Is Being A Bartender Worth It? (Honest Guide)

is being a bartender worth it
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 bartending industry is one that has bounced back incredibly well since the 2020 pandemic, and it’s now growing on an upward trajectory that is seeing more bartender jobs become available all around the globe

With over 62,000 registered bars in the United States alone, the bar and nightclub industry is worth an estimated $28.6 billion in 2022, which is an increase of 14.1% since 2021.

Bartending is a role that more and more people are looking to get into, especially post-pandemic.

Employees now want more flexible work conditions, better pay, and a lifestyle that they’re happy with.

Today, we’re going to answer a question that often comes up when discussing the bartending industry, especially among those looking to get into a bartending role. “Is being a bartender worth it?”

Yes, bartending is most definitely worth it. It’s a role that is packed full of exciting experiences and can help develop skills that may have been lacking before taking on the role.

Let’s take a closer look…

Is Being A Bartender Truly Worth It?

If you’re considering a new role in the bartending industry then I would urge you to go for it. Bartending is definitely worth it and you’ll gain experience and skills that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

Bartenders meet people from all walks of life and quickly learn how to connect with people no matter their background.

It’s literally a life hack!

Learning to mix drinks, change barrels and run a busy bar is great, but where you’ll really get your money’s worth is in the interpersonal skills you’ll develop during your time as a bartender.

is being a bartender worth it
Photo by natasha t on Unsplash

After only a short while as a bartender, you’ll find that your confidence increases, your communication skills go through the roof and you become more creative than ever before.

This can really enhance your life and often bartenders meet life-long partners, gain new friends and grow into the social butterflies they were always meant to be.

Why Being A Bartender Is Totally Worth It

It’s important to note that not all bars are created equal. Some are much better places to work than others, so it’s important that you find the right bar to work in before embarking on your bartending venture.

When you do find a bar that you think is the right fit for you, it’s a breath of fresh air and you will likely fall in love with the bartending profession.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why bartending is totally worth it.

Skills Developed

Working as a bartender can learn you so many important skills that it sets you up incredibly well for the rest of your career and also enhances your personal life.

You’ll learn how to work effectively as part of a team, how to communicate with all different types of customers, and how to problem-solve quickly.

Bartenders work under high pressure so you’ll learn how to manage stress and be able to prioritize workloads to keep the bar running smoothly.

These are just some of the many skills that bartenders learn and become extremely good at, which transfer over into all areas of life and help bartenders become well-rounded individuals.


The lifestyle of a bartender is a hectic one. They work late into the early hours of the morning and work long shifts on evenings and weekends.

Yep, expect to work every single weekend and most evenings during the week if you plan on becoming a bartender.

It’s certainly not for everyone, but the social aspect is why lots of people come to bartending to escape their mundane lives for a period of time and liven things up.

Bartending certainly does that and can spice up your life in more ways than one. Whilst the work is undoubtedly tiring, demanding and difficult at times, the lifestyle makes it all worth it for those looking for some fun whilst also making a living.

Some people choose to get into bartending for a short amount of time for exactly that. They get bored of the office-job lifestyle and want to mix it up. Who can blame them?

If this is you, then I have no doubts that you’ll enjoy bartending, even if it is for a short amount of time to take a break from your regular routine.


The reason we all go to work every day is for money, let’s not beat around the bush. Yes, some of us as passionate about our jobs and preach it to the heavens, but we wouldn’t do it if we weren’t being paid.

Bartending is no different. Whilst the job is exciting and offers a flexible routine and lifestyle, it also pays surprisingly well for those that become good.

bartender with three women
Image by Victoria Model from Pixabay

Tips in the bartending world are everything, and it’s not uncommon for bartenders to double, triple, or even quadruple their salary through tips alone.

Extroverted, social bartenders who can strike up engaging conversations with customers make excellent tips, especially in busy up-town bars.

The money side of bartending alone can make it worth it for a lot of individuals and everything else becomes the icing on the cake.

Who Will Not Enjoy Being A Bartender

Whilst this may sound like the perfect job for some, there’s no denying that some people are simply not cut out for bartending and find it very hard to succeed in the role.

Bartending requires someone that is hard-working, committed, great at conversation, and not afraid to get their hands dirty changing barrels and cleaning the bar.

If you’re neither of the above then you may struggle to make it in bartending. Many people think that they can cut it but quickly realize after a couple of weeks that they are not cut out for the role.

Below are some questions to ask yourself before pursuing a bartending position.

  • Do you have good situational awareness?
  • Are you OK with an unsociable work schedule?
  • Do you have a family?
  • Are you an effective communicator?
  • Are you physical enough to handle bartending duties?
  • Do you enjoy serving others or have customer service experience?
  • Are you OK with getting your hands dirty?
  • Can you work well under pressure and manage stress effectively?

My Personal Thoughts On Bartending

I have worked in the bartending industry for over a decade and genuinely LOVE the work. I’ve always had a strong passion for providing service to others and enjoy networking with new people from all over the world.

The role itself is a demanding one and requires a lot of commitment, especially if you’re trying to raise a family, live a healthy lifestyle, and keep in touch with friends.

This can make it difficult for people to stick to for long periods as it’s often a completely different lifestyle from what they have been used to.

That said, those who do stick around can find true meaning in what they do, and those who make it to the top of the bartending world may find themselves earning excellent money all whilst loving the work they do.

I always urge people to give it a go. The number of people I’ve seen give bartending a shot and come to find that they really enjoy the role and make a career out of it is astronomical.

Ultimately, I do believe bartending is worth it. Even if you do it for a couple of months to give it a try, the skills you’ll learn are invaluable and will help you out in more ways than one.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a clear answer to “is being a bartender worth it” and have a better understanding of what the benefits of being a bartender are.

Being a bartender can be a rewarding career for those who enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, interacting with people, and mixing drinks. It can also provide opportunities for career advancement and the potential for high earnings.

However, it is important to consider the potential challenges and long hours that come with the job.

Overall, whether or not being a bartender is worth it ultimately depends on an individual’s personal priorities and interests.

Give it a go! What have you got to lose?

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