Do Bartenders Get Benefits? (Useful Resource)

do bartenders get benefits
Joe | Last Updated: November 24, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

If you’re thinking of transitioning into the world of bartending you’ll likely have a lot of questions that need answering before you make the jump, including “do bartenders get benefits?”

Employee benefits can include health insurance, dental coverage, life insurance, 401(k), and lots more depending on the company and industry standards.

They’re an important part of being an employee and a big reason why lots of people change jobs every single year, a good benefits package can make all the difference and be the icing on the cake to a healthy salary.

Simply put, bartenders often DO receive benefits, but it depends on the employer and the specific job. Some bartenders working for large establishments will likely receive benefits such as health coverage, paid time off, and retirement plans, whilst other smaller establishments may not offer their employees this luxury.

Let’s take a closer look…

Do Bartenders Get Benefits?

Whether or not a bartender receives benefits is down to their employer which is why it’s always important to carefully read the terms of employment before accepting any job offer.

Some bars offer excellent benefit packages such as full health and dental coverage as well as excellent pension schemes, whilst other establishments may offer a very basic benefits package or none at all.

do bartenders get benefits
Photo by Taylor Friehl

In the US, you’re lucky if you find an establishment that offers you a strong benefits package as it’s becoming common for bars to not offer any package at all.

Whist bartenders can make great money through their salary and tips, it’s important to note that bartending benefits packages are usually not as good as other industries.

What Benefits Can Bartenders Get?

Now that we’ve outlined the fact that not all bartenders will be lucky enough to receive benefits and that it depends largely on the establishment they work in, let’s look at some of the potential benefits bartenders may get.

Health insurance

According to mployeradvisor, the percentage of restaurant and bar employers that receive medical insurance as part of their benefits package is 35%.

Similarly, the percentage of restaurant and bar employers that offer life insurance is a mere 16%.

As you can see, health insurance is rare in the bartending industry and if you find a bar that does offer this in their benefits package then it’s a sign of an employer that looks after their employees.

Dental cover

Dental coverage can sometimes come in benefits packages alongside health insurance, but having the two is quite rare and doesn’t happen often in the bar and nightclub sector.

This type of insurance is a great perk of being an employee and allows dental check-ups, scales, and polishes as well as treatments such as fillings and root canals all to be covered by the employer.

Retirement benefits

Some establishments may offer attractive retirement benefits such as a 401(k) plan and a great pension scheme.

This helps attract the best talent in the industry and allows bartenders to set themselves up for the future by working for a company that offers this benefit.

Employee discount

Lots of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs will offer their employees a discount for eating or drinking in the establishment.

If you’re a big drinker or enjoy going out for meals on a weekend this may be attractive to you, especially if the establishment is fancy and serves great food and drinks.

Some bartenders are entitled to paid time off which often includes vacation days, sick leave, and personal days.

Nobody wants to work 24/7, so having paid time off is a benefit that may enjoy, including bartenders.


A lot of bartending roles offer flexible work schedules which can be great for those who have a family or other commitments.

It’s a HUGE perk of working in the industry and depending on the establishment may mean that you can work time back another day if you need to leave early.

Do All Bartenders Get Benefits?

It’s important to be aware that not all bartenders get benefits, as the availability of benefits depends on the establishment and the employer.

Some bartenders who work freelance will not get any benefits at all, and whilst they can potentially earn more money than an employee bartender they do not receive any benefits package.

The good news is that lots of bartenders DO receive benefits such as paid time off, employee discounts, and a flexible work schedule.

As mentioned above, the percentage of employers that offer their staff health and dental coverage is slim, but if you do find a workplace that offers this then it can make all the difference.

If you’re an experienced bartender that is specialized, perhaps a flair bartender then you can be quite picky with the employer that you work for.

This means if you have the skills to back it up, you can choose to work for the company that offers you the best benefits package.

Why Benefits Are Important For Bartenders

Benefits are incredibly important for all employees, not just bartenders. They can improve the employee’s overall financial and physical well-being and give them a sense of being valued by their employer.

In the US, having health and dental insurance is HUGE and can save employees thousands which is why many people will change jobs for these benefits alone.

Benefits such as retirement plans and 401(k)s can help bartenders plan for the future, and benefits such as flexibility and paid leave can help them manage stress and their work-life balance.

Benefits play a critical role in the overall happiness of bartenders and workers in general, which in turn can contribute to the success of the business.

Offering extensive benefits packages helps employers attract top talent and in turn, these employees are likely to stay with the company for a long time as they are being looked after.

How To Get Benefits As A Bartender

So how does a bartender go about ensuring they get the best benefits package possible?

Firstly, it’s a good idea to speak with the employer to see if they have a benefits package in place, but you’ll also want to negotiate for benefits as part of your contract.

However, it’s important to remember that not all employers will offer benefits at all, so check the job description beforehand as you wouldn’t want to tarnish your chances of success if they do not offer any package.

Checking with industry organizations is also a good way of potentially receiving benefits. Some trade unions offer benefits to their members which may include bartenders.

do bartenders get benefits
Photo by Hybrid Storytellers

Joining an industry organization may be a way of securing benefits such as health and dental insurance as well as retirement plans.

If you’re a self-employed bartender, you may be able to access benefits through a freelancers union, but keep in mind that the self-employed bartending route requires a lot more work than being an employee.

Ultimately, it’s wise to check with your employer beforehand if they offer a benefits package and try to negotiate to ensure you get the best package possible before signing the contract.

Final Thoughts

As a whole, the availability of a benefits package to bartenders varies widely depending on the establishment and the terms of the bartender’s employment.

Some employers offer excellent benefits packages which can be highly attractive to bartenders, whilst other bartending roles may offer no benefits package at all.

If you’re an experienced bartender, I recommend that you take your time when applying for roles and ensure you negotiate the benefits package with your employer before signing the deal.

A good benefits package can make all the difference when bartending and can save you a lot of money and stress in the future.

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