Are You Supposed To Tip Bartenders?

are you supposed to tip bartenders
Joe | Last Updated: November 7, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

If you’ve recently found yourself having an awkward conversation with friends or a family member over not tipping the bartender, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Tipping can be a confusing and contentious subject, especially when it comes to workers that serve in the service industry.

Who you’re supposed to tip, how much to tip and when to tip are all questions that come up regularly when at restaurants, bars, and other establishments in the service industry.

In this post, we’re going to go through the proper etiquette and customs surrounding tipping bartenders and put an end to the age-old question “are you supposed to tip bartenders?”

Yes, bartenders should be tipped. The amount you should tip a bartender is largely a matter of personal preference and can depend on the level of service you’ve received. In general, it’s customary to tip a bartender between 15-20% of the total bill.

Are You Supposed To Tip Bartenders?

In many places, it’s customary to tip bartenders for their service. Tipping is a way to show appreciation for good service as well as to compensate service industry workers for the work they do.

The specific customs and expectations of tipping can vary depending on the country you are in, for example, it is expected to tip the bartenders in bars and restaurants in the United States, but not so much in some other countries.

There are no strict rules around whether or not you are supposed to tip bartenders, but it’s good practice to do so and is highly appreciated.

bartender pulling a pint
Photo by Bradley Gossett on Unsplash

Not only is tipping a way to show appreciation to a bartender, but good tips are likely to provide you with swifter service which is great when with a group of friends.

Some people choose to tip generously whilst others don’t tip at all, it’s a matter of personal preference and the standard of service they have received.

How Much Should You Tip The Bartender?

The amount you “should” tip the bartender varies, but the standard is typically around $1-2 per drink or 15-20% of the total bill, similar to the standard tip of table service in a restaurant.

It’s a matter of personal preference with some people choosing to tip more than this if they feel they’ve received excellent service.

Leaving the bartender any tip is highly appreciated and goes a long way in making them feel valued and like they are doing a good job.

Check out our bartender tip calculator below;

Bartender Tip Calculator

Recommended Tip

Total Bill

Some establishments have a “tip jar” that is used to collect all of the tips that are received during the shift, whilst others may include a gratuity charge on the bill.

If this is the case, it’s generally not necessary to leave an additional tip but you can certainly do so if you want to.

Before you head out for a night of drinking and go to a bar, it’s a good idea to have some cash handy with you in case you want to tip the bartender.

Tipping via card can be tricky in some establishments so it’s always best to tip in cash if you can.

Why Do You Tip Bartenders?

Tipping bartenders is a great way to show appreciation for the service you’ve received and to help compensate the individual for their excellent work.

The bartending industry relies heavily on tips as a significant part of their income and tipping a bartender helps to acknowledge the efforts and attention they put into serving customers.

If you feel that the bartender has provided you with good service and you’ve enjoyed your time at the bar then this is the perfect reason to leave a tip.

Maybe you’ve noticed the bartender has been working incredibly hard whilst you’ve been in the bar or perhaps they’ve dazzled you with some of their skills.

Whatever the reason, tipping is a token of appreciation for the individual bartender and is a way to let them know you’ve had a positive experience in the bar.

It’s important to note tipping is not always required and the customs and expectations can vary depending on the establishment.

In some luxury establishments, the bartenders may already be paid a salary that is sufficient without relying on tips so it’s not as expected.

Should You Tip After Every Drink?

The expectations around when you should tip vary depending on the type of service you’re being given.

If you’re receiving table service from the bartender and they are delivering drinks to your table rather than you having to go to the bar and take them yourself, it’s expected that you leave a tip with each round of drinks or at the end of the night.

Some people choose to leave a small tip with each drink that is delivered whilst others prefer to wait until the end of the night and leave a tip based on the total number of rounds.

If you’re going to the bar every time you want a drink and are not receiving table service then it’s not necessary to leave a tip after each drink.

That said, if you feel the service is exceptional or want to leave the bartender a tip then this is welcomed and appreciated highly appreciated.

This is usually done if the drink order is particularly complicated, perhaps there are multiple cocktails for the bartender to make or you are ordering multiple drinks at once.

Is It Disrespectful Not To Tip?

Not leaving a tip for a bartender or service industry worker that has provided you with good service could be seen as a failure to acknowledge their work in some countries.

In the United States, tipping is customary and expected most of the time for good service, therefore, failing to tip may be seen as rude.

Whilst tipping is voluntary and a matter of personal preference, in the US, it’s generally accepted that you should leave a tip for good service.

However, not tipping is not so much a sign of disrespect but more of a failure to acknowledge the bartender’s work.

It’s worth noting that many bartenders and service industry workers rely on tips to support themselves, so if you notice a bartender going above and beyond for you then leaving a tip is a way to show appreciation.

woman pouring beer
Photo by Vinicius “amnx” Amano

It’s better to leave some form of a tip than nothing at all, especially when the worker is providing you with a great experience.

In other countries such as the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, tipping is not as common and workers do not expect tips as much, but it’s still appreciated if you do tip.

Ultimately whether or not you tip is up to your personal preference and the level of service you’ve received, but always be mindful of the country and establishment you’re in.

Final Thoughts

I hope this post has helped answer the question “are you supposed to tip bartenders” and you now have a better understanding of how much to tip, when to tip, and the customs around doing so.

In general, it is customary to tip bartenders for their work, especially in the United States.

Leaving a tip is a show of appreciation for the hard work the bartender does and can be used as a way to ensure you receive exceptional service whilst in bars and nightclubs.

Whilst the amount you should tip varies and is a matter of personal preference, a good rule of thumb to go by is to tip around 15-20% of the total bill.

Thanks for learning more about the bartending industry today and I’ll catch you in the next one!