Is Bartending A Good Job? (Helpful Guide)

is bartending a good job
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’ve recently found yourself contemplating a career change and are looking for something new and exciting, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Around 2.5% of workers – around 4 million – switched jobs on average each month from January to March in 2022.

This share is the equivalent of an annual turnover of 30% of workers – nearly 50 million.

There are LOTS of people looking to change jobs right now and for good reason, the cost of living is going up, wages are stagnant and people just want a little more fun in their lives, who can blame them?

Bartending is a role that offers flexibility and the potential to earn great money all whilst having fun and meeting new people.

In this post, we’re going to answer a common question that many looking to get into the industry are keen to learn the answer to. “Is bartending a good job?”

Yes, bartending is a great job, and those who are good at it can find themselves in high-paying, rewarding jobs that they look forward to. It’s fun, incredibly social, and allows you to travel the world. But it’s also hard work and can be physically and mentally exhausting at times.

Let’s get into it…

Is Bartending A Good Job?

A good job is a position that meets all of your basic needs and provides you with all of the necessary tools to grow and excel in the position.

Good jobs motivate you to do your work as best you can all whilst paying well and being in an environment where the employees are happy to be there.

Bartending certainly fits the definition of a good job, and in my experience of over 10+ years in the industry, it definitely is. The lifestyle you get from bartending is like no other, it’s one of the only jobs where you actually look forward to going to work.

is bartending a good job
Image by shooterbenjamin

It’s an expansive career choice that can be great money if you become good at it, and it’ll prove highly valuable to you as your social skills and communication become better each and every shift.

This translates to more friends, better dating life, and more confidence in the real world.

I truly don’t think I would be half as confident as I am today if I hadn’t spent a long period in the bartending industry.

Why Is Bartending A Good Job?

Bartending is a good job because it pays well enough to cover all of your basic needs and some whilst offering flexibility and a fun and exciting place to work.

It’s a role like no other and if you are someone who finds passion in providing service, your time as a bartender will fly and you’ll love meeting new people and building connections with customers.

Successful bartenders shine bright among the rest and become the life of the bar, they turn first-time customers into regulars through their personality and conversation all whilst having fun and creating an amazing atmosphere.

Furthermore, bartending is a skill that once perfected is valuable all over the world and allows the individual to travel and explore the world without ever finding it difficult to find a job.

You’ll meet a lot of interesting people whilst bartending and some may lead to bigger and better opportunities, perhaps working in a bigger bar and earning more money.

Working behind a bar is like working in a theatre which allows your creativity to flow through crafting your own atmosphere and builds your self-confidence at a rapid pace.

I’ve seen shy, timid bartenders quickly turn into conversational masters in a matter of months while working a busy bar.

Over time, bartenders learn how to deal with every type of customer and become extremely confident while doing so.

This not only helps develop the individual in their personal life but can lead them to new and exciting opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise had if they had not worked as a bartender.

Even those who don’t enjoy bartenders still benefit from developing their skills behind the bar and often transition into sales and other customer service-type roles that they are more suited to.

Do Bartenders Get A Lot Of Money?

Yes, bartenders do make good money, but their pay varies based on their location, tips structure, and the bar they work in. We looked at numerous job boards and found that the average bartender in the US earns $12.91 per hour.

This makes the average salary of a bartender in the United States $24,787.20 per year, but keep in mind that this number does not include tips, and this is where the majority of a bartender’s pay will be made up.

On average, a bartender’s salary with tips is $60,787.20 assuming that they make $12.91 per hour and make on average $150 in tips per shift.

Some bartenders will of course make more than this, but some will make less.

A bartender’s experience, the state they live in, and how business is going in the bar they work in play a big role in how much take-home pay they will make.

Photo by Sam Dan Truong

Sadly, gender still plays a big role in bartending. Young, female bartenders will make A LOT more in tips than a middle-aged average-looking man, especially in a busy uptown bar.

The state in which the bartender works also has a big impact, with some states in the US paying $10 per hour and others paying up to $17 per hour for a bartender.

There are a lot of variables to consider when it comes to the amount of money a bartender can earn, but in general, bartenders do make good money and have the potential to earn GREAT money if they become successful in the role.

>>Read more: How much do bartenders in Las Vegas make?

What Are The Disadvantages Of Bartending?

Bartending isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and I certainly don’t want to portray it as that.

The role can be both physically and mentally exhausting at times and is not for the faint-hearted.

One of the biggest disadvantages of choosing bartending as a career is that you’ll often have to work nights and weekends, likely every week.

Bars and other alcohol-serving establishments are at their busiest on weekends, so this is when they need all hands on deck to be able to serve customers and make as much money as possible.

It’s pretty much a given that you’ll work evenings and weekends in bartending which can lead to an unfavorable lifestyle for some, as well as unhealthy habits and being tired all of the time.

A poor sleep schedule, bad diet, and lack of a social life outside the bar can become the norm quickly, and those that are not expecting this may not enjoy it.

Another disadvantage of bartending is how physical it can be at times. Bartenders need to have some strength about them to be able to change barrels and be on their feet all day.

There’s quite literally no sitting down in bartending, being on your feet for the whole shift is very normal and this can be tiring for some.

Part of the bartender’s role is also to take part in cleaning duties to help tidy the bar before they close for the evening.

This is a disadvantage that many don’t anticipate and find frustrating as all they want to do after a long shift is go home, but the bar needs to be thoroughly cleaned beforehand.

Pros & Cons of Bartending

Bartending is a role that requires grit, determination, and a passion for service. Not everyone is cut out to be a bartender and that’s OK.

Some people find that after 2 weeks on the job, they simply can’t do it anymore and it’s not what they expected.

Image by Anil sharma

By reading this post I hope to provide you with a better understanding of what to expect if you do choose to bartend as your next career path

Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of bartending:


  • Fun lifestyle
  • Good money
  • Endless opportunities
  • Travel the world
  • Meet new people
  • Develop confidence and social skills
  • Creative outlet through music
  • Making others happy and creating a fun atmosphere


  • Cleaning duties
  • Long, tiring hours
  • Working evenings and weekends
  • Getting your hands dirty
  • Unsociable lifestyle

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve answered “is bartending a good job” I hope you have a better understanding of the role and what it entails.

Bartending is certainly a good job that offers many benefits that you will not find anywhere else. If you believe you’re the right fit for bartending then I urge you to give it a go.

It’s a lucrative career for those that are a suitable fit and every shift is different and exciting. You’ll meet a ton of new people who may become friends, romantic partners, or even business partners.

The opportunities are endless in bartending and the fun and lifestyle is one that is highly sought after in today’s world. In my eyes, it’s much more exciting than being chained to a desk in an office all day.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this post and have learned something new about bartending today.

Catch you in the next one!

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