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How much should I tip a bartender?

How much should I tip a bartender?

It is a tale as old as time. After a day of work, you belly up to the bar at the local public house and confess your stress over one too many pints. If only the bartenders charged the same rates as therapists. Wait, how much does a bartender make?

In the United States, and only the United States, bartenders not only receive less wages than therapists, but they make an average of $2.13. At a 40 hour work week, the bartender would only receive a pre-tax check for $85.20.

This legislative loophole in the wealthiest country in the world seems to only apply to the hourly wages of bartenders, waiters, and waitresses.

The federal minimum wage of only $7.25 seems to have been frozen in time for decades and hyper imbalanced in comparison to inflation (or the growing cost of living). But paying a full-time employee $2.13 an hour in hopes that the stars align for consistent foot traffic of sympathy conscious consumers ready and willing to apply a healthy tip to their tab… feels like the sales pitch of someone also selling snake oil from their mobile makeshift cart.

If feels wrong because it is wrong. A level playing field of rules and wages is not only common sense, it is the right thing to do when ensuring everyone has an opportunity to prosper from a hard days work.

So we launched a series of surveys on websites and social media to ask American’s their Average Tip for bartenders.

When only ordered a drink (no food), here are our findings:

Pint of Beer = $1 per beer

Cocktail = $2 per drink

Which made sense. Easy math to remember and a small bump for the elbow grease that goes in to decorating and garnishing an elaborate cocktail.

Sure the atmosphere of your drinking esaliahment might slightly increase (or decrease) your general acts of gratitude.

But in short, these hard working employees are being side stepped from the baseline rules of a guaranteed minimum wage. Their livable income depends on a tip, so let’s add that support and hope the fantasy world of $2.13 an hour joins the reality of the true costs of living in the 21st century.

How much to tip editor

Matthew McCoy

Editor and Writer

Matthew McCoy is a author, blog contributor, and editor for

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