T Nation

Six Figures Bartending


Someone told me last night you can make 6 figures bartending if you work at a busy club in a big city.

It sounds possible, anyone know if it's true though?


I'm willing to bet if you earn six figures bartending, you live in an area where six figures isn't shit.


In Vegas? Absolutely possible. Also, absolutely a place where 100k isn't shit.


Much like waiting tables a big benefit is the money is in cash and what is taxed is what you claim you made. I have a friend who waits tables in a mid level restaurant and without debating the morality of the issue got a horrible child support and alimony settlement. He gave up his regular career to wait tables because his checks were nothing. He clears in cash 100 to 300 dollars a night in a 6 to 10 hour shift. Generally he works 4 nights a week so maybe 800 bucks a week in cash likely a little more so about 40k a year mostly tax free working 4 days a week rarely 40 hours. Not a terrible gig. But he is going horribly in the hole on whatever the per hour they pay servers is that is going to his legal obligations.


maybe if you have tits like your avatar




Ya, that doesn't usually work... If you volentarily change carreers, and your pay goes down, they tell you tough.


You miss the point. They have no way to determine or get his tips. He'll still owe the money forever sure but they are taking 75 percent of 3 dollars an hour or whatever it is. None of his tips.


Even if some guy was making millions doing it I wouldn't care.


Not Vegas, Washington, DC area


What he is saying is that in most States you cannot become voluntarily "underemployed". If your prior earnings were significantly higher, you cannot just go change jobs, be a waiter and get your child support reduced. They will "impute" income to you anyway, and you will be fucked. You have to show that no work is available at your prior income level and, that the situation is not temporary.


Ask Angry Chicken. He's bartending in DC now, at least part time.


I can believe that. High end booze and corporate comps for entertaining valuable clients, plus people who just have more money than they even care to count can make for good tips.


But try getting that job without five years experience at a similar establishment, plus perfect references.


Yeah, and I can't even begin to fathom the people skills required for a gig like that.


meh. I think experienced enough not to fuck up and who you know more than anything.


DC, I think its even more needed to serve coke on the side. Those politicians must be on something. lol


I would like to know where in the world making "six figures isnt shit"?


Six figures a year is possible bartending here. I recently got "regulated out" of the mortgage industry, so I'm working at a medium sized restaurant on the U St Corridor (which isn't as lucrative as Georgetown, Dupont or K street) and I'm bringing home 500 - 700 a night on Fri/Sat and 300 - 400 on other nights. My restaurant capacity is only 99 customers and the focus is on providing a good vibe, quality experience with live Jazz/R&B every night Vs. a "club" who's focus is on volume and high prices and being "seen there". In other words, I'm ALMOST at "six figures" and I'm not in the "best neighborhood" or a high volume spot.

I'd say I'm an above average bartender with my "people skillz" LOL but it's more "old school" at my place. Some of these new high end places are doing "fusion" cocktails, garnishing their drinks with pomegranate seeds and all kinds of cool shit that is in vogue these days. Half of them wont hire you unless you know "flair" bartending and can juggle your tin and a bottle fairly well. I have rows of glasses six inches above my head so we don't do flair in my bar! LOL

So the short answer is YES. You can make six figures bartending in DC if you are in the top 15% or so. You certainly wont do that starting out and it really is WHO you know! But at the same time, you have to come correct with the drinks. Breaking into it can be difficult (there's no way I'd have been hired here if I wasn't good friends with the owner), but it's not a bad gig in a pinch. It's certainly "recession-proof"!

The cool thing about it is that I would hardly call it "work"! It's like that Dire Straits song - "money for nothin' and you chicks for free"! LOL It's also cool to hang out with other restaurant owners and the "after hours" crowd is always entertaining. It's a cool scene. SOOOO much less stress than mortgage - I feel like I'm on vacation.



I think they mean certain members of society. There are doctors around here driving Lambos and Houston doesn't attract the "Hollywood" types like New York or LA. I would imagine a Vegas club owner is making a decent amount of change.

I do think they are glossing over it a little because if some guy is getting paid 6 figures for bartending, it is likely while standing naked at Sharon Stone's birthday party.