How Much Do Bartenders Make In Los Angeles?

Bartending can be a lucrative career, especially in a major city like Los Angeles. With its famous nightlife scene and seemingly endless opportunities for employment, many wonder just how much money bartenders are raking in across LA.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The average bartender in Los Angeles makes between $30,000 and $60,000 per year in tips and wages. Exact incomes vary widely based on experience, location, hours, and more.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about bartender pay in LA, including average incomes, hourly wages, tipping, highest-paying locations, factors that influence earnings, and how to increase your bartender income in Los Angeles.

Average Bartender Incomes in Los Angeles

Hourly Wages

The average hourly wage for bartenders in Los Angeles can vary depending on a variety of factors, including experience, location, and the type of establishment they work in. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for bartenders in the United States is $11.63.

However, it’s important to note that this figure may not accurately represent the wages of bartenders specifically in Los Angeles, as the cost of living in the city is generally higher than the national average.

Bartenders who work in high-end establishments or popular bars and nightclubs in Los Angeles may earn higher hourly wages due to increased demand and higher customer spending. On the other hand, bartenders who work in smaller neighborhood bars or less busy establishments may earn lower hourly wages.

Average Tips

Tipping is a common practice in the United States, and bartenders rely heavily on tips to supplement their income. The amount of tips a bartender receives can vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of establishment, the clientele, and the bartender’s level of service and skill.

According to anecdotal reports and surveys, bartenders in Los Angeles can earn an average of $20 to $30 in tips per hour. However, it’s important to note that this is just an average, and some bartenders may earn more or less depending on the specific circumstances.

Average Yearly Income

Calculating the average yearly income for bartenders in Los Angeles can be challenging due to the fluctuation in hourly wages and tips. However, based on national data, a full-time bartender working 40 hours per week at the median hourly wage of $11.63 would earn approximately $24,230 per year.

It’s important to note that this figure does not include tips, which can significantly increase a bartender’s annual income. Bartenders who work in high-end establishments or those who provide exceptional service may earn well above the average annual income.

For more information on bartender incomes in Los Angeles, you can visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website or consult industry-specific resources and surveys conducted by reputable organizations.

Highest-Paying Bartending Jobs in LA

Upscale Restaurants and Lounges

One of the highest-paying bartending jobs in Los Angeles can be found in upscale restaurants and lounges. These establishments cater to a more affluent clientele and often offer high-end drinks and cocktails.

Bartenders working in these venues have the opportunity to earn a significant income through both their base salary and tips. The upscale environment and the demand for exceptional service make tipping more generous in these establishments.

According to, the average annual salary for a bartender in Los Angeles is around $38,000, but those working in upscale establishments can earn well above this average.

Nightclubs and Bars on Sunset Strip

The vibrant nightlife scene along the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles offers bartenders the chance to make a substantial income. Nightclubs and bars in this area are known for their energetic atmosphere and high volume of customers.

Bartenders who can keep up with the fast pace and deliver excellent customer service are often rewarded with generous tips. The popularity of these venues, combined with the allure of the Sunset Strip, attracts a crowd willing to spend more on drinks and tip accordingly.

This can lead to bartenders earning a higher income compared to other areas.

Poolside Bars and Dayclubs

Los Angeles is famous for its sunny weather, and poolside bars and dayclubs are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Bartenders in these establishments have the opportunity to work in a more relaxed and enjoyable environment while still earning a good income.

The poolside setting, combined with the demand for refreshing cocktails and drinks, often leads to higher tips from customers. Additionally, these venues often host special events and parties, which can provide bartenders with extra earning opportunities.

High-End Hotels

High-end hotels in Los Angeles offer bartenders another avenue to earn a higher income. These hotels often have multiple bars and restaurants, catering to both hotel guests and locals. Bartenders working in these establishments have the chance to interact with a diverse range of customers, including celebrities and business executives.

The upscale nature of these hotels, coupled with the demand for premium drinks and service, can result in bartenders earning a significant income. Additionally, hotels often provide additional benefits and perks, such as healthcare and retirement plans, making these positions highly desirable for bartenders.

Factors That Influence Bartender Incomes

Experience Level

The experience level of a bartender plays a significant role in determining their income. In general, bartenders with more experience tend to earn higher salaries. This is because they have honed their skills over time and have a better understanding of customer preferences and mixology techniques.

Experienced bartenders are also more likely to have a loyal customer base, which can result in higher tips. According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for bartenders in the United States is $25,580, with experienced bartenders earning significantly more.


The location of a bartender’s workplace can have a significant impact on their earnings. Bartenders working in major cities like Los Angeles tend to earn higher incomes compared to those working in smaller towns or rural areas.

This is because urban areas typically have a higher cost of living and attract more customers, resulting in increased demand for bartenders. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bartenders in California, which includes Los Angeles, earn an average hourly wage of $15.19.

Hours/Shifts Worked

The number of hours and shifts worked can also influence a bartender’s income. Bartenders who work longer hours or take on more shifts have the opportunity to earn more money. This is especially true during peak hours or weekends when bars and restaurants are busiest.

Additionally, bartenders who are willing to work late-night shifts or holidays may receive higher pay or additional bonuses.

Establishment Type

The type of establishment where a bartender works can impact their income. Bartenders at high-end establishments, such as upscale restaurants or exclusive bars, often earn higher salaries and receive more generous tips.

On the other hand, bartenders at casual or neighborhood bars may have lower earnings but may benefit from a more relaxed work environment. It’s important to note that bartenders at high-end establishments often need to have a higher level of experience and expertise in mixology.

Customer Tips

Customer tips play a significant role in a bartender’s income. In the United States, it is customary to tip bartenders for their service. The amount of tips can vary depending on factors such as customer satisfaction, the quality of service provided, and the overall experience.

Bartenders who excel at creating a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for their customers are more likely to receive higher tips. It’s worth noting that in some states, bartenders may also receive a share of the pooled tips, which can further boost their income.

How to Increase Your Income as an LA Bartender

Being a bartender in Los Angeles can be a rewarding and lucrative career choice. If you’re looking to boost your income even further, here are some strategies to consider:

Work at Busy Establishments

One of the most effective ways to increase your income as a bartender in Los Angeles is to work at busy establishments. High-volume bars and restaurants attract more customers, which means more opportunities for tips.

Look for popular venues in busy areas such as Hollywood, Downtown LA, or the Westside. These areas tend to have a higher concentration of patrons and can provide a steady stream of customers.

Pick Up Extra Shifts

If you’re looking to make more money, consider picking up extra shifts. Many bars and restaurants in Los Angeles offer flexible schedules, allowing you to work additional hours if you’re willing and available. By taking on extra shifts, you can increase your income significantly.

It’s a great way to save up for a special occasion or to achieve your financial goals.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Exceptional customer service is key to boosting your income as a bartender. When customers have a positive experience at your establishment, they are more likely to leave generous tips. Be attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable about the drinks you’re serving.

Engage with customers and make them feel welcome. Remember, the happier your customers are, the more likely they are to reward you for your outstanding service.

Upsell Menu Items

Another effective strategy to increase your income is to upsell menu items. When customers approach the bar, recommend premium or specialty drinks that may come at a higher price point. Highlight any promotions or happy hour specials that might entice them to try something new.

By suggesting higher-priced items, you have the potential to increase your tips and boost your overall earnings.

Develop Your Skills

Continuously developing your skills as a bartender can open doors to higher-paying opportunities. Consider attending mixology classes or workshops to learn new techniques and expand your knowledge of cocktails.

This will not only make you a more valuable asset to your current employer but also increase your chances of landing a bartending position at upscale establishments that offer higher wages.

Remember, increasing your income as a bartender in Los Angeles requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to providing excellent service. By implementing these strategies, you can maximize your earning potential and create a successful career in the vibrant LA bartending scene.


As we’ve seen, bartender incomes can vary widely across Los Angeles. While the average LA bartender makes around $30,000 to $60,000 annually, those working at upscale venues can earn over $100,000 per year after tips.

The most lucrative bartending jobs are found at high-end restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, and poolside bars, where customers tend to tip more generously. But increasing your income is also about maximizing your hours, providing great service, and constantly improving your bartending skills.

With so many opportunities available, there’s excellent earning potential for bartenders in LA. Now that you know the factors that determine pay, you can make informed choices to boost your bartending income in Los Angeles.

Similar Posts