How Much Should You Tip a Bartender?

How Much Should You Tip a Bartender

Do you often get confused when it comes to giving leaving tips in a bar? Giving a tip that leaves you and the bartender happy is a hard row to hoe. Usually, 20% of the total is considered the sweet spot to hit for. However, the tipping can, and in fact, should vary depending on the scenario. 

Therefore, after consulting various bartenders and some regular bar customers, we have gathered valuable information about how much tip you should leave in a bar. 

So, let’s unravel it together.

How Much Tip Should You Leave In A Bar? The Standard Tipping Rule

For a long time, the standard tipping was $1 for drinks. It means you should give a tip of $1 on each drink, i.e., if you order five drinks, you should give a $5 tip. However, now, the tipping has been raised to $2 per drink in some areas. 

Therefore, the thumb rule is to give 20% of your total as tipping. It looks like a nice gesture and is an excellent tip to give.

Tipping Around To Different Scenarios

How Much Should You Tip a Bartender

Although the general 20% rule works well in most conditions, you can vary the amount depending on the scenario you are stuck in. So, here are a few everyday situations where you can tip the bartender differently.

Type Of Alcohol

A common mistake is that most people end up giving the same fixed tip for all alcohol, and that is something that needs to be fixed. Just imagine getting the same pay for working 12 hours and 24 hours. Doesn’t that seem reasonable to you? The same is the case here. 

You should never tip the same for different drinks. In fact, several bartenders were questioned, and they individually answered that customers should tip $2 for cocktails as it required more effect than simple beer.

However, if you go for a simple beer, coffee, or water, $1 tipping is quite a suitable option. 

Open Bars

If you are at a Dinner or party where you are not paying for the drink, it doesn’t mean you aren’t supposed to pay the tip too. You should pay the tip. However, the amount can vary. According to Mike Raymond, a tip of $1 to $2 per drink is an ideal approach to settle for.

However, you can skip the tipping step if you are on vaccinations and hotels.

Craft Beers And High-End Cocktails 

Did you ever notice we always tip more for steak than for pizza? Why? Yes, because steak requires more effort.

The same goes for craft beers and high-end cocktails. These drinks often require one to put shoulders on the wheel to provide you with a drink with top-notch taste and appearance.

Therefore, you should be generous enough to tip bartenders $1 to $2 more than the customary tipping you give.

When In Doubt

For those who are confused about how much they should tip and if they are tipping more or less, it’s better to go for the general 20% tipping rule. It’s the safest way to clear your doubt in a sweet gesture. Hilary Curry claims to give a tip of 20% of the total always, no matter which drinks she opts for.

A Few Rules About Tipping At Bar That Everyone Should Know

How Much Should You Tip a Bartender

Now that you are well abreast with “How much tip Should You Leave In a Bar,” let’s talk about some unspoken truths and rules about tipping that bartenders wish their customers know about.

So, here are a few rules for tipping at a bar that can elevate your bartender’s spirit:

Giving More Tips In The First Round

People often think giving more tips in the first round will make the bartenders circle them. 

But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, it can work as a plus point, and the bartenders gear up to serve you. However, you won’t get preferential treatment in a busy bar immediately. The bartenders do count your humble behavior and can provide you with even better service the next time.

Set Different Tips For Different Drinks

As mentioned, there are better options than offering the same tipping for different drinks. The bartenders should be tipped more for drinks that require stepped-up labor. Therefore, you should give $1 to $2 more than the standard tipping you give.

Don’t Give A Tip For One Drink 

An unjustified action is that some people, after completing several rounds of drinking, give the standard $2 or 20% tip for one drink only. 

Instead, you should pay 20% on each drink separately. For example, if you order two drinks for $20 each, you should leave 20% of each drink as a tip and more for just one.

Extra Tip According To Service 

Moreover, some bartenders offer to provide you with exceptional service like quick servings, soul-refreshing drinks, a welcoming atmosphere, etc. So, they should be given more tipping than the regular ones as a thank-you gesture.

Always Leave A Tip

Moreover, you must always give a tip. Whether you are ordering a discounted deal, a 2-in-1 drink, or whatsoever, tipping is an essential step. 

And along with the tips, always give feedback as that is the only way for their improvement. 

Go For Cash

Last but least, more bartenders preferred cash tips over credit cards. So, if you plan to pay the bill via card, even then, give a tip in the form of cash.

So, these are a few tipping etiquettes everyone should be up with.

Why Is It Important To Give Tips To Bartenders?

Last but not least, let’s figure out why giving tips to the bartender is essential. So, here are a few reasons why tipping is more important than we think of

  • Encourages to enhance skills further 
  • A way of showing gratitude for their work
  • Helps support their monthly income 
  • Help them strive for excellence 


Generally, giving a tip of $1 to $2 per drink is a sound option. However, if you are confused, always go for the 20% golden rule. According to it, you should give 20% of your total as a tip. 

Moreover, consider giving a few dollars extra if you opt for hard-to-make drinks as a sweet thank-you gesture.

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