Should You Become a Bartender?

Deep down, who hasn’t had the dream of one day serving as a bartender? It sounds like getting paid to party, from pouring up the best cocktails to listening to everyone’s personal problems. The reality of being sober in a bar full of drunks maybe doesn’t sound as appealing, but it would be fun to try for a shift or two. 

If you’ve always been the ‘bartender of your friend group’ – aka the go-to drink mixer at all the pre-games – maybe it’s time to explore the reality. Bartending can be a very prosperous sidegig, with the average salary coming in at over $26,000. If you don’t know where to start, look no further. A new study by Hangover Heaven broke down pay and demographics of America’s bartenders by location, so you find the best place to jumpstart your new career endeavors. 

Head to Hawaii for the Cash 

Honolulu is the city that is found to be the best in terms of bartender pay. The average salary here is nearly double the national salary at about $44,000. Plus who wouldn’t want to get to work on a tropical island by the beach? This is the perfect occupation if you’re looking for a never-ending vacation. 

If you water isn’t your thing, you can stay on land and head to the Golden State of California. Five out of the top ten cities that pay bartenders the most are located in this state, so odds are good here. These cities include San Francisco, Fresno, San Jose, San Diego and Oakland, and all have an average bartending wage of $33,500 or above. 

Find Like-Minded People in Vegas 

It’s no surprise that Las Vegas is home to the most bartenders in America. In fact, they employ over 200% more bartenders than the average city. There’s a lot of hands needed to pour enough to supply Sin City every night, so if you’re hoping to meet others who share the same passions for mixology that you do, this may be a great place to start. 

What’s the right age? 

If you think you’re too old for bartending because it’s a stereotypically college-aged job, think again. The average age of a bartender is 35 years old – that’s over a decade after the typical graduation. It’s probably not too late for you to get into the business, so what are you waiting for? 

The Job is Far From Perfect 

Though all of these points may have been slowly convincing you to quit your day job, here’s a devil’s advocate. There are definite cons to this industry that should be pointed out before you decide to hop on board. 

Your paying client will often be belligerent drunks, and while yeah, some may be hilarious and fun to be around, it can get old very quickly. No matter how aggressive they get, you have to remember that you work for tips and must treat them with respect. On top of that, your hours will probably be less than ideal. No one goes to a bar between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., so get ready to work late nights and weekend shifts. 

If you do decide to pick up a shift behind the bar, good luck and get ready to pour!