Location is key for any career path, especially when it comes to bartending. For the uninitiated, a bartender’s salary depends on two elements: wages and tips. The latter heavily depends on a slew of other factors such as the area and type of establishment, and with more opportunities and jobs available, the number of bartenders across the country is constantly increasing. In fact, in 2021 alone, a striking average of 111,300 bartending jobs were available in the U.S.

While a state’s population density and metro-area influence clearly play a role in determining the number of bartenders employed, it’s interesting to note that these factors are not necessarily the only determinants when it comes to wage. Take New York State, for example, home of NYC and several other metro areas buzzing with bars, restaurants, and nightlife. As such an iconic part of the craft cocktail and beverage industry, one might assume that bartenders here enjoy proportionally high salaries; but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2021 report, the Empire State ranks fourth in the list of top-paying states for bartenders — even though its employment total is nearly double that of the top five states.

A few other factors that determine bartender salaries include tipping culture and tourism. This factor alone can easily slide the salary scale for bartenders. Tourism throughout the country has also grown, with many states containing small destination hubs perfect for quick weekend getaways. In fact, in 2020, 32.1 million people visited Arizona and in 2021 the state, which boasts the highest bartender salary average, dedicated $101.1 million in federal funding to continue its Visit Arizona Initiative program. Yes, the life of a bartender can be a lucrative one when working in the right location.

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Read on to see the states where bartenders are making the most money.

The States Where Bartenders Make The Most & Least Money [MAP]

Average Hourly Wage by State

State Average hourly wage
Alabama $10.97
Alaska $14.42
Arizona $21.71
Arkansas $12.42
California $18.30
Colorado $16.07
Connecticut $16.49
Delaware $14.04
District of Columbia $20.57
Florida $13.92
Georgia $12.93
Hawaii $21.48
Idaho $11.86
Illinois $12.74
Indiana $12.09
Iowa $11.47
Kansas $11.50
Kentucky $12.02
Louisiana $9.83
Maine $19.95
Maryland $15.38
Massachusetts $19.19
Michigan $15.60
Minnesota $13.19
Mississippi $10.66
Missouri $14.08
Montana $10.96
Nebraska $12.04
Nevada $12.21
New Hampshire $14.69
New Jersey $16.39
New Mexico $13.49
New York $21.05
North Carolina $12.79
North Dakota $12.80
Ohio $12.62
Oklahoma $13.02
Oregon $15.42
Pennsylvania $12.38
Rhode Island $15.72
South Carolina $11.66
South Dakota  $12.29
Tennessee $12.00
Texas $13.33
Utah $16.22
Vermont $17.74
Virgina $16.63
Washington $21.21
West Virgina $12.87
Wisconsin $11.46
Wyoming $12.24
National Average $14.59

The States Where Bartenders Make The Most & Least Money [MAP]

Average Annual Wage by State

State Average annual wage
Alabama $22,820
Alaska $29,990
Arizona $45,150
Arkansas $25,840
California $38,070
Colorado $33,420
Connecticut $34,300
Delaware $29,200
District of Columbia $42,790
Florida $28,950
Georgia $26,900
Hawaii $44,680
Idaho $24,670
Illinois $26,500
Indiana $25,140
Iowa $23,850
Kansas $23,920
Kentucky $24,990
Louisiana $20,450
Maine $41,500
Maryland $32,000
Massachusetts $39,900
Michigan $32,540
Minnesota $27,440
Mississippi $22,180
Missouri $29,290
Montana $22,800
Nebraska $25,040
Nevada $25,390
New Hampshire $30,560
New Jersey $34,090
New Mexico $28,060
New York $43,780
North Carolina $26,610
North Dakota $26,630
Ohio $26,250
Oklahoma $27,080
Oregon $32,070
Pennsylvania $25,750
Rhode Island $32,700
South Carolina $24,260
South Dakota  $25,560
Tennessee $24,970
Texas $27,730
Utah $33,740
Vermont $36,890
Virgina $34,590
Washington $44,120
West Virgina $26,760
Wisconsin $23,840
Wyoming $25,460
National Average $30,340

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