How Much Do Bartenders Make?

Are you interested in a career as a bartender? Bartending can be an exciting and rewarding job, but what exactly is the salary like? The answer to that question depends on several factors, including experience, location, and type of establishment.

How Much Do Bartenders Make
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In this article, we’ll take a look at how much do bartenders make on average and how tips factor into the equation.

What Is Bartending?

Bartending is the act of preparing and serving alcoholic beverages in a bar, restaurant, or another licensed establishment. A bartender must be knowledgeable about different types of drinks and their ingredients, as well as responsible for providing excellent customer service.

Bartenders usually work shifts during peak hours and can often find themselves working late nights or early mornings.

How Much Do Bartenders Make?

Bartenders can make a good amount of money depending on the type of establishment they work in and the hours they put in. On average, bartenders typically make between $10 and $20 an hour, with more experienced bartenders making closer to $25 an hour.

Tips also play a large role in how much a bartender earns, as this is often seen as extra income on top of their hourly wage.

Tips For Bartenders

Bartending is a job where tips are expected and can make up a large portion of a bartender’s income. Tips are usually given as a percentage of the total bill, but some establishments require that bartenders get tipped out by their customers at the end of each shift. 

How To Maximize Tips As A Bartender

As we mentioned, tips are a major part of any bartender’s income, and knowing how to maximize these to ensure the highest payment is crucial. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you maximize your payment, and enjoy a successful career as a bartender:

Develop Excellent Customer Service Skills

A large element of tips comes from the experience of the customer – and so it is in your interest to ensure that this is as positive as possible.

Make sure you are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable in order to ensure that your customers enjoy their experience and leave happy.

Know Your Craft

Having a thorough knowledge of the drinks you serve and the ingredients that go into them will help you to build confidence with your customers, as well as provide excellent customer service.

This will help to ensure that any drinks ordered from you are of the highest quality, and will help to increase your tips.

Offer Upsells

Upselling is a great way to increase your tips, as it encourages customers to spend more money. Offering upsells such as premium liquors or additional garnishes can be an effective way to boost your income and allows you to be creative with your drinks.

Listen To Your Customers’ Instructions

Following instructions is a key way to make sure your customers receive their drinks in the exact manner they asked – especially if they are looking for an adaptation or a twist on an old classic.

This includes making sure measurements and ingredients are followed, as well as remembering any special requests such as specific ice cubes or garnishes. Following instructions will ensure that your customer’s experience is seamless and enjoyable, helping you to increase your tips.

Maintain A Positive Attitude

Having a positive attitude is essential in any job, but especially so as a bartender. Customers will be more likely to leave a tip if they feel that you are friendly and knowledgeable, so smile and maintain an upbeat attitude throughout.

How Can I Become A Bartender?

How Much Do Bartenders Make
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Becoming a bartender is more than just having a good knowledge of drinks and their ingredients. It also requires excellent customer service skills, an upbeat attitude, an eye for detail, and the ability to think on your feet in order to provide customers with an exceptional experience.

Before you can begin bartending, it is important to understand the legalities of serving alcohol in your area. Different states have different regulations regarding age and certification, which must be adhered to.

Once you have completed the necessary training, you can begin applying for bartender roles at local bars and restaurants.

Where Can I Work As A Bartender?

One of the main advantages of working as a bartender is the flexibility – this is a transferable skill that can be used in a range of settings, and these include:


Unsurprisingly, bars are the most common place for bartenders to work, and here you can serve a variety of alcoholic beverages to customers.

You will also be responsible for providing excellent customer service and dealing with any queries or complaints that come your way.


Nightclubs are another popular venue for bartenders, as they often require high-end service in order to provide customers with an unforgettable experience.

As well as knowing your drinks, it is important to be able to deal with large volumes of people in a short space of time – especially when it comes to peak times.


Restaurants are another popular place for bartenders to work, and here you may be required to create both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

You will also need to have an understanding of food pairing (see also “What Is A Sous Chef?“), as well as being knowledgeable about the different types of wine available.


Hotels often require bartenders to serve drinks in their lounges and bars, as well as at private events or functions. Here, you may also be asked to provide food service, making sure that customers are made to feel welcomed and comfortable during their stay.

Final Thoughts

So, how much do bartenders make? This depends on a variety of factors such as the type of venue, the number of hours worked, and the tips left by customers.

Generally speaking, bartenders can expect to make between $10 and $20 per hour as a base rate, and this will be topped up with tips that can range from 10 to 20 percent.

With hard work, dedication to your job, and a good attitude, you can expect to make a good living as a bartender – as well as have a lot of fun in your job!

Jason Sullivan
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