How Much Should You Tip Your Bartender?

You may be doing it wrong

Shutterstock/ Maria Dryfhout

It all depends on what you order. 

Depending on where you are in the world and what you’re ordering, tipping can get very tricky. What is considered a bad tip? When is the tip included and when is it not? Is there ever a time where you shouldn’t tip well?


These are all common questions, and the answers vary. Nevertheless, there’s one type of tipping that stays pretty consistent across the board: tipping a bartender.

No matter what, if you’re at a bar, there are a few rules of thumb to follow when you tip the bartender. Whether you’re out for a drink or two or spending the entire night at the bar, we’ve come up some things to keep in mind as you decide how much to tip.

Take a look at our quick and simple how-to guide on tipping bartenders. And remember, if it weren’t for your bartender, you wouldn’t be having so much fun.


Beer is easiest drink to tip for. If you’re ordering a beer or two, a dollar or two to match is fine. Picking up a beer and opening it doesn’t take the same skill as creating a cocktail.

Simple Cocktails

A gin and tonic or vodka soda calls for at least two dollars. It’s not as simple as grabbing a beer and opening it, but it does take some work.

Cocktails That Are Made with a Shaker  

Anything that’s made with a shaker is worth at least a $3 tip. Being cheap becomes more of an issue with fancier cocktails. The longer the drink takes to make, the more you should tip.

Is the Bar Packed or Is Your Tab High?

In both of these instances, you should probably forgo these rules and tip well regardless of what you order. Working on a crowded night can be stressful, and the bartender is doing the best he can. Therefore, it never hurts to show your appreciation and give him some extra cash.

A Few General Things to Keep in Mind When Tipping

Not all cultures feel the same when it comes to tipping. In fact, some cultures believe that it’s rude to tip at all. Additionally, tipping is not the only thing that you should be wary of when you’re out for drinks. To help you make sure that you’re keeping up with proper bar etiquette, we came up with a general list of things you should never do at a bar.

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