-neutral and can refer to individuals of any gender.

Is "barman" an outdated term?

"Barman" is still used, particularly in the UK, but "bartender" is more universally recognized and utilized.

Are "barman" and "bartender" interchangeable?

While largely synonymous, "barman" is more common in British English and may imply gender, while "bartender" is widely used in American English and is gender-neutral.

Does a "bartender" only serve alcoholic drinks?

No, bartenders can serve any beverage requested, including non-alcoholic options.

Is "barman" used in American English?

"Barman" is understood in American English but is less commonly used than "bartender."

Is the term "barman" used in formal settings?

"Barman" is casual and formal, but the appropriateness can depend on regional and social contexts.

Can a "bartender" refuse to serve a customer?

Yes, bartenders have the right to refuse service, especially if a customer is overly intoxicated or underage.

Do "bartenders" require special training or certification?

Yes, bartenders often undergo training and may require certification depending on regional laws.

Is the role of a "barman" only to serve drinks?

No, a barman often also manages stock, maintains the bar area, and interacts with patrons.

Can "bartender" refer to a bar owner?

A bartender might be a bar owner, but the terms aren’t synonymous; not all bartenders own the bar they work at.

Can a "bartender" work at establishments other than bars?

Yes, bartenders can work in various settings, including restaurants, clubs, and event venues.

Can a "barman" create new drink recipes?

Yes, barmen often experiment with ingredients to create new cocktail recipes.

Is "barman" gender-specific?

Typically, "barman" refers to a male, but the usage can depend on regional language norms.

Do "bartenders" generally have knowledge of a wide variety of drinks?

Yes, bartenders typically have extensive knowledge of various drinks and cocktail recipes.

Does a "barman" interact with customers?

Yes, barmen often engage with customers, providing a social element to the role.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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