How Much Do Bartenders Make – Career Ranking



Working as a bartender means being the person that attends to guests at a club, hotel, restaurant or bar. It is the part of the bartender’s job description to make drinks available on demand, on time and according to how the guests requested for their drinks.


So many factors determine what a bartender takes home per week, per month or per year. One of these factors is the place of employment. A bartender working at a regular restaurant does not make the same as the one working at a luxury restaurant or luxury hotel bar. Salaries vary and depends mostly on the size of the establishment, the kind of customers that patronize the establishment. This is also to factor in tips and bonuses that bartenders enjoy apart from their regular paychecks.

The salary of a bartender is a sum-total of the wages and bonuses, and it is not the same across every establishment, city, state, and country.

According to percentage proportions of bartenders working across various establishments, 43% of the bartender population work in food and restaurant businesses; 29% in bars and pubs and other drinking establishments; 7% in traveler accommodation; 8% work in civic and social accommodation and 5% work in amusement and recreational establishments. The wages and salaries across states can never be the same because of the varying minimum wage across different states. Therefore, typically, bartenders who work in states with higher minimum wages will earn more than the ones in states that pay less.


About 551,000 people work as bartenders and half of this number do the job on a part-time basis. The average annual salary for a bartender is approximately $19,050 which is roughly $9.16 per hour. To get a job as a bartender, you either go to a bartending school or have basic customer service skills and prior knowledge about drinks and beverages recipes.


Bartending goes beyond pouring drinks, attending to customers and collecting tips. A complete job description of a bartender will include an individual who can multitask, work as a mixologist, entertain, listen, host and make guests have a good time. Note that the responsibilities of a bartender may not be the same everywhere. It differs from establishment to establishment. A summary of what a bartender does is highlighted below;

  • Main Job Description/Responsibilities

A bartender is a salesperson, and your job is to make sales and rake in profit for the bar. For the sales to happen, you must have a combination of skills which include having excellent people skills, the ability to entertain, creating an environment with the right ambiance and leveraging on smart product placement to drive sales. It is important as a bartender to keep an eye on your guests so you can know when a guest has had a little too much to drink than is healthy for them. You can decide not to serve drunk customers and help them call a cab to take them home safely.

  • Preparation

Part of the job of the bartender is setting up the bar before guests begin to arrive. This includes stocking the bar with all the drinks, beverages, glasses and other supplies. If you are serving cocktails, you will have to prepare fresh sugar syrup. You will also have to infuse spirits and make fruit purees before the bar opens for business. You also have to ensure that garnishes are ready and fresh fruits have been cut and refrigerated for use later.

  • During the night

When the guests arrive, you will have to ensure that the bar is running as it should. Every time the bar runs out of drinks, your job is to replace the drinks and re-stock any of the bar supplies so that you and your co-bartenders can easily get anything that you need at any point in time. Also, you are responsible for the appearance of the bar so, you have to clean the bar area continually, so it looks neat regardless of whether there is a customer or not.

  • Closing Hours

The bartender is also responsible for closing the bar for the night which is also known as “Close to Open.” This is the period the bar is restored to the state where it will be ready for business the next day. The bartender stocks all drinks and beverages, cleans the bar area, washing ice buckets, wiping refrigerators and mopping the floors. The bartender also calculates all the money made from the night and records it accordingly.


If the bar you work in is a big bar where there are many bartenders, you as an experienced bartender may be the person to acquaint the new entrant with the job. You may also from time to time educate junior staff members about the job.


As a newcomer in the bartending industry, you need all the necessary advice to succeed as a professional bartender. Check out the pieces of advice below;

  • The most important part of a bartending job is not the service you render; it is how you deliver the service and how you make guests feel after rendering the service.
  • Stay in shape and keep your appearance neat. Wear nice shoes, eat good food, drink lots of water and exercise your body regularly.
  • Always note the number one rule of hospitality which says, “Treat others how they want to be treated and not how you would like to e treated.”
  • Know about as many distilleries and products as you can.
  • Bartending is a profession, not a lifestyle.
  • Seek teachers and mentors separately and never mix the two.
  • People will grow your brand for you if you are good.


Getting a bartending job is not so hard, but many aspiring bartenders hardly know where to start. If you have not figured out a starting point for yourself, this article is an excellent way to learn about the job you are going into.

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