Is it immoral to be a bartender?


This is a really random question, but I was wondering if working as a bartender would be considered an immoral occupation. I myself am not a bartender, nor do I have any desire to become one, but I was just curious as to what you all think. I know that alcohol in of itself isn’t evil, but we all know just how evil alcoholism is, and how bars are one of the biggest hangouts of alcoholics and where people engage in the sin of drunkenness often. I personally feel like bartending is immoral because, even if you yourself aren’t a drunk or getting intoxicated, you’re working in an industry that ruins people, their families, friends, careers, etc. And most importantly, it turns people away from God. When you’re serving people who are sinning in this area, you’re just adding to the problem and sinning yourself. What do you all think? Any thoughts? Feel free to agree/disagree!


Bars, in my experience, are quite varied things. I would want to stay away from the typical frat boy bars, or bars that are particularly frequented by alcoholics. But there are many bars that are reasonably classy and where at least most of the patrons are engaging in reasonable behavior.

So, for example, a bar at a nice hotel, or a family restaurant, would be pretty unquestionable. Those aren’t the sort of places frequented by alcoholics. A reasonably high-class bar would also be ok. I’d probably want to stay away from dive bars and other places that focus on selling high quantities of cheap alcohol.


Bars may have been where alcoholics hung out, in the past.


They hang out at home. They don’t want to take the risk of getting caught drinking and driving.

No bartenders involved. Just cashiers.


My experiences have shown me otherwise. Maybe it’s because I’m at the college age, but I’ve heard and seen plenty of people out in public getting ridiculously drunk. And I don’t even attend a university yet- I’m still in community college. This is just based off of what I’ve witnessed around my age group and with people I know in general. Maybe it’s just an age thing, where college kids are too immature to stop and think about what could happen when they get drunk, so they go ahead and act stupidly anyways.
And as much as I wish that all alcoholics would just stay home and not hurt anybody else for fear of DUI like you said, that’s simply not the case. Just watch 10 minutes of the news and you’ll see for yourself. Clearly they have no regard for the law or other people’s safety- they’re just out for themselves and their alcoholic fix. It’s pretty scary how even the law can’t scare people out of their destructive habits.


But getting drunk does not equate to being an alcoholic.

And I agree that college students are the worst at drinking at a bar, then going home.

But hardcore alcoholics? I’ve known many. And not one of them drinks at a bar. Every single one of them drinks at home.


I feel like by this same logic, we’d have to say it’s sinful to be a gun salesman then, or even a pharmacist. After all, lots of people misuse guns and drugs also, and that ruins lives the same as alcohol abuse does.

Are people who sell guns adding to the problem of gun violence? No. They’re certainly not sinning. And neither are bartenders. There are legitimate uses for alcohol and guns and drugs, and bartenders, gun salesmen, and pharmacists exist to facilitate those uses.

If someone misuses something, that’s not in anyway the fault of the person selling the product.

Now obviously, we should use common sense. A gun salesmen should NOT sell to a person he has reason to believe is mentally unstable. But that still doesn’t make selling guns intrinsically evil, even though a lot of bad things can happen with a gun and a lot of lives are ruined by gun violence.

Same thing with bartenders. It would be wrong to serve someone who’s clearly drunk, but just serving alcohol in general isn’t sinful, because there are legitimate uses for it.

Besides, most bartenders cut people off when it’s clear they’ve had too much to drink, so in those cases they are actually doing a good thing by stopping people before they hurt themselves.


In some jurisdictions / establishments, bartenders are under very strict orders to cut off people who have had too much. They are thus doing a service by monitoring intake. In British Columbia, my home province, the laws regarding drinking and driving are extremely strict, and licensed bartenders are charged with doing their part in ensuring their clientele don’t drive home drunk…cutting them off early if driving…calling a taxi or arranging public transportation otherwise.


This really does change with age. My experience with a college town is that the bars frequented by graduate students and faculty were much better places than those frequented by undergrads. It was very common in grad school to go out for a few drinks after an evening class, but people generally did not get drunk.


Pax Christi.

I am a recovering alcoholic (14 months sober). Ninety-five percent of my drinking was done in a bar. In my AA experience, about half of those trying to recover were “bar flies” and about half were “homebodies”.

A LOT of patrons in bars are alcoholics. A lot.

God bless.


I don’t believe it’s immoral to be a bartender as long as you are prudent about not serving those already impaired by alcohol.


I’d say that it would be immoral to tend bar at a strip club.


Not to mention you’ll make some of our groups very happy. Those of us who want a nice chat over some good beer would prefer somewhere not interrupted by drunk people.


Different strokes I guess.

As I said, I know many alcoholics. And not one drank at a bar. Again, it might be age. Or location.


Or at the office from a private stash in a desk drawer. Or in the loo. Or in their car.

Just not in public. :sad_yes:


Just last week I met a woman whose husband is a barman. She thinks that is a fun occupation and she always loved being out with him. Not surprisingly, they always socialised around alcohol. Now they have a young child and she is a stay at home mom and doesn’t go out in the evening often. She was telling me how much she misses going out with him, and that if she didn’t have a child she would still lead the old life that revolved around drinking and partying. He works late at night, and sometimes during the weekends - day hours.

I don’t know if this is immoral, but it sounded extremely sad to me.


I too am a recovering alcoholic… 4 years 10 months… but I really like to think of it as I have been sober only since I woke up today as all I have is the now.

I most always drank at home, I never really got into the bar scene, but that was just me. Everyone is different

God bless you svid2 on your 14 months sobriety!

Going back to the OP though, I know of a priest who is a bar tender… is it sinful? I will leave that judgement to God, but I think as long as you are being responsible in who you serve and cutting people off who you think have lost control, then you are doing your best. Besides… I know of a few bartenders who have helped people come and discover AA and their higher power, so they are not all bad people.

Always remember too, alcoholics are not all bad people… we need to remember that we must love everyone, that’s what Jesus taught us. We don’t have to like them, but we must love them. This is a struggle for me daily.

Love the person, but hate the bad behavior/habit/etc.

God bless,



I agree completely, and I do not hate alcoholics at all. In fact, I’ve had very dear family members who were alcoholics, and I loved them to the very end. Because I loved them so much, it really hurt me to see how alcohol ruined their lives and how it overtook them. It bothers me to see how such wonderful people who had so many gifts from God could throw them all away because all they care about is getting their next drink.
I guess I’m just different than most Catholics are, but I have often considered either totally abstaining or just becoming a rare drinker (as in, the type who can count on one hand how many drinks they’ve had in an entire year). I understand the whole idea behind wine for special occasions, but as far as drinking socially, I really am not attracted to it.


I understand your logic, but I still disagree. The design/intent of guns are for protection- not a bad thing. The original intent for drugs (the medical kind anyways, not recreational ones like marijuana, ecstasy, etc.) are to heal people- not bad at all. Yes, they do get abused unfortunately, but in of themselves, they’re meant to help people.
On the other hand, alcohol is a naturally mind-altering substance. And in what way is putting something in your body that causes you to think/act abnormally good? I guess that’s why I’m so torn over whether or not Christians should consume alcohol. Just the whole idea behind drinking something that does unnatural things bothers me. Even if you don’t get full-on drunk, it still causes your body to react weirdly.


This is a good point. I believe that consuming alcohol is really the same thing as consuming drugs. The purpose is the same: to socialise over it, to relax, to enhance the mood, etc. The only difference is that alcohol is socially acceptable in the mainstream society. (Although, doing drugs is getting more socially acceptable.)


It’s true that, unlike guns or meds, alcohol’s purpose is primarily for pleasure. But that doesn’t make it any less legitimate. Nor does it make it wrong to use or sell it.

It seems you may be working under the assumption that if something is intended for pleasure, then it must be sinful, or less good. But that’s not the case. That’s a Puritan idea, not a Catholic one.

Recreation is a good thing, and it’s for that purpose that people drink alcohol. Can they go too far? Absolutely. But that’s an abuse. So I still think the analogy works. Alcohol and guns both have different but legitimate uses, and though they can both be abused, the person selling those products isn’t automatically sinning, since they’re not intending for the abuse to happen.

As far as whether Christians should drink alcohol at all, I think the fact that Jesus turned water into wine should put that worry to rest. If it was sinful, Our Lord wouldn’t have made it so that people - who clearly had already drunk a lot since they ran out of wine early - could drink more. Apparently Jesus is ok with people drinking and enjoying themselves. So I wouldn’t be concerned about that.

Yes, alcohol is a mind altering substance, but altering our state of mind isn’t necessarily a bad or sinful thing. (Hang on, hear me out. ;)) The caffeine in coffee helps my brain focus. The antioxidants in chocolate make me feel happy. Both of these things alter our brain chemistry and change our state of mind. But they’re not sinful. God gave us these things, we should enjoy them. :yup:

If it’s not sinful to drink coffee in order to help me wake up and focus, why would it be sinful for me to drink a glass of wine with friends in order to relax and have a good time? That’s a legitimate use and not at all sinful.

The sin comes when we try and alter our minds so much that we lose use of our rational faculties, or use it as a form of escapism. That’s wrong. That’s what the bible and Church condemn. And that’s why we need to practice temperance and moderation. But just feeling different after consuming something isn’t in itself sinful.

Anyways, I understand where you’re coming from, given your experience with alcohol. And I think you’re on the right track in wanting to avoid the college drinking scene, which are definitely examples of sinful drinking. But let’s not go so far as to condemn alcohol altogether. If you want to personally abstain, that’s perfectly fine. But since the Church is ok with moderate alcohol use, we really can’t say it’s sinful for Christians to consume it. Or sell it at a bar.

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