Bartenders are part of societal fabric across the world, and for good reason. They can provide a sympathetic ear and an ice cold drink at the end of a long day or help kick off a night of fun and excitement that you’ll never forget (unless, of course, you can’t remember it in the first place).
But how much do we think about the reality of bartending as a job? Have you ever thought about how many people work in that profession? How much do they make? Where are the most and least people working behind a bar for a living?
At Hangover Heaven, we got to wondering about those questions and more because we obviously have an interest in any and all topics related to alcohol consumption. To get to the bottom of all things bartender, we found the most recent available data from the US Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to uncover statistics relating to how much bartenders make, how many there are in cities and states across the country, and so much more. We then compiled that data in charts and graphics to share our findings with the world.
Let’s start with a bit of an overview of everything we looked at. We found that more than half a million people are classified as bartenders on official government records, a figure that accounts for 0.43% of all jobs in the country. Those slinging drinks report an average annual salary just north of $26,000, which is less than half of the average national salary for all jobs in America. Finally, we found that nearly 60% of bartenders are women in this country, the average age for bartenders regardless of gender is in the mid-30s, with women in the job being slightly younger than men.
Of course, those numbers are just the averages for the entire country. To get a better sense of how bartenders vary from place to place, we also found the average ages for drink slingers in every state in the country. We found that Kansas is where you can find the youngest male bartenders, as they are the only state with an average age under 30 for the job. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the men behind the bar in Vermont average nearly 50 years of age.
Things are quite a bit different for women bartenders, as there are no states where their average age is under 30 in the entire country, and in fact, only five states even have an average age under 32. Women in Wyoming and Maine appear to tend bar the latest in life, with both states having average ages over 40 for their women bartenders.
In the case of Maine, this chart might explain why women tend to bartend longer, as that is one of only three states – along with Arkansas and Nebraska – where women earn a higher average wage than their male counterparts. Wyoming makes less sense, however, as it is one of the states with the largest pay disparity between men and women bartenders, with men making more than 85% more for the same job. Still, that total is less than states like Minnesota and Louisiana where men make nearly twice as much as women.
We also found how much the average bartender makes in every state regardless of gender. This evaluation found Kentucky and Louisiana at the bottom of the list as the only states where the average annual salary is less than $20,000. In contrast, bartenders in places like Washington State, Massachusetts, California, and Vermont can expect an excess of $30,000 yearly for their work. All of those states pale in comparison to Hawaii, however, where the average bartender can make almost $50,000 making drinks in paradise!
So far, all of our data has looked at states but we wanted to go even deeper into the data and find out which of America’s 100 biggest cities are the best and worst places to be a bartender. The graphic above lists the 25 cities where bartenders make the most money and also lists out the next 15 cities on the list to give a view of the 25 cities that pay bartenders the best. Interestingly, coastal cities completely dominated the top 10, with the west coast making an even greater case for superiority by claiming seven of those ten cities, including the number one overall city of Honolulu.
Of course, just because the job pays better in some places doesn’t mean that is where the most people are working that job. We combed through the data to find which cities and states where bartenders make up the highest and lowest percentages of the overall workforce.
In terms of places where bartenders are rare, Little Rock mirrors the rest of the state of Arkansas by only having 0.16% of the population work as bartenders, the lowest totals of any state and city in the country. On the other hand, the town we call home, Las Vegas, is the only major city in America where more than 1% of all people living there work as bartenders, and Nevada and Montana are the only states that can claim the same.
With the discovery that Las Vegas employs over 200% more bartenders than the national average, it comes as no surprise to us just how many hangovers we help to cure every day, month, and year. That’s a lot of people serving a lot more people a whole lot of drinks, and a whole lot of drinks results in a whole lot of hangovers. Next time you are in Las Vegas and spend some time being served by our city’s fantastic bartenders be sure to book an appointment with us here at Hangover Heaven to help deal with the aftermath!