Is Bartending A Good Side Job? – Useful Guide

is bartending a good side 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.

The popularity of side jobs is trending upward worldwide, especially in the United States. This is mainly due to low wage growth and the rising cost of living.

People are now looking for other methods to make money aside from their day job, and who can blame them?

Starting a side hustle or applying for a weekend job is sounding more and more appealing to the masses as inflation is continuing to rise, which is why bartending comes front of mind for many to earn some extra cash.

Today, we’re going to answer a question that many side hustlers and those looking to earn extra money are eager to learn more about. “Is bartending a good side job?”

YES, bartending is A GREAT side job. It is easy to get into and there’s an abundance of jobs available in most cities. It can be incredibly fun and put A LOT of extra cash in your back pocket, especially when tips are included!

Let’s get into it…

Is Bartending Good As A Side Job?

As side jobs gain popularity in the US, so does bartending and it’s easy to see why. Bartending is a role that doesn’t require any fancy qualifications to get into and has the potential to earn you a lot of money.

Not only that but working in a busy bar is enjoyable for a lot of people. Meeting new friends, developing social skills, and learning the difference between a Pornstar Martini and a Strawberry Daquiri comes in handy!

A side job by definition is a side hustle or gig that can be worked as an additional job to their primary job in order to earn extra money and supplement their income.

is bartending a good side job
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Given that bartending work is most required on weekends and after normal working hours, this makes it an excellent side job that most people can run alongside their main job.

It won’t be easy and will require a lot of energy to be a bartender on the side, but depending on the bar you work in and your skills, bartending can be an excellent way to supplement your income and earn extra cash.

Why Is Bartending A Good Side Job?

People all around the world choose to bartend as their side gig as it offers flexible working on weekends and evenings as well as the fact that it’s easy to get into.

The required for bartending is usually between 6pm – 2am and on weekends which means this can be run alongside your full-time job with no crossover.

Granted, it won’t be easy and you’ll most likely be tired but once you get the hang of it you’ll have a great side job and be pulling in extra money you need.

You don’t need qualifications or prior experience to be a great bartender. So long as you are an effective communicator, hard-working, and can manage stress the rest of the role is easy.

Pulling pints and mixing cocktails can be learned very quickly, which is why bartending is the perfect side job as you don’t need a degree or tons of experience.

However, if you do have some experience then this is a huge advantage for bartending roles. For example, if in your day job, you work in customer services or sales then you’re already off to a flying start.

You already know how to deal with people and the skills required in bartending are transferable. Those who have worked or currently do work in customer-facing roles will walk into most bartending roles easily.

Bartending roles are also readily available in most cities throughout the US, there’s always a busy uptown bar looking to hire new staff.

Simply go to your preferred online job board and type in “bartending” and you’ll likely see multiple options that are suitable to work around primary jobs.

If you enjoy meeting new people, having fun, and listening to music then you’ll LOVE bartending.

Can You Make Good Money As A Bartender?

OK now, let’s get into the most important part of any side job, how much money can you expect to make as a bartender?

The average hourly pay for a bartender in the United States is between $12.50 – $16.10 per hour. This can vary quite a lot depending on the type of bar and location of the bar, as well as how business is going.

It’s important to keep in mind that these averages DO NOT include tips, which is often where the bulk of a bartender’s money comes from.

Making $150 per shift in tips is average in most bars, and this can be increased significantly depending on your people skills, knowledge of drinks, and speed.

Moneypenny states that the average service fee in the US is 15%, but some states are more generous than others when it comes to tipping.

New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Colorado are all excellent tippers at around the 20% mark, whereas other states like Kansas, Utah, Washington, Kentucky, and Alabama are all averaging at around 17.5% in tips.

Photo by form PxHere

The state you work in plays a role in how much you can expect to make in tips, but if you’re outside of the US you can still expect to make a healthy amount in tips if you are a good bartender.

That said, those looking to bartend outside of the US will not make as much in tips as those in the US. Tipping in the US is known as gratuity and is very much customary in most circumstances.

Whereas in the UK, Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia, and Thailand don’t tip very well, bartending as a side job is not as lucrative in these countries.

Is Bar Work Flexible Around A Full-Time Job?

Bartending is a great side job as it is flexible around most full-time jobs and offers consistent and steady pay.

Work hours in bartending are very flexible with many bars offering part-time work, weekend work, and even full-time work if preferred.

Most bars don’t get busy with customers until around 6 – 7pm on weekdays, but on weekends, the bulk of hours can be made up.

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are the busiest in bars with people looking to unwind and socialize with friends after a busy week at work. I’m sure you know the feeling.

This makes bartending as a side job great so long as you get weekends off from your primary job. Most people who bartend as a side gig prefer to do long hours on the weekends and the odd late shift during the week.

This allows them to earn the extra money they need on the weekend without being completely exhausted from working two jobs every day during the week.

Flexible working is very much a part of bartending so it’s definitely worth applying and speaking with management about the hours you would be able to work.

Considerations Before Applying To Be A Bartender

Whilst bartending is a great industry to get into and is perfect for those looking for a side job, it’s not for everyone.

Some people are simply not cut out to be bartenders and just do not enjoy the work, which is fine – there is plenty of other lucrative side hustles out there that may be more suited to you.

Below are some considerations to take in mind before you apply for a bartending role:

  • Can you work nights and weekends?
  • Do you enjoy working with people?
  • Are you a quick learner?
  • Are you OK with cleaning duties and washing glasses?
  • Do you work well under pressure?
  • Are you a hard worker?
  • Are you a positive person that is good to work with?

If you answered yes to most of the above questions then you’ll likely fit right in and be a great bartender.

Give it a shot! What’s the worst that can happen?

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a clear answer to “is bartending a good side job” and have a better understanding of whether this is the right side gig for you.

I would urge you to give bartending a go if you’re thinking about it. I’ve worked in bars for many years and thoroughly enjoy it.

The work is not as stressful as most corporate jobs and can pay very well, especially in the US. If you enjoy meeting new people and networking then I would encourage you to give it a shot.

More and more people are looking to bartend as a side gig and there’s good reason for it. Flexible work, great tips, and having fun at work are a dream, and bartending offers that.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and learn more about bartending as a side job.

Catch you in the next one!

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