So, you were offered a job as a bartender. Or, you’re interested in one.
But you have one main concern – how much do bartenders make?
Aren’t you lucky! You’re on the right page.
We must say bartenders’ salaries are pretty much up for debate, as many factors are at play. State of residence, age, experience, type of venue, and gender (unfortunately) all contribute to a bartender’s income. Oh, and let’s not forget the tips.
Now, let’s look at a bartender’s salary in more detail.
What Does a Bartender Do?
It’s important for bartenders to be passionate about what they do and meet guests’ expectations and needs. An excellent bartender is one who has outstanding customer service skills, along with a friendly and positive attitude.
Now, here are some of the bartender’s responsibilities:
- Take orders from guests
- Serve drinks
- Serve snacks
- Mix ingredients for cocktails
- Verify age requirements
- Collect and process payments
- Manage bar inventory and restock supplies
- Be guest-focused
- Plan and present the bar menu
How Much Does a Bartender Make?
Naturally, before accepting a bartender position, you need to know how much you’ll earn. So, let’s give you a clearer picture of how much your weekly, annual, and hourly salary will be.
How much do bartenders make an hour?
A normal work week consists of 40 working hours. So, let’s assume that a bartender works full-time with no overtime. For our example, we will also not factor in tips.
So, in that case, according to Indeed, the average salary of a bartender is $15.56 per hour. Additionally, it can be as low as $7.98 and as high as $30.38.
These are just averages based on reported salaries by over 40,000 bartenders. But keep in mind that a bartender’s salary depends on the type of venue and the years of experience.
Note: The data was updated on October 18, 2022.
How much do bartenders make a year?
Now, let’s see the total annual salary according to Indeed.
As of October 18, 2022, the average pay for a bartender is $47,023 per year. But it can be as low as $24,085 and as high as $91,907. Again, a lot of factors are in question. The more experience you have, the higher your salary will be. The same goes for working at night and in a luxury venue.
How much do bartenders make a month?
For some reason, you may want to know your monthly income.
Well, we’ve got you covered.
As of October 18, 2022, the average monthly bartender salary is $3,329. And it can vary between $1,705 and $6,500 on average. However, if you show the guests how good a bartender you are, you may gain more tips.
How much do bartenders make in tips?
Now, the part of most interest to all — how many tips can a bartender earn?
There is no exact amount on how much are the bartender’s tips. However, one thing is certain — try to do your job the best way possible, and you’ll earn more tips.
But, to give you a clearer image, we’ve analyzed the market and found a few numbers.
According to Indeed, the average bartender’s tips are $150 per day. Now, let’s break it down. What is an appropriate tip for a bartender?
- $1 per drink if the bartender serves you beer/wine and other simple drinks.
- Between $3 and $5 per drink when a bartender takes time and skills to prepare you a fine cocktail.
- Around 20% of the total bill for a good service when more drinks are served.
- Over 22% of the total bill for outstanding service when more drinks are served.
How to earn more tips as a bartender
In the end, everything goes down to how good you are at your work.
So, here are a few things to keep in mind in order to earn more tips:
- Be positive — always be kind and polite with the guests, listen to what they say, smile/laugh at their stories, and try to establish a connection.
- Try to work fast but good — this comes with experience. The more hours you work as a bartender, the more experience you get. Therefore, you’re becoming good and fast in your serving skills.
Search for a job in prestigious venues — it’s no secret that lavish people visit prestigious venues. So, not only your hourly pay will be higher, but tips too.
- Be familiar with the drinks you serve — it’s in your best interest to know about the drinks you serve. Cocktails especially. In that case, you can give recommendations to the guests. And most likely, they will be satisfied with your knowledge about a specific drink and will tip you better.
- Work often — The more hours you work, the more tips you’ll get. Also, try to take night shifts, as they bring more tips.
A Few Things to Consider
As already mentioned, a lot of factors influence the bartender’s pay. Some of them are:
Now, let’s elaborate on each of them.
Who earns more: male or female bartenders?
In 2021, Zippia reported that women earned 93% of what men earned. Even though female bartenders have lower salaries than males, it’s more common for the former to outshine the latter when it comes to earning more tips.
Additionally, women outnumbered men. Take a look:
(Image source: Zippia)
What shift leads to more money?
When it comes to shifts and which ones to cover, consider taking the night and weekend ones. In other words, the busier times are the most lucrative ones.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are the days with the biggest off-peak periods.
How does experience affect a bartender’s salary?
The more experienced bartender you are, the biggest your salary will be. It’s common for managers to hire applicants with the most experience.
Therefore, years of experience as a bartender truly matter. Not only that you’ll be fast and good at your work, but your bosses will respect you more. Also, the clientele will respect your skills and tend to return more often. Meaning, more tips for you.
As of October 18, 2022, the bartender’s average hourly salary by years of experience is as follows:
(Image source: Indeed)
Which are the best-paying states for bartenders?
Usually, salaries are lower in states with a lower cost of living index. But, in some cases, you won’t find this true. Let’s see what’s the case with bartending.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the best-paying states for bartenders for the year 2021:
|State||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|District of Columbia||$20.57||$42,790|
Also, take a look at the states with the highest employment level for bartenders:
|State||Employment||Employment per thousand jobs|
One last bonus fact, as of October 18, 2022, these are the highest paying cities in the US for bartenders according to Indeed:
- Los Angeles — $18.86/hr
- Austin — $16.38/hr
- Houston — $15.05/hr
- New York — $16.90/hr
- Atlanta — $15.92/hr
- Chicago — $14.64/hr
- Denver — $16.46/hr
- Miami — $15.24/hr
- Orlando — $12.86/hr
Is there a place of employment where bartenders are likely to make more money?
The venue in which you work will most likely determine your salary.
For example, cocktail bars and bars with dress codes offer higher hourly wages, while “dive bars” are places for locals or after-work crowds, where hourly pay is lower.
To give you a clearer picture of what are the best places for working as a bartender, we’ll organize them into groups, starting with the ones that may offer lower salaries. So, take a look:
- Lower-class venues — you can consider neighborhood and dive bars and some low-in-style restaurants as lower-class places. Furthermore, these are visited by people on a budget mostly. Meaning their menu prices are lower. Respectively, the staff salaries are lower, too. Additionally, the odds of getting a tip are thinner too.
- Middle-class venues — sports and nice bars, decent restaurants, and casinos can be considered middle-class places. They pay good salaries, create a positive work environment, and, most importantly, the places are visited by sophisticated people who turn out that tip well.
- Upper-class venues — luxurious restaurants, bars, hotels, casinos, and all kinds of expensive venues are considered upper-class places. Considering that wealthy people visit them, all staff’ salaries, including bartenders, tend to be high. And we cannot imagine how much will the bartenders earn in tips at upper-class establishments.
Pros and Cons of Being a Bartender
Working as a bartender is an excellent opportunity to be surrounded by different crowds. Therefore, you get to meet new people all the time. On the other hand, work can sometimes be exhausting. In conclusion, bartending has its pros and cons.
So, here are some advantages of working as a bartender:
- Good tips — a limited number of professions can count on tips. Furthermore, if you work in more classy bars, you will likely make a good income.
- Social aspect — being a bartender allows you to meet many different people and talk about different topics. In other words, it never gets boring.
- Learn new skills — when the word bartender is said, people usually think of someone who can mix up cocktails. And they’re right. Being a bartender gets you to learn how to make different drinks, which is quite a fun job to do.
- You don’t need a college degree — As a bartender, you get all the experience through years of work. Notably, there’s an option to get a bartending license if you attend a short course and have the title of a professional bartender. But that’s not required.
Also, consider some drawbacks:
- Possible verbal or physical attack from guests — there is a chance a bartender will be insulted by a guest when a lot of alcohol is in question.
- Night shifts mostly — as most bartending shifts are during night hours, most people will find this an exhausting job.
- Not all venues pay well — as already discussed in this article, a bartender’s salary differs from state to state and venue to venue. So, there are lower-class places and states with a lower cost of living index where bartenders’ salaries might be low.
Bottom Line: Do Bartenders Make Good Money?
When discussing bartenders’ income, many factors count in, including gender, state, venue, and more.
Even though the average annual salary is nearly 50K, there are situations where a professional and experienced bartender can earn over 100K. Of course, years of experience, licenses, courses, and skills contribute to a higher income.
So, what have we learned so far?
Working as a bartender doesn’t necessarily mean living paycheck to paycheck. If you show how good you are at your work, you can expect a good salary. Moreover, guests will most likely be satisfied with your bartender’s skills, and…
…we all know how the sentence finishes — you’ll earn a lot of money from tips!
As of October 18, 2022, bartenders in NYC make an average of $16.90 per hour or $51,088 per year. The salary in New York City is 9% above the national average. Additionally, a bartender is estimated to earn $200 in tips daily.
California’s bartenders earn $50,228/yr or $16.62/hr on average as of October 18, 2022. Notably, the bartender’s salary in California is 7% above the national average one. One more thing, the average tipping is $200 per day.
As of October 18, 2022, the average bartender’s salary in Florida is $14.22 per hour or $42,974 per year. Additionally, the numbers are 9% below the national average ones. As for the tips, they are an average of $175 per day.