HOW MUCH DO BARTENDERS MAKE?
As I have mentioned in previous articles, bartending can be very lucrative. I have had years in which I have made $100,000+. Is this common? Well, no. It is quite uncommon unfortunately. But, making good money is VERY doable. If you want a chance to make a large amount of money you will need to bartend in a big city.
In reality, the only real places to make a large amount of money bartending, in the US, would be Las Vegas, New York, LA (maybe) and Chicago (maybe). In these cities, a bartender can make serious cash at a nightclub or a fine dinning restaurant.
BARTENDING SALARIES IN GENERAL
Let’s take a look at bartending, in the US, on average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average bartender salary in 2013, was $21,770. This is, of course, as reported to the IRS by bartenders themselves. In reality, bartenders do make more, because, they work on tips. Even though they are supposed to, many bartenders do not claim all of their cash tips on their taxes.
BARTENDING SALARY STATE-BY-STATE
I could hit you with salary statistics from all over the country, state by state, but I want to keep this article simple. Here is the best way to explain a bartender’s salary: IT WIDELY VARIES. It varies for many reasons: the type of restaurant/bar/lounge, the clientele, the tipping standards of that specific area, and the wealth of the city itself are some of the reasons a bartender’s salary varies.
Bartending is not a salaried position in which it is easy to predict or assign a projected salary to a given area of the country. It’s best to think of it like this: The bigger the city you work in, and the higher the level of the establishment that employs you; the more money you will make (usually – not always).
If you are working 6 nights a week, at a busy, expensive restaurant in Manhattan, New York, you could have potential to make $65,000 to $95,000 in a year. This is because you are getting a gratuity (tip) percentage on tabs that are very high. If you are working at a small, dive bar in a 5,000 person town in Nebraska, you will likely make considerably less.
SO WHAT’S THE TAKE-AWAY
If bartending is a career choice for you, I highly recommend you go to a big city. The likelihood of you making a LARGE amount of money is much higher in a major city. If bartending is not a career for you, find an establishment in your area that either has high volume (very busy) or has affluent clientele, or both (this would be ideal).
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