How much to bartenders make?


On average, a bartender makes about $18 per hour according to PayScale. Half of that is in tips. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average pay to be $12.63 . Payrate depends a lot on your location and type of venue, as well as the time of day worked. Many bartenders report earnings hundreds of dollars during peak times.

Bartenders can earn good money

Compared to many other services positions, bartenders can make good money. Especially when compared to other restaurant and food service positions like waiting tables, being a hostess, or food prep.

Much like other restaurant positions, a good percentage of your wage will be dependent on tips. Bartending jobs in which you directly serve customers (as opposed to making drinks for waiters and waitresses serving customers) can sometimes be more lucrative.

Factors affecting bartender pay

According to PayScale, bartenders make about $18 an hour and half of that is in tips. 

There are many factors affecting what kind of money you can make as a bartender. Some of the factors are:

1. Where you live.

Places that have higher costs of living tend to pay more. Some cities have high minimum wages that cover waitstaff and bartenders. For example, in a city with a $15 minimum wage, the employer should guarantee a minimum of $15 between pay and tips. This varies by city.

It's not just expensive cities that pay better. Nightlife-focused cities like Las Vegas can also pay better, especially swanky joints with bottle service and high-end drinks.

2. What kind of establishment you work for.

On an hourly basis, working at a bar that's not part of a restaurant during peak hours can result in more money.

Slower bars or bars within restaurants don't always pay as well.

3. What time of day you work.

Just like waiting tables, the bartending business is busier at certain times of day. The busier it is the more customers you serve and the more money you make.

For example, working at a busy bar for the few hours before closing time can result in big tips. Some bartenders report making hundreds of dollars a night.

Andrew Allemann