Ever wonder what the average bartender salary is? We have the answer, plus some tips to increase your earning potential.
Bartending can be a very lucrative job, especially when it comes to tips. As with many positions, the salary of a bartender can vary, depending on years of experience, type of venue (for example, a pub vs. a casino or nightclub) and location. If you’re applying for a new job, it can be helpful to know what the average salary is in your state to keep in mind during the hiring process.
Bartender Salaries in the U.S.
In order to get a thorough idea of what bartender salaries look like in the U.S., we took a look at multiple websites, including Indeed, Talent.com, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Between all sources, the average base salary for bartenders in 2022 is reported between $14.48 and $15.69/hour or between 28K and 47K each year. Entry level positions begin at the lower end of the range and more experienced positions will fall closer to the middle and top. Average tip income is an estimated average of $150/day.
Base salary and additional non-tip compensation, such as health benefits, 401(k), and bonuses, all vary by state. So which states have the highest base salary for bartenders? According to Indeed, which had the most salaries reported at the time of our article publication, bartenders in New Hampshire and Massachusetts make approximately 25% higher than the national average; bartenders in Utah make 17% more versus the national average, and bartenders in New Jersey make 9% over average. On the lower end of the scale, fall South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Montana, where bartenders make between 15 and 20% less vs. the national average. On the very bottom of the list is Mississippi, coming in at 26% lower than the national average.
U.S. Bartender Salaries vs. Other Countries
With mobile bartending and working abroad on the rise, here’s how U.S. bartender salaries compare to some other countries (all figures are expressed in U.S. Dollars):
3 Tips to Increase Your Earning Potential
If you work in a state that’s below average in salary, or if you’re just looking to increase your earnings potential, here are three recommendations that may help drive up your income.
Get alcohol service licenses or certifications
Here at Userve, we can’t stress this point enough. Not only do certain states require certifications for alcohol service, but as a best practice, it is recommended that all bartenders obtain training and complete a certificate program. According to Indeed, obtaining a license or certification (like RBS certification in California) can improve your base salary by over 10%.
Obtain experience within the skill sets that employers pay more for
According to Indeed, skills in operations, food preparation and hospitality can all help push your starting salary above the national average. Here are the the top five skills and estimated increase for each:
- Inventory Control: +60.50%
- Host/Hostess: +27.33%
- Catering Experience: +21.74%
- Banquet Experience: +17.50%
- Culinary Experience: +10.02%
Get additional training
This last recommendation pertains to additional skills training, like mixology, flair bartending or obtaining a sommelier certification to improve your appeal to employers, versatility on the job, and tip potential. Flair bartenders, for example, can earn $22 to $30/hour depending on skill level, years of experience, and type of event.
Remember, when looking at bartender salaries, do your research and look at the entire compensation package, not just hourly wage. Depending on your needs, an establishment that has a lower hourly wage but offers health insurance may be a better fit than one that offers just a great hourly rate.
Click the link below for more information on Userve’s Alcohol Server Courses, and to be sure to check out more in our how-to series on becoming a bartender.