How Much Do Bartenders Make?

bartender job descriptionBartenders attend the bar of a restaurant, a club, a pub, or any establishment that serves alcoholic drinks and other beverages. It is their responsibility to serve customers whatever drink they wish – whether it is a draft beer, a cocktail, or a glass of carbonated drink.

About 611,200 individuals are employed as bartenders, with half of this number working part-time. The average annual salary for bartenders is $22,550 or an equivalent of $10.84 per hour, including tips.

No formal training is needed for one to get a job as a bartender as all it takes are good customer service skills and a comprehensive knowledge about beverages and recipes.

Bartender Salary

How much do bartenders make? A bartender’s starting salary depends greatly on a number of factors. One of these is the establishment or place of employment. Busy restaurants usually pay higher salaries and bartenders tend to enjoy higher amounts of tips. Upscale establishments such as fine dining restaurants and luxury hotel bars also pay higher and bartenders receive higher tips from customers.

bartender salaryA bartender’s salary is the addition of hourly wages and customer’s tips so it varies greatly from state to state, city to city, and type of establishment. Bartenders who work in the restaurant and food establishments made up 45% of the bartender population; 28% work in drinking establishments; 7% in civic and social organizations; 7% in traveler accommodation; and 6% in other amusement and recreational industries.

Discrepancies in annual salaries are also due to a state’s minimum wage – those who work in states with higher minimal wages usually earn more than others in the industry.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Hawaii FlagHawaii6.46$17.45$36,290
Virginia FlagVirginia2.58$14.52$30,190
Washington FlagWashington4.81$14.13$29,390
Vermont FlagVermont6.57$13.84$28,780
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts5.57$13.20$27,460

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation0.46$13.55$28,190
Traveler Accommodation 2.13$13.44$27,950
Beer, Wine, and Distilled Alcoholic Wholesalers 0.03$13.33$27,720
Grocery Stores $13.06$27,160
Travel Arrangement and Reservation Services 0.04$12.71$26,450

Bartender Job Description

what do bartenders doWhat do a bartenders do? A bartender’s basic job is to mix and serve drinks to customers. They work in restaurants, hotels, bars, clubs, and other food service establishments. Most of them work indoors but there are also those who work outdoors, at a hotel’s pool area, on the beach, or in a catered event.

Bartenders do more than just mix drinks – they have a number of responsibilities that go beyond the basic scope of a bartender’s job. The duties and responsibilities of a bartender include greeting customers and giving them menus, taking their drink orders, mixing their drinks, serving them at the bar or through a wait staff, cleaning the bar and his/her work area, collecting payments, making inventories of beverages and bar supplies, and making sure the bar is fully equipped to meet the needs of customers.

Bartenders also work with equipment such as an automatic machine that pours, and mixes drinks at the push of a button. Though they won’t be the doing the actual mixing with this equipment, they still have to serve the customer and be familiar with each and every ingredient.

Among the tools a bartender needs are carbonated drink dispensers, cocktail shakers, commercial strainers, ice shavers, blenders, and other accessories. It is also his/her job to keep stock and prepare garnishes for drinks, wash glassware, serve food for customers at the bar, and maintain the right amount of ice, glasses, and other essential bar supplies.

Other duties include making sure they serve alcohol to customers who are at the legal age of drinking in the state, and making sure no more alcoholic drinks are served to those who are already overly intoxicated. They’re often the first line of customer service so they must have a neat appearance and ]excellent communications skills. Those who work in upscale restaurants must wear uniforms, ties, or aprons that are provided by the employer.

Bartender Job Outlook

The projected increase in the percentage of jobs in the bartending industry is 2% from 2016 to 2026, or around 15,100 more jobs. As more and more people are earning a good living, their need to go out and have drinks with friends and colleagues is also on the rise. This leads to the establishment of more taverns, clubs, pubs, bars, and restaurants, and the demand for bartenders also rise.

However, moderate employment growth is seen due to the increasing popularity of take-out and self-service food establishments.

Those who have education from a bartending school, have the adequate experience, and excellent customer service skills are seen to have the best job prospects.

Bartender Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama1.874$9.58$19,920
Alaska FlagAlaska5.164$13.06$27,170
Arizona FlagArizona4.349$10.50$21,830
Arkansas FlagArkansas1.635$8.68$18,060
California FlagCalifornia3.8$11.89$24,720
Colorado flagColorado4.497$11.59$24,120
Connecticut FlagConnecticut4.396$11.04$22,960
Delaware flagDelaware3.231$10.17$21,150
Florida FlagFlorida4.897$12.20$25,370
Georgia FlagGeorgia2.515$9.90$20,580
Hawaii FlagHawaii6.456$17.45$36,290
Idaho FlagIdaho4.462$9.37$19,480
Illinois FlagIllinois5.094$10.35$21,530
Indiana FlagIndiana4.256$10.28$21,370
Iowa FlagIowa4.912$8.86$18,440
Kansas FlagKansas3.606$9.03$18,790
Kentucky FlagKentucky2.082$9.53$19,810
Louisiana FlagLouisiana4.467$9.19$19,120
Maine FlagMaine4.635$10.48$21,790
Maryland FlagMaryland3.744$10.76$22,380
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts5.3$12.28$25,530
Michigan FlagMichigan4.33$9.82$20,430
Minnesota FlagMinnesota6.222$9.16$19,050
Mississippi FlagMississippi2.2$9.24$19,210
Missouri FlagMissouri3.354$9.43$19,620
Montana FlagMontana10.853$9.38$19,510
Nebraska FlagNebraska5.55$8.85$18,420
Nevada FlagNevada11.83$12.95$26,930
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire5.154$10.00$20,810
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey4.019$12.02$25,000
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico3.448$10.37$21,570
New York FlagNew York4.739$11.41$23,740
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina2.668$10.55$21,930
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota8.01$9.45$19,660
Ohio FlagOhio4.41$9.63$20,020
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma3.012$9.67$20,110
Oregon FlagOregon6.185$10.32$21,470
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania5.521$9.68$20,140
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island7.163$11.01$22,900
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina3.557$9.80$20,390
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota7.737$9.19$19,110
Tennessee FlagTennessee2.345$9.46$19,690
Texas FlagTexas3.346$10.83$22,530
Utah FlagUtah2.098$11.08$23,050
Vermont FlagVermont6.574$13.84$28,780
Virginia FlagVirginia2.585$14.52$30,190
Washington FlagWashington4.808$14.13$29,390
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia3.466$8.83$18,370
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin8.843$9.48$19,710
Wyomin FlagWyoming7.919$9.38$19,510

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Seattle / Bellevue / Everett, – WA – Metropolitan Division 4.32$15.91$33,100
Bremerton / Silverdale, – WA 5.70$15.54$32,310
Honolulu, HI 5.64$15.40$32,020
Blacksburg / Christiansburg / Radford, – VA 3.12$15.07$31,350
Burlington / South Burlington, – VT 4.24$14.71$30,600

Top paying nonmetropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Hawaii – Maui – Kauai nonmetropolitan area8.70$21.09$43,860
Nantucket Island / Martha’s Vineyard – nonmetropolitan area 12.25$16.33$33,970
Eastern Washington – nonmetropolitan area 4.48$15.54$32,320
Southern Vermont – nonmetropolitan area 8.50$14.80$30,790
Southside Virginia – nonmetropolitan area $14.03$29,180

Bartender Career Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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