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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Bartender for a Private Party?

2024 Average Cost to Hire a Bartender

A bartender’s basic rate can range from $20 to $60 per hour. Some bartenders may charge less than $15 per hour while others may charge you well over $300 per hour.

Read more to learn why and how to save money when booking a bartender.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Bartende

Bartender Cost per Hour

Each bartending service or individual bartender has their own fee structure, which is why it is sometimes difficult to tell one quote apart from another. While some may charge for a 4-hour block, others charge per guest or hourly, the latter being the most common. 

While you can probably negotiate the fee down when booking a bartender on Craigslist, we recommend (for obvious reasons) to go with a professional, licensed, and insured bartending service that has shown credibility (e.g. reviews) and that is active in its field (e.g. having profiles on wedding websites). 

For a professional bartending service, you will usually pay about $40-$55 per hour for one bartender. Please keep in mind that this is the base fee and other factors play a role in the total quote you will receive.

Tip Jar for the Bartender - Yes or No?

While some party hosts prefer to not have their guests tip the bartender in a tip jar, it is a great way to save money when hiring a bartender or bartending service. Some professional bartending services may have restrictions (e.g. minimum number of guests) to allow for tip jars to make sure that their staff can make a livable wage. 

When opting out of a tip jar, you as the host, would be paying the gratuity directly to the bartender. The cost for no tip jar usually varies between $1-$3 per guest.

Booking a Bartender for the Holidays

Expect to pay about 30-50% more than the usual rate for event bartenders and bartending services. This is due an increased demand and a variety of requests that occur during the holidays. At Barspirit, we only charge extra for the big ones like Christmas, New Year's, and Thanksgiving.

Guest Count and Additional Staff​

As we explained here, sometimes you may need more than 1 bartender. This depends on your bar menu as well as how many guests will be attending. In those cases, please keep in mind that additional staff will cost more than your basic rate for one bartender.

However, you can save some money by booking a barback (assistant for the bartender) in addition to your bartender. Generally, they are cheaper as they are not experienced bartenders, but they know how to stock the bar and serve beer, wine, and sodas, which, in return, helps the bartender focus on making those delicious drinks.

Overtime Fees

Remember that you booked your bartender for a certain number of hours. If you go over that time, most bartending services will charge you somewhere from 1.5-2.5x the regular rate for any overtime. It is best to overestimate than to underestimate in this case.

How to Save Money when Booking a Bartender for a Private Party

  • Allow a tip jar: bartenders will charge extra when a tip jar is out of the question

  • Plan when your party will end: you don't want to be charged 1.5-2.5x the rate for overtime

  • Need more staff? Get barbacks: barbacks can help with serving sodas, beer, and wine 

  • Offer a batch cocktail or just beer and wine: this will usually help cut down on the number of bartenders needed

  • Get your own alcohol: it's much cheaper to buy your own than have your bartending service bring it


At Barspirit Premier Bartending Service, we provide only the best bartenders for your private party at affordable rates. All of our bartenders have years of experience and our pricing is easy to understand. 

Get a quote 24/7 in just about five minutes!

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