How to Tip a Private Bartender, from Event Bartending Specialists

by | Sep 11, 2018 | Private Bartending

Previously, we discussed some of the factors that go into professional bartending service pricing. The type and duration of the event, the number of guests, and the drink options themselves all go into determining the costs associated with hiring professional bartenders from a professional bartending company.

What about tipping, especially at open bar events? Not all bartending services are the same, and each has its own policies about bartenders receiving tips at their events. Here is some information about tipping policies to help you understand more about the beverage catering industry, from the experts.


Open Bar Tipping

In bars and nightclubs, it is traditional to offer the bartending staff tips as a reward for great service, on a per drink (or per bill) basis. There’s no reason the same cannot apply for open bar events; whether those events are weddings, showers, corporate gatherings, or simple backyard parties.

As with any tipping arrangement, when a tip jar is put out, some of the guests will tip, and others will not. As with any bartending interaction, offering a small tip is a courtesy that goes a long way toward building goodwill between bartending staff and event guests.


Removal of The Tip Jar

Tipping sometimes depends on the event itself, not the bartending service that is handling the event. For certain gatherings, tip jars may not be appropriate, as the hosting group prefers the guests don’t feel they need to contribute anything toward the costs of the service. A professional bartender will recognize these situations and remove the tip jar, to ensure guests feel comfortable. The lack of a tip jar will reduce the total income received by the bartenders for the event, and in these circumstances it’s often better to choose a higher-end company, that charges higher rates to ensure the bartenders are compensated with a living wage.


The Service Charge

Companies that provide professional event staffing at the top of the industry often include a service charge in their pricing. Funds from the service charge can go toward a variety of benefits for the bartenders (and non-service staff), and the most ethically focused companies implement “living wage” programs. These programs offer every employee in the company a wage that provides them a basic standard of living for the area where they work, as well as a variety of benefits (such as bonuses, reimbursements, and leave days, all of which are atypical in the industry).


Host Gratuity

If you’d like to ensure that the professional bartending staff at your event is adequately compensated for their work (or simply want to thank them for absolutely fantastic service), it is often the practice of event hosts to add a gratuity to the final amount due, as a tip. Every bartending service has slightly different policies, so we recommend you confirm that the company you’ve chosen will allow such tipping. Most importantly, please know that any gratuity given to a bartender at an event is greatly appreciated, but never expected.