How Much Do Bartenders Make on Average (Salary)
How much do bartenders make? If you enjoy interacting with people and working in a fast-paced atmosphere, bartending is a fulfilling job. Bartenders must have a wide range of abilities, from mixing cocktails to addressing problems.
What is a bartender?
A bartender is a person who prepares and distributes beverages to clients, either directly at the bar or through waiters and waitresses who place drink orders for customers in the dining room.
Bartenders must be familiar with a broad variety of cocktail recipes and must be able to make beverages precisely, swiftly, and without waste. They work at restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, and other foodservice businesses.
What does a bartender do?
Typically, a bartender will perform the following:
- Welcome clients, advise them of daily promotions, and provide menus.
- Take drink orders - Serve wine, draft or bottled beer, and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Prepare beverages according to the instructions.
- Clean bars, tables, and workspaces.
- Operate cash registers, collect payments from clients, and return change.
- Manage bar operation and order and manage liquor and bar supplies.
At the touch of a button, certain businesses, particularly those with a large number of customers, utilize technology that automatically measures, pours, and mixes beverages. Bartenders who utilize this technology, on the other hand, must be able to manage a huge volume of drink orders rapidly and be knowledgeable with the components for specific cocktail requests.
Carbonated beverage dispensers, cocktail shakers or accessories, commercial strainers, mist or trigger sprayers, and ice shaver equipment can also be used in some places.
Bartenders store and prepare garnishes for cocktails, as well as keep an appropriate supply of ice and other bar supplies, in addition to mixing and serving beverages. They can also clean glassware and utensils, as well as provide meals to bar patrons. They're usually in charge of ordering and keeping track of booze, mixers, and other bar supplies.
How much do bartenders make? How much does a bartender earn?
The bulk of bartender salaries now range from $16,000 (25th percentile) to $26,500 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) earning $33,000 yearly in the United States. The typical salary for a bartender ranges widely (up to $10,500), implying that there can be several chances for development and higher pay dependent on skill level, location, and years of experience.
Salary based on experience
Salary based on experience-level.
Top-level bartender earnings begin at:
$24.31 per hour, $50,573 per year.
Senior-level bartender earnings begin at:
$21.23 per hour, $44,153 per year.
Mid-level bartender earnings begin at:
$18.26 per hour, $37,972 per year.
Junior-level bartender earnings begin at:
$15.70 per hour, $32,656 per year.
Entry-level bartender earnings begin at:
$13.71 per hour, $28,511 per year.
Establishment and bartender salary ranges
"Dive bars" or lower-class bars could impact how much bartenders earn on average. How much money a bartender will earn can vary depending on the establishment. The average hourly rate for a cocktail bar in New York City/San Francisco, for example, will earn far greater than middle-class bars in rural Illinois.
In addition, the nights that a bartender works can have an impact. The bartender's income will be greater on Saturday nights, rather than weekdays. Simply due to more customers and patrons being present.
Upper-class bars will always pay greater than sports bars, for example.
Average salary by state
National average bartender salary by state:
- Alaska: $33,728 per year.
- Alabama: $26,052 per year.
- Arkansas: $29,704 per year.
- Arizona: $22,700 per year.
- California: $43,901 per year.
- Colorado: $21,230 per year.
- Connecticut: $22,900 per year.
- District of Columbia: $37,250 per year.
- Delaware: $22,460 per year.
- Florida: $26,040 per year.
- Georgia: $18,670 per year.
- Guam: $19,840 per year.
- Hawaii: $49,734 per year.
- Iowa: $31,978 per year.
- Idaho: $29,345 per year.
- Illinois: $24,280 per year.
- Indiana: $33,511 per year.
- Kansas: $27,027 per year.
- Kentucky: $27,378 per year.
- Louisiana: $18,510 per year.
- Massachusetts: $25,660 per year.
- Maryland: $23,500 per year.
- Maine: $23,280 per year.
- Michigan: $19,940 per year.
- Minnesota: $21,820 per year.
- Missouri: $20,100 per year.
- Mississippi: $18,370 per year.
- Montana: $20,250 per year.
- North Carolina: $19,980 per year.
- North Dakota: $19,760 per year.
- Nebraska: $22,140 per year.
- New Hampshire: $24,456 per year.
- New Jersey: $27,850 per year.
- New Mexico: $18,640 per year.
- Nevada: $24,600 per year.
- New York: $29,350 per year.
- Ohio: $19,280 per year.
- Oklahoma: $18,710 per year.
- Oregon: $26,660 per year.
- Pennsylvania: $23,380 per year.
- Puerto Rico: $18,270 per year.
- Rhode Island: $24,630 per year.
- South Carolina: $18,990 per year.
- South Dakota: $20,910 per year.
- Tennessee: $21,180 per year.
- Texas: $27,453 per year.
- Utah: $20,070 per year.
- Virginia: $22,980 per year.
- Virgin Islands: $21,850 per year.
- Vermont: $36,010 per year.
- Washington: $29,820 per year.
- Wisconsin: $21,020 per year.
- West Virginia: $19,930 per year.
- Wyoming: $19,660 per year.
Information provided by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (source).
Wages per week
Average salaries are $444 per week.
Wages per hour
Average salaries are $11 per hour.
Wages per month
Average salaries are $1,927 per month.
Job market outlook
Since 2004, the general job outlook for bartenders has been favorable. During that period, job openings for this profession have risen by 5.12% nationally, with an average annual increase of 0.32%. Demand for bartenders is anticipated to increase, with 206,380 new positions needing to be filled by 2029. Over the following three years, this equates to a 4.71% yearly rise.
Workplace of a bartender
Restaurants, taverns, clubs, motels, and other foodservice facilities employ bartenders.
Bartenders are required to stand for long periods of time. Many people have to handle large cases of booze, beer, or other bar supplies. They frequently complete drink orders for waiters and waitresses serving clients in the dining area. As a result, bartenders must collaborate well with their coworkers in order to provide fast service to clients.
Required skills of a bartender
Required bartending skills:
A good memory is one of the most important qualities for a successful bartender. They improve short-term memory through memorizing drink orders, remembering specific drink or cocktail ingredients, or remembering the names of popular craft brews. When bartenders recall regulars and welcome them by name, they enhance long-term memory. As bartenders talk with regulars on personal issues and enquire about them later, a good memory helps to develop rapport with clients.
Preparation and mixology.
Bartenders are distinguished by their expertise of popular cocktails or unusual creations. They keep up with seasonal trends and popular drinks, and they frequently create their own recipes. Free pouring, the skillful practice of adding alcohol in precise amounts, improves the dexterity and efficiency of bartenders.
To meet the customer's expectation that the next drink would taste the same as the previous, bartenders can repeatedly mix the same beverages with similar accuracy.
Throughout their shift, bartenders chat with and engage with a variety of people. Their communication skills enable them to adjust their tone or change the subject depending on who they are speaking with. Bartenders work as part of a team, communicating with wait or kitchen workers and intervening as necessary to keep the bar and/or restaurant running well.
Listening to the client's problems with a sympathetic ear and, if the customer is a regular, following up with the customer are examples of communication skills. Their listening skills warn them when they might need to interfere in a tense debate or a disagreement.
Bartenders can work evenings, weekends, or alternating shifts. Their schedules are fluid, and shifts can alter from week to week. When bartenders replace gaps in the waiting crew to fill food orders or conduct banking transactions, on-the-job flexibility comes into play. Customers can modify their drink orders or food preferences, or they can be ready to settle a bar bill; bartenders can fill in as required.
Bartenders require organizational abilities to stay on top of product requests and make sure the bar is stocked with garnishes and ice for popular cocktails and specialty beers. Drink demand is affected by seasonal patterns, and bartenders are aware of what is popular or expected to be popular.
Remembering which client requests which drink and filling them in the proper sequence require organization. When it comes to managing money, dealing with coworkers, and keeping track of daily demand, organizing skills are essential.
Bartenders collaborate with fellow bartenders, as well as wait and kitchen workers. They recognize the importance of working together to serve customers and do their share to fulfill orders or assist other employees who are running late. Bartenders keep an eye on the situation and offer aid if necessary.
Aside from politeness, bartenders must learn to remain collected and calm under pressure. Bartenders gain calm as they learn to assess circumstances and react appropriately to mediate a conflict, assist a coworker, or manage a crisis. Bartenders who take regular pauses and exercise self-care are better able to stay calm in stressful situations.
Customers buy drinks at bars with the assumption that the drink would taste precisely like the one before it, regardless of where they purchased it. Customers demand consistency from bartenders, therefore they must be constant in their mixology. The ability to utilize the same component proportions consistently is beneficial to the company and assures revenues because bartenders do not over or under pour.
Customers can anticipate their bartender to have the same demeanor and attitude each time they visit, as consistent conduct provides familiarity to the establishment.
Common questions from bartender job seekers:
How do I become a bartender?
Bartending can be a fantastic job for some people, but it can also be a huge mistake for others. People who succeed in this field are motivated to make their customers happy and take pride in being able to provide an enjoyable experience for them. Before you decide to pursue bartending as a career (or even as a part-time job), you should consider the following factors:
It's not an easy task.
Many people enter the profession of bartending with the expectation of spending their days at the bar. While it is a social job with some enjoyable aspects, it is also very physically demanding. You're constantly on the move, on your feet for hours at a time, and dealing with a large number of people.
Multi-tasking abilities and rapid memory recall are required.
Bartenders must be able to do many tasks at once. Most bartenders can multitask, but skilled bartenders can multitask while maintaining a high level of service. The best bartenders can handle any situation while maintaining a cheerful demeanor.
You have to be kind to others.
There will always be a small percentage of people who are unhappy, no matter how polite or fun you try to be. To avoid letting these people bring down the energy of the space or the staff, be as nice as possible, check your ego, and keep smiling. When a guest is having a bad day, it's sometimes best to keep interactions with them short and sweet so as not to add fuel to the fire.
You'll need to set boundaries.
There will be times when people will hit on you, and there is a fine line between being nice and being too nice in these situations. It's not a good idea to get romantically involved with customers, and you'll need to practice setting social boundaries.
Income and stability aren't guaranteed.
The pay of a bartender varies greatly based on the shifts worked, the location, and the venue. In big cities like Las Vegas, Manhattan, Boston, Seattle, or Miami, bartending can be extremely lucrative. Working as a bartender in a nightclub or a fine dining restaurant in these cities can pay well. Additionally, bartenders make more in liberal-minded locations/states, whereas bartenders in conservative places earn far less.
There are risks.
Serving too many drinks to someone who is already inebriated, or to someone under the age of 21, could land you in legal trouble. When you work as a bartender, you should be aware that you are taking on a lot of responsibility, which could come back to bite you.
The hours are difficult.
Bartenders typically work ten to twelve-hour shifts, with no breaks in between. There are hours of preparation work, hours of clean-up work, and hours of catering to people's needs. Night club shifts are the most demanding (flashing lights, loud music, and an almost constant sense of urgency) - shifts begin around 9-10 p.m., and you should expect to be cleaning up at 6-8 a.m.
What're the steps to becoming one?
To become a bartender, there are no specific steps to follow. Some bartenders qualify based on their previous job experience. As students master fundamental mixing techniques and recipes, they can begin as bartender assistants and graduate to full-fledged bartenders. Working alongside a more experienced bartender is a common way for new employees to learn.
Some employers use self-study programs, online programs, audiovisual presentations, or instructional booklets to teach new employees how to perform service tasks. Such programs communicate the establishment's philosophy, assist new bartenders in developing personal relationships with other employees, and instill a desire to work as a team.
Some bartenders go to a bartending school or take bartending lessons at a vocational or technical school to develop their abilities. These courses cover topics such as how to stock a bar, popular cocktail recipes, food safety protocols, basic customer service, teamwork, and local rules and regulations. Programs also give a chance to talk about how to deal with difficult clients and difficult situations. The majority of courses last a few weeks, and some schools assist their graduates in finding work.
Bartenders can usually advance only by finding work in a busier or more expensive restaurant or bar, where their chances of earning tips are better. Some bartenders work their way up to positions like dining room supervisor, maitre d', assistant manager, or restaurant general manager.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
Job search resources
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