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Bartender Pros and Cons: Is Working as a Bartender Worth It?

bartenders making cocktails

As with any other job, bartending comes with its own pros and cons. In this article, we discuss the Bartender pros and cons so you can decide whether pursuing a Bartender career is right for you.

Pros of Being a Bartender

As Paula Lukas puts it, interacting with people and getting paid for it is just one benefit of working as a Bartender. 

Let’s take a look at some other notable pros of being a Bartender.

Potential to earn good money

Bartenders can make a lot of money from tips on top of their base salary. In fact, many Bartenders earn more from tips than their base salary.

However, keep in mind that the amount of money you make will vary depending on where you work. 

Pro Tip: Being social and attentive can get you more tips and networking opportunities.

Healthy social life

As a Bartender, you’ll serve customers from all walks of life.

If you’re an outgoing person who enjoys meeting and talking to people, the social aspect of working behind the bar can be fun and rewarding.

You’ll also work with many colleagues who may eventually become friends.

Flexible work hours

Bartenders often have more room for work-life balance given their flexible schedule. Depending on your agreement with your employer or supervisor, you can work on weekends or specifically morning or night shifts. In other cases, your work hours may vary from day to day.

This flexibility makes bartending a good option for students and people working other jobs.

Development of various skills

Working as a Bartender can help you develop a wide range of hard and soft skills.

For instance, you’ll develop customer service, organizational and multitasking abilities that you can transfer to other areas of life.

You’ll also learn how to make many cocktails and drinks, work in a high-pressure environment and handle transactions via point-of-sale systems.

Endless job opportunities

There are countless bars, restaurants and nightclubs looking for Bartenders, regardless of your skill level.

If you don’t know where to start, enlist in a bartending school to learn how to serve alcohol responsibly and learn the ropes of working behind the bar.

After completing the course at the bartending school, you’ll get a bartending license and job placement assistance to get you right into the workforce.

Now that we talked about the good, let’s also discuss the bad.

Cons of Being a Bartender

Busy periods, dealing with difficult customers and long hours are just a few reasons why many Bartenders are only in the profession for a short time.

Physically demanding

Bartending can be physically demanding. It involves working through busy shifts and long hours, involves heavy lifting and moving in a confined area.

You’ll have to constantly reach up and down to grab glassware, bottles and glasses and carry multiple drinks at a time in a fast-paced environment which can result in slips, falls or trips.

Late and long hours

Most bars will require you to work weekends and late, long hours. This can interfere with your friends and family time and other interests.

Something they don’t teach you at bartending school is that irregular shifts can also negatively impact your sleep schedule, leading to health problems down the line.

Mentally demanding

Dealing with drunk customers and difficult situations is a part of the job.

You’ll also need to manage multiple orders at a time, handle money and deal with upper management, which can be tough.

If that happens over a longer period, it can lead to burnout.

Low job security and inconsistent pay

We said that one of the pros of being a Bartender is the never-ending demand.

On the flip side, losing your job can happen swiftly and without a warning, especially if you work in establishments that don’t have a steady flow of customers and are overstaffed.

Moreover, how much money you bring home largely depends on tips. So when things are slow, you may not always earn as much as you’d have hoped.

Limited progression

While this isn’t the case for everyone, working as a Bartender often has limited room for improvement.

Hard work and experience can get you a raise or a management position, bartending rarely offers the benefits and stability of other positions outside of hospitality.

Is Bartending a Career Worth Pursuing?

If you are an outgoing person who values flexibility in their work hours and enjoys socializing in a fun, dynamic atmosphere — you should go for it.

If you don’t have the mental fortitude to deal with drunk people and don’t want to work weekends and have inconsistent schedules, then you should probably consider another career path.

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