Bartender salary in the USA

What is a bartender salary in the USA?

The potential for earning great money as a bartender is high. Of course it depends on your employer, venue and experience. In this blog post, we will explore a bartender salary in the USA.

A bartender counts her tip money at the end of a shift, which is much higher compared to a bartender salary in the USA

Show me the money

Plenty of bartenders earn a full-time living on a part-time schedule. That is not to say that they don’t work hard. In fact, the harder you work, the more money you can make as a busy bartender.

The real money in bartending is in the tips, not the hourly wage. On paper, bartenders don’t earn a whole lot. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly wage for bartenders was $11.39 in May, 2019. That is a meagre $45.56 before taxes on a four hour shift.

But if you are busy and pour $1000 in cocktails in a four hour shift, that equals

 $150 in tips on an average of 15% to each bill. Experienced and savvy bartenders in high-end venues are able to pour more drinks and earn even higher tip percentages.

Upselling your customers to premium spirits is another way to increase your sales total, which also increases your tip total.

A bartender shows off her tip money at the end of a shift, compared to a bartender salary in the USA

Where to bartend?

When deciding to become a bartender and where to work, your focus should not be on the bartender salary in the USA. Rather think about the earning potential based on your own product knowledge for upselling, your ability to build drinks efficiently, how busy is a potential venue, the type of clientele and your own customer service skills.

Do you want to work in a small pub with a chill environment, which probably will have low volume and tips? Or would you prefer a chic bar with demanding clients, which will definitely have a higher bill per customer ratio? You might choose a busy night club where volume of simple drinks is the key to success.

The question of your salary as a bartender depends entirely on you.