If you’ve always thought about becoming a bartender or you’ve wanted to become a bartender but you’re just not serious enough about it yet, in this article I’m gonna share with you nine reasons that just might inspire you enough to get you off your ass to do something about it!
So I’m not going to mess around with a big intro here today. If you are seriously interested in not just day dreaming about becoming a bartender, but you are truly thinking about it, I’m going to give you all the reasons you need. Let’s do it.
1. The Money, Baby!
Let’s not beat around the bush here. I mean isn’t this why we work, to make money? And bartending is one of the highest paid jobs you can have without an actual college degree. It’s insane to think that with a little bartender training and a good plan that you could essentially get a job bartending within a month. Think about it, you could be slinging drinks and making $25-$50 per hour in tips alone, which means you would have enough time and money to go on vacation whenever you wanted, and buy really cool things. I’m talking cash in your pocket immediately, money to burn. Ok, maybe not money to burn, but enough money to make you really really happy.
How Much do Bartenders Make?
There are varying levels of tips you can make based on where you work and the shifts that you are given. I have personally been a bartender in many establishments from a busy corporate restaurant making $80k a year to a piano bar making $120K a year. You can make great money in a variety of places (think dive bar, country club, golf course, restaurants, clubs) depending on the shifts you are given. With some knowledge and proper training you could be a kick-ass bartender in no time and literally cashing in on the big bucks while having fun and meeting tons of people.
Now, this in no way means that you’re going to make $120K per year at your first job. As I already mentioned, how much money you make can vary depending on which area of the country you live in (or which area of the world you live in), as well as what type of bar you work in. In addition, I’ve only ever worked in bars in the U.S. so I am not making promises outside the U.S. because tipping policies are often completely different.
With that said, it is not uncommon for bartenders to make $20 – $25 per hour in tips alone, on top of their hourly wage, at the first job they work. Then after you gain more experience, you can level up and make more money.
Who the Hell Am I?
Oh yeah, by the way, my name is Dave Allred (a.k.a. TheRealBarman to my youtube followers) and I have over 30 years in the industry and have held almost every position there is in a restaurant/bar. For 18 of those years I was a bartender and I loved what I did. I would get asked all the time for help on breaking into the industry, so I finally put together my bartending course about 10 years ago.
Since then, I have helped literally thousands of my student get jobs bartending in under 21 days. It’s definitely possible and the hundreds of emails I get from my students each month telling me (I love getting these emails by the way) how they landed a job and are bartending full time is proof just how easy it is. Click below if you’d like to check out my #1 rated Bartending Course. If you have ever wanted to take Bartending Classes online than this is a proven way to do it in order to actually land a job bartending. For how to become a bartender with no experience click the button below. You can also check out my online reviews here: https://therealbarman.com/the-realbarcourse-reviews/
Now, if you look up other articles on the internet on How Much Do Bartenders Make, you will get a much lower number than what I am saying is real money in your pocket. This is because the numbers they are showing you are based on tax returns or what is posted from the employers. Mostly it is considered your wages. Truth is most of the money you make will be cash. And cash is King. It will be up to you to report the cash you make each night on your taxes. I have known people who report every single cent (which I always did) and I know others who “forget” how much cash they actually made. But in the end it looks something like this:
You worked a Saturday night shift in a bar. You were there for 8 hours. In California minimum wage is $15 (at the time of this article) so you made $120 gross that day. You also made some cash and credit card tips. Credit card tips automatically will have taxes deducted from your paycheck. You will report to your employer how much cash you made that night. The total in tips was $350. So in all, you made $470 gross in one night bartending. That’s pretty good $$. Once you have experience, you can move up to places where bartenders make even more money. It’s not uncommon to walk with $1,000 on a weekend night if you get into the right spot.
I wrote another blog post on bartender salary here. Click the link if you’d like more info on average bartender salary. Moving on…
2. The People You Meet
To state the obvious, bartending is a very social job. With that said, you don’t necessarily have to be a social butterfly, but if you are an outgoing person, you will meet lots of people. I do get asked often, “Can I bartend if I am shy,” and lucky for you, I did a whole youtube video on it and you can catch in on my channel here. Quick answer to that question is, hell yeah. Don’t let that stop you. It will help break you out of your shell and change your life for the better.
Not only will you meet a lot of interesting people from all walks of life but for some reason people love bartenders. I mean really love them. You end up seeing the same people come into your bars and they become your “regulars”. These are the beloved guests who are loyal to you, and only you, and they actually come to the bar to get drinks from YOU. These regulars tip you WELL and often give you bonus tips during Holidays (I would get upwards of $1,000 tips from several regulars during Christmastime).
The Bartender Perks!
I used to bartend in the San Francisco Bay Area and my regulars would offer me so many perks, tickets to Giants games, Warrior games, A’s and Niners games. I would get box seats at concerts, gym memberships, invitations to high class parties. One regular allowed me to stay in his mansion in North Lake Tahoe. This house was massive and I stayed for free. In addition, many regulars would offer me jobs. They would actually try and get me to come work for them. Eventually I started my own business, Bar Patrol and I had regulars who offered to invest in my business. The people you meet will end up being friends and will make your job more fun and fun is good.
So of course while money is a motivator, the people you meet can be even more valuable. Therefore reason number 3 becomes even more important…
3. The Social Skills
I know this sounds like a lame reason to become a bartender, but it might be the most important one in the long run. And it doesn’t need to be “dinner party revelry” either. I’m talking about just showing up to work every day and just talking with people casually. And for those of you who are painfully shy or introverted, I was one of the most painfully shy and introverted people you’ve ever known. Not anymore luckily, but man was I ever shy in high school. In fact, in college, I had three separate people who got to know me and told me “I used to think you were an asshole in high school and now I realize you aren’t”.
The truth is, I simply didn’t know what to say because I had no social skills, so they just assumed that I thought I was too cool for school. Not true though. I simply put all my energy into sports. Today I credit my years of bartending for bringing me out of my shell.
The Guests Come to You
The reason it’s so easy to talk to people as a bartender is because you don’t have to approach anyone, because the guests come to you. All you have to do is ask them what they want to drink and how’s his/her day going? Just ask them a few questions and now they’re gonna reciprocate and ask you questions. See that? Now you have a conversation going. It’s so simple, and it will help you grow socially more than you ever thought possible.
Now, if you already consider yourself a social butterfly, then you can jump right in and do what you do best: be social. Every night can turn into one big party. It’s a lot of fun.
The other great thing about working as a bartender is you usually have a pretty big staff you are working with and you will all have similar things in common, which means you will make new friends. The bar industry loves to have fun, and a lot of nights you will end up going out with your work crew more often than your other friends.
4. The Rock Star Lifestyle
Now, I’m not going to be so bold as to say that we’re rock stars. Probably. There are enough God complex bartenders out there to make me want to shove a sharpened number-two pencil through my esophagus. But it’s definitely a rock star lifestyle when you consider the amount of alcohol and partying going on around you. And the fact that you’re right there in the middle of it facilitating it, all the people are looking to you to help make their night a success. And with all eyes on you it’s like you’re on stage giving a performance of sorts. This can often lead to people becoming attracted to and even wanting to hook up with a bartender.
I have worked in many bars and some encourage their bartenders to drink while others don’t. I never was big on drinking when I bartended, but was often bought shots from customers as they wanted me to join the party. However, I wasn’t into it so I would either poor myself a shot of water or tea so I could fake the shot. I have worked with some bartenders who were drinking so much on the job, that the actual job of bartending wouldn’t get done, which meant that I had to pick up the slack and so it’s all about balance.
Personally, I believe it is a horrible idea to have bartenders drink on the job, and in my bar I did not allow it. There are a truckload of liability dangers in allowing the staff to drink. You’ll need to feel this one out on your own though if you become a bartender and see if your establishment allows it or not.
Now, the fact that so many people want to hook up with a bartender leads me to reason number 5…
5. You Instantly Become More Appealing
I know this sounds ridiculous, but it is absolutely true. You instantly become 50% more attractive when you step behind the bar. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen an average or even unattractive bartender go home with a hottie.
I’m not trying to be shallow or superficial here. It’s just a fact of life that bartenders are the center of attention. They’re skilled and people love to be apart of the social scene, especially around the person who gets a lot of attention. It raises the level of unattainability. Think about some of the people on stage out there who could hook up whenever they want despite their looks.
People like Mick Jagger or Kid Rock or SIA or Howard Stern. These are all people I love by the way. The music and entertainment they have given over the years is unbelievable, so I’m not trying to be mean, but I think it could be agreed as a general consensus that these aren’t classically good-looking people. However, their rockstar status helps them get further in life. And in the bedroom.
Ok, so maybe getting laid is not your top priority in life. And that’s fine, but I think you would agree that being more attractive is advantageous. Do you have to be attractive to become a bartender? Shit no. But I guarantee that you will become more attractive once you’re behind that bar.
Let’s move on to something less cosmetic.
6. You can Bartend Anywhere
The fact of the matter is, there are hundreds of thousands of bars worldwide and if you have some experience you can travel around and land a job just about anywhere. I have a few bartender friends who are doing exactly that and there’s very few professions in the world where you can just travel around, land a job work for six months and then move on to the next place. Like a drifter in an old western movie. If I had it to do all over again this is exactly what I would do. Being a bartender is a great way to see the world while making a lot of money at the same time.
7. It’s Not A Desk Job
This sort of piggybacks off #6 because if there’s one thing that bar and restaurant industry people hate, it’s working 9-5, crammed in a cubicle, crunching numbers and working on reports. We need to be up and moving. We stay up late, we sleep late, we watch reruns of The Office. The partying lifestyle is what we’re all about, not to mention lots of cash. Sure an office job is more normal and respected, but that’s precisely why we don’t like it.
In addition, despite what many people think, you don’t need a bartending license or certificate to become a bartender. A bartending certificate is worth squat to bar managers. What this means is that you don’t need four years of education like most people in order to make great money. Just follow the plan: learn the skills, hit the streets, get hired.
8. The Friendships
Speaking of people with normal jobs, you may think you have good friends where you work now, but you have no idea the definition of workplace friends until you work in a bar. I’m not sure if it’s the alcohol they’re drinking after their shift, or because they go out to other bars after their shift. Or because the alcohol is the only way to get to that conversation when you say, “I love you, man! I love you more than anything, man”.
Not sure, but whatever it is, the bar and restaurant industry people are closer than any other industry I’ve ever seen. It’s because they’re working in an environment where it’s fun and it just attaches itself to you and everyone around you. I compare it similarly to being in a fraternity or sorority. You have common goals and ideals and it just works. Many of these people will become lifelong friends.
9. The Things You’ll See. Oh Lordy, The Things You’ll See
Dr. Seuss wrote his classic story, Oh The Places You’ll Go. If he were to write the bar version it would be, Oh The Things You’ll See. This alone makes it worth it to become a bartender. The bar industry is like no other profession. People go out for a purpose, and that purpose is letting loose, and alcohol allows them to live out that purpose. We’ve all seen it. You’ve got the guy on the dance floor dancing badly and he’s using his tie as a headband. Or you have the lady who’s wearing a leopard skin tight skirt the size of a dinner napkin, and she’s grinding back and forth to the music.
Hmmm…I don’t remember them acting like that when they were selling you real estate or checking you out at the grocery store. Yet here they are and they’re letting loose. Hell, everyone’s letting loose, and letting loose leads to bad decisions and wild acts of behavior that is only seen on reality TV. Trust me there’s no better seat in the house than bartending and watching people live out their self indulgent urges. One day I’m gonna write a memoir and all the things I’ve seen in all the bars I’ve worked. You’re gonna want to get yourself a copy of that one.
Still Want More? Watch Live Bartending in Action
My followers often ask me to make live bartending videos, so I did just that. It gives you the basic bartending 101 skills needed on how to be a great bartender. I made a series of these videos on my youtube channel @therealbarman and you can watch the first one here (Live Bartender Training). Whether you want to learn how to become a mixologist or a bartender, these videos help show you what it takes in an actual bar setting.
One last thing, I often get asked how to get a bartending license. The answer is you don’t. Employers in bars and its employees don’t care about a piece of paper saying you took a bartending class. They care if you have some knowledge and can do the job. I share all of this premium information in my online bartending course, as well as the questions you will be asked at a bartender interview. If you want to see the deets, you can check them out here.
I hope you have enjoyed my rant on 9 Kick-Ass reasons to become a bartender. If you want to download the 7-Day Bartender Training, it’s free. You can click on the button at the bottom of this page. And as always, you can check out my youtube channel to get more valuable lessons on how to become a bartender or visit my blog here: https://therealbarman.com/blog/.
I appreciate you being here and hope to see you next time.