25 Best States For Bartenders

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Happy hour is coming early today as we roll through the 25 best states for bartenders.

I remember watching the movie Cocktail and wishing I could be as cool as Tom Hanks. I know that Tom Cruise starred in that movie, but honestly he just never really did anything for me. Mixing drinks is a fun hobby as well as a difficult profession. Like writing, it’s the kind of thing that can be enjoyed on multiple levels. Also, like writing, it’s the kind of thing that to do well at a professional level takes years of training and talent–yet most people from other fields assume they simply have an innate knack for it–and they are WRONG.

In the past, people may have looked at bartending as a stepping-stone career. See: Cocktail. Tom Cruise looked at that as a just-for-now movie that would help him make a little extra dough on the way to his dreams of representing Scientology and making Mission Impossible III.

However, bartending stems from a long-standing tradition. It is now–particularly due to the cocktail trend and rise in popularity of old fashion as well as new-fangled cocktails–a well-respected profession and people often choose it as their life profession. Bartenders are mixing drinks as in the case of my favorite local bar–and getting a workout doing so. They work mostly in bars, restaurants, hotels, clubs and other drinking and food establishments.

25 Best States For Bartenders


There are two ways of learning to bartend–formal and not so formal. There are bartending courses you usually plunk down a few hundred dollars to become “certified,” and then you are often used by the company running the course as a catering bartending. However, many bartenders start by becoming barbacks or as servers waiting tables, learning their skills while working on the job or a related job. It takes time to work up to bartender and there are certainly some bartenders who will not be inclined to teach their competition. Some states require the bartenders to be at least 18 years old in order to serve alcoholic beverage. The average age of bartenders is 25–the perfect age to make someone’s dreams come true, which is what happens every time I am served an old fashioned.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for bartenders in May 2015 was $9.39. It is estimated the job outlook to grow from 2014 to 2024 at 10% faster than average for an employment field. This means that during this period of time, a lot of job opportunities will open.

Every day people are opening more new bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants, but old companies are expanding their business as well. Today, there is seemingly a bar or pub on every corner–especially on my corners as I live in the most bar-saturated neighborhood in Manhattan, the East Village. Many restaurants and clubs are exclusive, expensive and large which means they are in need for a professional, experienced and very skilled bartenders. If you find yourself working in one of the most elite clubs or restaurants, be prepared to receive tips bigger than your salary.

Bartending is not a simple job, it isn’t just pouring alcohol or coke in a glass. You should also know about different ingredients, where they come from, what they mix best with and how they affect the human body, check out 12 Best Alcoholic Mixed Drinks for Diabetics. Many of the mentioned places are in need of experienced and skilled bartenders who can make great cocktails, experiment with them, invent something new, have steady hands. If you are sloppy be sure that you won’t keep your job as a bartender. Also, despite all of this skills, the bartender needs to be capable of teamwork with his colleagues, be communicative and follow instructions in order to finish the job successfully.

As a bartender, you will want to work in a place where you can experiment, use your skills and receive a good paycheck for it. But, besides that, you should also look for a place with a great working environment full of positive people who love to give enormous tips–in cash.

In order to create the list of 25 best states for bartenders, we took different parameters to create the most accurate list from Value Penguin and Bureau of Labor Statistics. We considered where you can get a job easily, in which states the salary as a bartender is the highest and how many people are living in that state. The more people, the more restaurants, bars, clubs and of course bartenders. The list was sorted by the average salary that country offers. Remember we are using salary but bartenders make the majority of their earnings in tips–the average range is $300-$1000 for 4 full night shifts a week, depending on your geographical location and the type of bar.

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