OysterLink Job Platform Launching Sept. 2024
The OysterLink Job Platform is Launching September 2024

Bartender Salary in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

The average salary for a Bartender in the United States is base plus tips per month or $37,090 base plus tips per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Average Bartender Base Salary:

What can I earn as a Bartender?Your salary is 0 the US national average
$17.83
$17.83
17.83

How Much Does a Bartender Make in the United States?

The average wage for a Bartender is $17.83 base plus tips per hour.

Some Bartenders can earn as little as $9.55 (10th percentile) base plus tips per hour, while others may earn as much as $29.43 (90th percentile) base plus tips per hour.

[Source: BLS]

This bar graph is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the graph to see detailed data.

If you’re in the 90th percentile, you earn more than 90% of all the Bartenders in the U.S. Earning $ 61,210 then puts you in the top 10% of earners among Bartenders.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the 10th percentile, you earn less than 90% of the group. Earning $19,870 then places you in the bottom 10% of earners among Bartenders.

Annual Mean Wage of Bartenders by State

[BLS]

This map is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the map to see detailed data. 

The annual mean wage of Bartenders can vary significantly from state to state for many reasons.

For instance, states with higher costs of living, such as California and New York, may offer Bartenders higher wages to match the demand for their services. Alternatively, Bartender salaries may be comparatively lower in states with a lower cost of living, including Tennessee and Indiana.

Local economic conditions and regulations can also influence Bartender salaries. For example, states with thriving tourism industries or bustling entertainment districts like Florida may offer higher wages to attract skilled Bartenders to cater to the influx of visitors.

Are Bartender salaries keeping up with living costs in your area?

Factors That Affect Average Bartender Salary

Aside from geographic location, several other factors influence the average salary of Bartenders:

Tips

Tips form a significant part of a Bartender’s overall earnings. Bartenders working in establishments with a high volume of customers or those with a generous tipping culture may earn more in tips than those in quieter venues.

Typically, customers tip between 15% and 20% of the total bill. An alternative approach is tipping per drink, with a standard of $1 for simple drinks like beer and $2–$4 for mixed drinks or cocktails.

Graphic showing two different types of tipping etiquettes for Bartenders

Type of Establishment

The type of establishment where a Bartender works can also impact their salary. Bartenders in upscale restaurants, high-end hotels or exclusive clubs may earn higher wages than those in neighborhood bars or casual dining establishments.

Experience

Bartenders with more experience and a proven track record of excellent customer service and mixology skills may command higher salaries than entry-level Bartenders.

Demand for Bartenders

The demand for Bartenders in a particular industry can also influence their salaries. For example, performing arts companies often host events, shows and performances where Bartenders are needed to provide beverage services to patrons. These venues may include theaters, concert halls and entertainment venues where Bartenders play a crucial role in enhancing the overall guest experience.

Due to the specialized nature of their service, performing arts companies may offer higher wages to attract and retain talented individuals.

Below is a complete list of top-paying industries for Bartenders, according to BLS.

Industry Annual mean wage
Performing Arts Companies $47,500
Individual and Family Services $44,190
Other Personal Services $44,160
General Merchandise Retailers $42,370
Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports and SimilarEvents $41,590

Employer Policies

Employer policies, such as tip-sharing arrangements and opportunities for advancement or bonuses, can also affect a Bartender’s overall earnings.

Certifications and Training

Having certifications can also influence a Bartender’s salary. Certifications demonstrate a higher level of skill, knowledge and professionalism. So, make sure to invest in accredited training programs and obtain recognized certifications to maximize your earning potential. OysterLink offers a list of recommended bartending schools and courses to help you advance your career.

Bartender Salary in Major US Cities

Among these four major U.S. cities, New York City is the top-paying city for Bartenders followed by Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami.

Miami

Annual mean wage

$39,270

Number of Employees

14,410

New York City

Annual mean wage

$58,050

Number of Employees

31,670

Chicago

Annual mean wage

$35,630

Number of Employees

23,080

Los Angeles

Annual mean wage

$40,080

Number of Employees

22,530

[Source: BLS]

High-Paying Cities for Bartenders

CityAvg SalaryAvg Hourly Wage
Los Angeles, CA40,08019.27
Miami, FL39,27018.88
NYC, NY58,05027.91
Chicago, IL35,63017.13

Average Bartender Salary by State

Explore the average Bartender salary by state.

StateAvg. Salary
Alabama$26,520
Alaska$30,290
Arizona$50,870
Arkansas$34,890
California$41,150
Colorado$40,800
Connecticut$41,730
Delaware$36,700
Florida$38,220
Georgia$31,680
Hawaii$52,140
Idaho$28,240
Illinois$35,000
Indiana$26,300
Iowa$25,790
Kansas$31,350
Kentucky$33,140
Louisiana$25,280
Maine$46,410
Maryland$40,020
Massachusetts$39,350
Michigan$36,860
Minnesota$27,800
Mississippi$31,630
Missouri$35,600
Montana$24,680
Nebraska$32,780
Nevada$32,850
New Hampshire$35,610
New Jersey$47,660
New Mexico$36,750
New York$56,140
North Carolina$38,960
North Dakota$31,460
Ohio$34,470
Oklahoma$25,670
Oregon$34,950
Pennsylvania$29,030
Rhode Island$38,230
South Carolina$23,970
South Dakota$29,310
Tennessee$28,810
Texas$33,990
Utah$37,560
Vermont$49,540
Virginia$46,730
Washington$57,710
West Virginia$33,660
Wisconsin$26,880
Wyoming$27,500
District of Columbia$59,850

Non-Monetary Benefits and Perks for Bartenders

Some of the most common non-monetary benefits and perks offered to Bartenders are as follows. 

Flexible Scheduling: Flexible schedules promote work-life balance by allowing Bartenders to manage personal commitments and work effectively.

Training and Development Opportunities: As a Bartender, it’s essential to constantly improve your craft to command higher wages. Availing an employer’s offer of opportunities to attend training sessions and workshops allows you to level up without having to spend money.

Paid Time Off: Similar to flexible scheduling, paid time off provides peace of mind to bBrtenders by allowing them to take time off for vacation and sick leave without worrying about lost income.

Health and Wellness Benefits: Being on your feet all day requires physical stamina. Availing a gym membership under health and wellness benefits helps you fulfill your role. In addition, an Employee Assistance Program provides confidential counseling services to employees facing personal or work-related challenges, including stress, anxiety and relationship issues, promoting a healthy mental state as well.

Transportation Benefits: Subsidies for public transportation or parking expenses help alleviate the cost for bartenders and reduce stress as well.

Top 5 Skills Needed for Bartenders

Bartenders require specific skills and abilities to excel in providing exceptional service, crafting delicious drinks and maintaining a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere for patrons.

1. Conflict Resolution

Bartenders require conflict resolution abilities to help maintain a positive atmosphere. For example, calming tensions between two guests over seating prevents disruptions.

When tensions arise between guests, whether it’s over seating arrangements or other issues, Bartenders must step in to address the situation calmly and effectively. By understanding the concerns of each party involved and finding a suitable solution, Bartenders can prevent disruptions and ensure that all guests feel comfortable and welcome.

2. Tactful Communication

This helps Bartenders handle conversations politely and discreetly.

For instance, if a guest requests for a free drink, Bartenders should be able to politely decline it and offer alternative options to demonstrate professionalism and preserve goodwill.

3. Salesmanship

This ability involves promoting featured drinks and suggesting upsells to increase revenue and enhance the guest experience.

For example, confidently recommending a specialty cocktail encourages guests to try new options and boosts sales for the bar.

4. Efficiency in Workflow Management

Efficiency in workflow management is essential for Bartenders to handle busy shifts effectively.  By arranging tools and ingredients in a logical manner and planning ahead, Bartenders can streamline their workflow, minimize wait times and reduce congestion at the bar.

Efficient workflow management allows Bartenders to maintain a steady rhythm throughout their shift, keeping operations running smoothly even during peak hours.

5. Memorization

Bartenders are often tasked with memorizing a wide array of drink recipes, ranging from classic cocktails to specialty creations unique to their establishment.

By memorizing these recipes, Bartenders can efficiently prepare drinks without the need to constantly refer to recipe books or guides.

In addition, there are situations where a guest requests a custom cocktail with specific ingredients due to dietary restrictions. In such cases, bartenders must accurately recall these details to provide excellent service.

Education Requirements for Bartenders

According to a survey conducted by the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), 43% indicated that new hires need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Meanwhile, 37% stated that no high school diploma is required and 16% reported that some college, but no degree, is required.

[Source: O*NET]

This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data. 

Many Bartenders start as a Server or as a Barback and progress to Bartender roles by pursuing certifications and gaining on-the-job experience.

How Much Do Similar Careers to Bartenders Get Paid?

Bartenders earn about the same as those in similar careers and job positions in the United States.

On average, Bartenders make more than Waiters/Waitresses and Barbacks, but less than Sommeliers.

Job TitleAverage Salary
Waiter/Waitress
Barback
Sommelier

Bartender Career Progression

As Bartenders gain experience and prove their skills, they can advance to higher positions within the hospitality industry. Excelling in their roles behind the bar may lead to supervisory or managerial positions, overseeing the entire bar operation.

Bartender

Lead Bartender

Avg Salary $ 43,000

Bar Manager

Avg Salary $ 56,000

Food and Beverage Manager

Avg Salary $ 67,000

Director of Food and Beverage Operations

Avg Salary $ 85,000

Bar Coordinator

Avg Salary $ 50,000

Bar Manager

Avg Salary $ 56,000

Beverage Director

Avg Salary $ 79,000

Director of Hospitality Services

Avg Salary $ 92,000

Labor Laws and Taxes for Bartenders

As a Bartender, you need to be aware of the minimum wage, tipped wage credit, overtime pay and leave policies in your state.

Check out the guides below or view more labor laws:

To easily calculate federal, state and local taxes in your state, use our free Paycheck Calculator.

Bartender Salary FAQs

Several skills play a role in determining a bartender’s salary. One key skill is mixology expertise; Bartenders who excel in crafting innovative cocktails, particularly in upscale establishments where cocktail quality is highly valued, often command higher salaries.

Additionally, exceptional customer service skills, including attentiveness, friendliness and the ability to engage with patrons, can lead to higher tips and repeat business — thus influencing a bartender’s overall earnings.

Effective communication skills are also crucial for Bartenders to interact with customers, take orders accurately and provide recommendations, contributing to a positive customer experience and potentially higher tip income.

Tips greatly impact a Bartender’s overall earnings. These can vary depending on factors such as the type of establishment, customer demographics and the quality of service provided.

Bartenders who excel at customer service, engage with patrons and demonstrate expertise in mixology techniques are more likely to receive higher tips. However, it’s important to note that tip earnings can fluctuate from shift to shift and are not guaranteed.

Hence, it’s essential for Bartenders to consistently deliver exceptional service to maximize their overall earnings.

Bartender salaries are influenced by several factors that collectively shape their earning potential. One significant factor is geographical location, as salaries can vary widely depending on the city or state where they work. For instance, Bartenders in major metropolitan areas or popular tourist destinations often earn higher wages due to the higher cost of living and increased demand for their services.

Additionally, the type of establishment where they work plays a crucial role in determining their salary. Bartenders in upscale restaurants, high-end hotels or exclusive clubs typically earn more than those in neighborhood bars or casual dining establishments.

Experience level is another important factor, as experienced Bartenders with advanced skills and a proven track record may command higher salaries than entry-level Bartenders.

One common belief is that all Bartenders earn substantial tips. While tips can indeed constitute a significant portion of a Bartender’s income, the actual amount can vary widely based on factors like location, type of establishment and individual skill level.

Another common misconception is that Bartenders are relegated to earning minimum wage. While this may be true for some, many establishments pay Bartenders above the minimum wage rate, especially in areas with higher living costs or robust tipping cultures.

In addition to base salary and tips, Bartenders may receive various components in their compensation packages. These can include benefits such as health insurance, 401(k)/retirement plans, paid time off and employee discounts.

Some employers may also offer bonuses or incentives based on performance, like meeting sales targets or receiving positive customer feedback.

Additionally, bartenders may have access to professional development opportunities, such as training programs or certifications, to enhance their skills and advance their careers within the industry.

The average base salary for Bartenders in the U.S. is $37,090, according to BLS. It’s worth noting that Bartenders often receive tips, which can significantly increase their earnings.

Depending on the establishment and the bartender’s skill level, tips can amount to an additional $50 to $200 or more per day.

Career Advice