A lot of people think that bartending is just a side job or a side hustle people do because they NEED extra money. While this is true to some extent (check out our post on how you can use bartending to wipe out your debt), some bartenders can reach a point to where they are actually making much more money than the average college graduate or even seasoned corporate professional.
How you might say? First off, location. As they say in real estate, the 3 most important things are, “location, location, location”. This goes for places of businesses just as easily. After all, you got to remember that businesses are typically located at a piece of real estate. If you are working in some dive bar in some ghetto on an unknown dark street that no one feels comfortable walking down alone… let us just be honest.
You are not going to make anything.
However, if you work at a nightclub where the club scene is really hot in your town or city, you can start pulling in some ridiculous money. The $150-200 a night range. However, even this will not allow you to get to a six figure earning status as a bartender. You need some the perfect pinnacle, the greatest locale ever.
You want the locale, the bar that is catering not to the downtrodden nor to the club hoppers, but rather to the affluent and the wealthy, you know the people who can afford lawn care and tree services. These people love to spend big wads of cash because they love buying quality and luxury. Your cocktails are a form of this high end luxury that gives them joy in life, and you can rake in some really great money by working at places like these.
So where do these magical unicorn level bars actually exist? Typically you will find them in fine dining restaurants or in resorts where people come to spend lavishly and have a blast getting… well blasted!
The downside of these kind of places is that the competition to get in is fierce. But a good resort bar can easily pull you in $300 a night and even upwards to a $1,000 a night.
You just have to get your foot into the door. The one issue with resorts is that they are often seasonal. There are slow and fast seasons in every business, and this is just as true with bartending as it is with anything else. However, if you love to travel and fancy yourself a bit of a nomad, you can get a job at one of these resorts and during the slow season you can move out to a place where it is the fast season.
For example, you might go from a ski resort earning killer money in tips and then at the end of the winter season when the resort typically dies down, you can move south to a tropical location where people are still traveling en masse. One of the best places with year around stability (or as close to it as you can get) would be becoming a bartender in a high end resort or casino down in Las Vegas.
And hey, the cost of living in Vegas is pretty dang cheap too!