How Much Do Bartenders Charge For Private Events?

how much do bartenders charge for private events
Joe | Last Updated: November 27, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

So you’ve got a private event coming up and are wondering how much it’s going to cost to hire a bartender. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place.

Whether it’s a wedding, birthday, or Christmas party, hiring a bartender can be a great idea as they can not only craft delicious cocktails but also ensure your guests leave with a memorable experience.

Nobody wants to be running around trying to serve drinks and ensure guests are having a good time at their own event, so hiring a bartender is a great way to take the stress away.

But the cost of hiring a bartender can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, so how much do bartenders charge for private events?

In this post, we’ll explore this question in-depth and give you the rundown on how to hire the right type of bartender and stay within your budget.

Let’s get to it…

How Much Do Bartenders Charge For Private Events?

The cost of hiring a bartender for a private event can vary depending on several factors, such as the location, the number of guests, the duration of the event, the level of experience of the bartender, and the services you require.

But generally, the hourly rate for a bartender ranges from $30 to $100, however, it can be higher for more experienced bartenders or for events that require specialized skills, such as mixology or flair bartending.

bartenders serving outside for an event
Photo by David Goldman

Some bartenders may charge a flat fee or a minimum number of hours, especially for smaller events. While other bartenders may require a minimum tip amount or a gratuity fee.

Keep in mind that the cost of hiring a bartender is just one aspect of the overall cost of providing drinks for your event. You will also need to consider the cost of ingredients, glassware, and any necessary permits or licenses.

But most private bartenders will bring their own comprehensive tool kit with them which will include their own cocktail shakers, bottle openers, etc.

>> Read more: How do bartenders get paid?

What Type Of Events May Require A Private Bartender?

Bartenders are typically hired for private events where alcohol is being served to allow the host to focus on having a good time and enjoying the event.

Whilst bartenders can be hired for any type of event, let’s take a look at some of the most common examples;

  1. Weddings Bartenders are often hired to serve drinks during wedding receptions. They can create signature cocktails, serve wine and beer, and ensure that guests have a great time.
  2. Corporate events – Many companies hire bartenders for corporate events, such as holiday parties or client receptions. Bartenders can help create a festive atmosphere and ensure that guests have a good time while networking.
  3. Private parties – If you’re hosting a party at home, a bartender can help take the pressure off of you by handling the drinks. They can mix up cocktails, serve wine and beer, and keep your guests entertained.
  4. Charity events – Many charity events serve alcohol, and bartenders can help ensure that everything runs smoothly. They can handle the drinks and make sure that guests are having a good time while supporting a good cause.
  5. Special occasions – Bartenders can be hired for a wide range of special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and graduation parties. They can help make your event memorable by creating customized cocktails and ensuring that your guests are well taken care of.

How Many Bartenders Do You Need For The Event?

Not all private events will require a bartender, so it’s important to take into account how many guests are planning to attend the event beforehand.

If you’re having a small garden party with a few friends, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to hire a private bartender, but if you’re planning on having lots of guests then it becomes a necessity.

bartender serving drinks outside
Image by zenjazzygeek

A good rule of thumb is to hire one bartender per 50 guests, but if you’re planning on serving cocktails, you may want to increase that number to factor in the time taken to create each drink.

Below is a table that outlines the number of bartenders you’ll need for the number of guests attending your event.

# of Bartenders# of Guests

Use the above as a guideline, but also remember that you don’t want the bartenders to be stretched and struggling to serve customers promptly as this will only slow down the event and frustrate guests.

It’s always better to be overstaffed rather than understaffed when it comes to hiring bartenders, especially during events such as weddings and birthdays that you want to be memorable.

>> Read more: 9 tips for bartending a private party

Hiring Specialized Bartenders

Not all bartenders are equal in skill, so it’s important to consider the type of bartender you want for the private event.

Do you want your neighbor’s daughter who briefly worked as a waitress for 2 months or a professional mixologist that can craft any drink under the sun and has the skills and knowledge to keep your guests entertained?

If you really want to impress your guests and leave a lasting impression, it may be an idea to hire a specialized bartender, but as you might expect these are often more expensive.

Let’s take a look at how much it may cost to hire specialized bartenders for your event.


As opposed to hiring regular bartenders, mixologists are skilled at creating unique and innovative cocktails, but they typically command a higher hourly rate than a standard bartender.

They may charge anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour, or more, depending on their experience and the complexity of the drinks they are preparing.

Mixologists have in-depth knowledge of the history and creation of cocktails which can keep your guests entertained for hours just by speaking with them.

But keep in mind that mixologists specialize in cocktails that can take a while to craft, so you’ll need more of them than regular bartenders to serve your guests swiftly.

I’d recommend doubling up the number of mixologists per guest if you do go down this route, so 1 mixologist per 25 guests.

Flair bartenders

Flair bartenders are nothing short of MIND-BLOWING.

They perform entertaining and acrobatic tricks while making drinks and are sure to dazzle and impress your guests.

These bartenders are highly specialized and therefore don’t come cheap, often charging between $75 – $200 or more per hour to work at private events.

Flair bartenders don’t just mix and serve drinks, they also put on a show with their tricks and flair which can be very impressive.

This can create a fun and exciting atmosphere for guests and add an extra level of entertainment to your event.

flair bartender performing infront of guests
Image by Thank You (23 Millions+) views

Again, as flair bartenders are essentially performing while serving, it’s important to consider the amount you would need to serve guests at your event.

That said, it’s common for event managers to hire 1 or 2 flair bartenders as well as regular bartenders as you wouldn’t need a whole fleet of flair bartenders to serve guests (although that would be an event to remember!)

Wrapping Up

As you can see, the rates for hiring bartenders for private events vary, but on average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $50 per hour for a standard bartender.

However, if you require specialized services, such as a mixologist or flair bartender, the hourly rate may increase to as much as $200 per hour or more.

When hiring a bartender for a private event, it’s important to discuss all costs upfront and ensure that you have a clear understanding of the total cost of their services before making any commitments.

You’ll also want to consider the additional cost of supplies, such as glassware and ingredients as these can bump up the cost too.

So if you want an event that is going to seriously impress your guests and take the stress away, hiring a bartender to serve and entertain guests is one of the best ways to do so.

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