“I got fired from being a lunch-shift bartender because I had a reading of a play.”
John Krasinski, Actor
Pros and Cons of Working as a Bartender
You think about becoming a bartender? Great!
However, before making your final decision, you should check out all the pros and cons of being a bartender in this article.
Maybe you’ll change your mind and go for a different career path instead after evaluating all the arguments below.
Table of Contents
Bartender Job Profile
|Short Job Description||Bartenders work in bars, lounges or clubs and are responsible for making delicious long drinks and cocktails.|
|Salary||$35,000 per year on average, most bartenders make between $28,000 – $42,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Low job security since you don’t need high levels of qualifications.|
|Job Satisfaction||Good if you like nightlife.|
|Work-Life Balance||Rather poor since you have to work in the nighttime.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Physically and mentally demanding job.|
|Future Outlook||Poor job prospects since there will be plenty of competition.|
|Requirements||No special educational requirements necessary.|
Advantages of Being a Bartender
- You can work with people
- Being a bartender can be exciting
- You can create your own drinks
- Barkeepers can make many new connections
- Easy time to find a partner
- Especially suitable if you love the nightlife
- Decent job security
- You can work in many different locations
- Barkeeper as nice student job
- No formal education required to become a bartender
- You don’t need to go to college
- You don’t have to take on student loan debt
- Bartenders learn how to deal with difficult people
- You can open your own bar after a while
- Barkeepers can help out their friends
You can work with people
One important advantage of being a bartender is that you can work with people.
In fact, similar to baristas, you will get your orders directly from customers.
Quite often, they will also have special wishes for their drinks and as a good barkeeper, it is your job to fulfill the high expectations many people have.
Of course, this can be challenging.
However, by doing your job quite well, you can make many people happy and contribute your part so that they can have a pretty nice evening.
Many people go out just to have fun and to forget about their problems.
By creating nice and tasty drinks, you can be an important part of this experience as a barkeeper.
Being a bartender can be exciting
Many barkeepers also really love what they are doing.
Some people are just borne for this job since they love to talk to people and always have an open ear for the problems of others.
Being a barkeeper can also be quite interesting. You never know what will happen this night and what problems might arise.
If people consume plenty of alcohol, the weirdest things can happen.
As a bartender, you will always be in the middle of the game and will see many funny things.
You will also never know how many tips you will get from your guests and this can also be really exciting, especially in times where you don’t expect much but get positively surprised.
You can create your own drinks
Another benefit of being a bartender is that you can create your own drinks.
In fact, it is expected from good barkeepers that they not only provide the standard selection of drinks everyone knows, but barkeepers should also provide a special experience for their guests.
This means that you can create many fancy and funny drinks during your career as a bartender and some people will just come back solely due to this unique experience.
Hence, if you are the type of creative person who loves to try new things and who wants to surprise others, becoming a barkeeper can also be right for you in this regard.
Barkeepers can make many new connections
As a bartender, you will also be able to make many new connections in a rather short period of time.
Since you will talk to many people during your shifts, you will build a natural customer base and many people will come back to chat with you.
Moreover, if you work in rather fancy locations, you can also talk to many people in leading positions and chances are that this could help you for your future career, especially if you don’t plan to stay in the barkeeping business forever but aspire to another more demanding career path.
Easy time to find a partner
Another upside to becoming a barkeeper is that you will also have a rather easy time in the dating market.
Since you will talk to many people every night, chances are that there will be some people you really get to know and a fraction of them will be potential dating material for the future.
It is just a numbers game.
If you talk to 100 people each night, 10 of them might be suitable for you as a partner.
From those 10 people, 3 may like you enough for getting to know you better. And here you go.
You can get three dates each night and this sums up to a huge number of potential partners in the long run.
Thus, if you have problems finding a partner and also struggle to get out of your comfort zone, becoming a bartender can greatly help you in this regard since you will naturally talk to more people and the more you talk to people, the more likely it becomes to find a significant other.
Especially suitable if you love the nightlife
One thing should be clear. Whether the job as a bartender is right for you or not greatly depends on your individual preferences.
While some people really love the bartender life, others hate it since you often have to work at nighttime.
This is not for everyone and many people rather want to work during the day.
However, if you have always loved the nightlife and you need this special atmosphere, the job as a barkeeper can be great for you.
Decent job security
Since many people don’t want to work as a barkeeper due to the reasons mentioned in the next chapter, you will have decent job security as a bartender.
In fact, bars and restaurants have always existed in the past and will continue to exist in the future since people just love to eat and drink.
Moreover, people also often drink to forget their problems and problems will also exist until the end of mankind.
Consequently, you will not have to worry that much about losing your job as a barkeeper and even if this happens, you will often find another job pretty soon, at least if you are good at what you are doing.
You can work in many different locations
You can also work in many different locations as a bartender.
In fact, many restaurants and bars actively search for good barkeepers since most barkeepers are just average and don’t have any special knowledge.
Hence, especially if you have excellent knowledge about exotic drinks and can also communicate with your guests quite well, you will almost have freedom of choice regarding where you want to work.
You can also just say goodbye if you don’t like the people you have to work with in your current position and can work in a different location instead.
Barkeeper as nice student job
Being a barkeeper can also be quite interesting if you are a student.
You will be surrounded by other young people and the work as a bartender can be quite much fun during this age.
You can be at the party and even get paid for it.
Thus, you can not only save plenty of money for going out, you can even celebrate with your friends who will come over to the bar you are working in.
Compared to other student jobs, bartenders can earn really good money due to the tips they often get from guests, especially later in the night when many people are drunk and don’t care that much about money anymore.
No formal education required to become a bartender
You also don’t need a fancy education to become a bartender.
Sure, there are bartender schools out there who promise to deliver the best possible education so that you can maximize your chances for a good barkeeper job afterward.
However, most of this talk is just clever advertising and doesn’t have anything to do with reality.
As a bartender, you learn most of the skills you need in your job and don’t need too much extra education.
If you know how to deal with people and learn some recipes, chances are that you will be a great barkeeper without getting any additional qualifications.
You don’t need to go to college
There is also no need to go to college to become a bartender.
While many of your friends will need to get a college degree for their job aspirations, you can not only save plenty of money on tuition, you can even earn money from the first day of your job as a bartender.
Hence, will many of your friends will struggle to pay their bills, you will have an easier financial time in the beginning since you can minimize your costs and earn money at the same time.
You don’t have to take on student loan debt
Since you don’t have to go to college, you can also avoid falling into the student loan debt trap.
Many people in our current state of the world use student loans to finance their studies.
While this can make your time in college more convenient and enjoyable since you don’t have to worry that much about your finances during this time, you will have to pay the price for it later on in your life.
In fact, graduates often pay off student debt for many years and have to live on a small budget during this time.
As a barkeeper, you can avoid all of this since you don’t need college education and don’t need to go into debt to finance your degree.
Bartenders learn how to deal with difficult people
While most people will be nice, some people will just find things to complain about all day long.
Especially if people get drunk, they often lose control over their emotions and may even insult you.
Sure, this can be quite annoying.
But by working as a barkeeper, you learn how to handle those situations in a proper manner.
In fact, learning how to deal with difficult people will not only help you as a bartender, it will also greatly benefit you in various other parts of life since people are not always nice and you will only succeed in life if you learn to handle those tense situations in a calm but yet in an effective manner.
You can open your own bar after a while
If you don’t want to work as an employee in a bar forever, you can also open your own location after a few years.
In fact, many barkeepers work for someone else for a while so that they can learn their craft and then start their own business.
Thus, if you plan to start your own business, a career as a barkeeper can also be a good starting point for that.
Barkeepers can help out their friends
As a barkeeper, you can also help out your family and friends.
At parties, you can mix drinks for their guests.
This can be a great help, especially if your loved ones have no idea regarding how to handle many guests at the same time.
In turn, your friends will also be more eager to help you out and do you a favor in the future.
Disadvantages of Being a Barkeeper
- Poor salary for bartenders in many countries
- Many barkeepers struggle to pay their bills
- You have to work at nighttime
- Barkeepers often have to work on weekends
- Bartenders have to work on holidays
- People make fun of you
- Some guests may even attack you
- Being a bartender can be difficult for maintaining relationships
- Problematic if you have children
- Many bartenders quit once they get older
- Can destroy your natural sleeping rhythm
- Being a bartender can be physically demanding
Poor salary for bartenders in many countries
While there are many advantages of becoming a bartender, there are also some issues related to this profession.
For example, one problem with being a bartender is that the salary is rather low.
Of course, you will get some tips.
However, in many locations, your overall salary will still not be enough to afford any luxury.
Thus, if money is important to you and you aspire to a fancy lifestyle, you should probably become a dentist or go for a different career where you can make much more money than a bartender.
Many barkeepers struggle to pay their bills
Especially in big cities, bartenders often even struggle to pay their basic expenses.
Rents are often far too high compared to the average income of barkeepers and many people who work in those jobs will end up homeless sooner or later since rents are increasing faster than wages do in this field.
Consequently, you will suffer from significant financial insecurity as a barkeeper and you should make sure that you are willing to pay this price.
You have to work at nighttime
Another disadvantage of being a bartender is that you will also have to work at nighttime.
Especially if you work in a bar or a club, you will start working in the late evening and work until the sun will rises.
This is definitely not for everyone and you should make sure that you are the type of person who wants to work during these hours.
Most people rather want to work during the day and working at nighttime can also be regarded as kind of unnatural since we as humans simply haven’t evolved like that.
In turn, people who work at night are also at a higher risk of strokes and other serious health problems.
Barkeepers often have to work on weekends
As a bartender, you not only have to work at night, but you also have to work on many weekends.
Your working schedule may also change without prior notice and it is just the nature of the game that you have to stay flexible regarding your working hours.
Hence, if you are not willing to show this level of flexibility but rather want to have free weekends, you should definitely go for a different job instead.
Bartenders have to work on holidays
Many bartenders also have to work on holidays.
People love to go out during those holidays and spend money in restaurants and bars.
This also means that you as a bartender will be required to make those people happy.
Thus, while everybody else has fun, you will have to work during those times.
People make fun of you
Another downside of being a barkeeper is that some people will just make fun of you.
Especially during nighttime, many people drink too much and behave like monkeys.
It’s just the nature of the game and if you don’t have a stable mental mindset so that you can just laugh during those situations, you may become pretty unhappy with your job as a barkeeper since you will take insults too personal.
Some guests may even attack you
While some guests may try to bring you down verbally, few of them may even attack you in a physical manner.
Of course, this will not happen that often.
However, if you have to fear being attacked by your guests, this will take plenty of fun out of your job.
Some bartenders who experienced those unpleasant encounters in the past are even afraid to go to work.
Therefore, make sure that you are willing to take this risk before becoming a barkeeper.
Being a bartender can be difficult for maintaining relationships
While you will have a rather easy time in the dating market as a barkeeper, the opposite will be true for maintaining long-term relationships.
In fact, your partner will be jealous all the time since he or she knows that you will have many dating options.
This can really destroy relationships and you should make sure that your job is worth it to you to have a rather poor private life.
Problematic if you have children
Being a bartender can also be problematic if you have children.
Since you will have to work at nighttime, you will also sleep during the day.
However, your children often want to play with you during daytime and if you can’t do that, they will likely resent you for that in the long run.
Many bartenders quit once they get older
If you have a look around in your favorite bar, you will often realize that most barkeepers are rather young.
This is no surprise.
Many barkeepers just quit their jobs once they get older since they are no longer fit enough to work during nighttime.
In fact, the work as a bartender can be quite exhausting and you should be aware of the fact that you will not stay young forever.
Thus, make sure that you have a backup plan for the time after your barkeeper career.
Can destroy your natural sleeping rhythm
Since you will work at nighttime as a bartender, chances are that you will also suffer from serious sleeping problems.
In fact, many barkeepers complain about a lack of sleep and this is no surprise.
In fact, our bodies and our brains evolved for many thousands of years and for almost all of human history, we worked during daytime and slept at night.
Consequently, reversing these innate characteristics can destroy our natural sleeping rhythm and if good sleep is really important to you, you may want to look out for other jobs where you can work at daytime instead.
Being a bartender can be physically demanding
Many people also underestimate the physical component of the job as a bartender.
In fact, it can be pretty exhausting to stand behind a bar all night long and mixing drinks.
Especially during busy times, you will have to move quite a lot and after your shift, you will often just fall into your bed and sleep long hours to recover.
Top 10 Being a Bartender Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Bartender Pros||Being a Bartender Cons|
|Bartenders can connect to their guests||Being a barkeeper can be exhausting|
|Being a bartender can be exciting||Salary of bartenders is rather low|
|You never know what happens||You have to deal with difficult people|
|You can help out your friends||Bartenders have to work at nighttime|
|Easy time in the dating market||Weekend work is rather common|
|Bartender as decent student job||Problematic to maintain relationships|
|Barkeepers can create own drinks||Hard if you have children|
|Decent job security||Barkeepers often struggle financially|
|You can open your own bar||People make fun of you|
|You can work in different locations||Problematic once you get older|
Should You Become a Bartender?
Now that we discussed all the advantages and disadvantages of being a bartender, it is on you to decide whether you still aspire to a career as a bartender or if you want to go for alternative job opportunities instead.
If you want to learn more about a barkeeper career, also make sure to have a look at the salary, career prospects, working hours, educational requirements and job satisfaction of bartenders.
Also make sure to check out the following articles:
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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