Bar Manager Salary: How Much Does a Bar Manager Make?

If you’ve ever wondered how much a bar manager makes, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re researching how to open a bar and want to understand the costs or are considering a new career, this article explores the intricacies of bar manager salaries, shedding light on the earning potential of this dynamic role within the hospitality industry. Get ready to uncover valuable insights about the compensation of bar managers nationwide.

Role of a Bar Manager

bar manager salary

The role of a bar manager is crucial in the hospitality industry, specifically in the operation of a bar. They are the glue that holds all aspects of the bar together, ensuring smooth operations, high-quality service, and a positive working environment. As you’ve mentioned, their specific responsibilities may vary based on your bar’s unique business plan, but there are common tasks and functions that most bar managers oversee.

Below are some specific aspects of a bar manager’s role:

  • Overseeing Daily Operations: Bar managers are responsible for the overall operation of the bar daily. This includes everything from opening and closing procedures to overseeing all bar-related activities throughout the day.
  • Managing Staff: This role involves hiring, training, scheduling, and supervising bar staff. They may conduct regular performance evaluations and provide constructive feedback to foster an environment of continuous improvement.
  • Maintaining Inventory: They are in charge of managing bar inventory, which involves ordering supplies, maintaining appropriate stock levels, minimizing waste, and controlling costs.
  • Handling Customer Service: They handle customer complaints and issues, ensuring customers are satisfied with their experience. They set the standard for service within the bar.
  • Financial Management: Bar managers are typically responsible for managing the bar’s finances, including cash handling, managing the daily cash flow, keeping track of sales, and minimizing costs to maximize profitability.
  • Enforcing Compliance: They ensure that the bar adheres to local laws and regulations, including alcohol service and safety standards.
  • Creating a Welcoming Atmosphere: By setting the tone and atmosphere of the bar, managers help create a welcoming and enjoyable environment for patrons.
  • Upholding Quality Standards: They ensure that drinks are correctly made and served and that service meets or exceeds industry standards.
  • Marketing and Promotion: They often assist in the development and execution of marketing strategies, events, and promotions to attract more customers.

Their role requires a combination of leadership, organization, and communication skills, along with a strong understanding of the hospitality industry and customer service. A successful bar manager helps ensure a bar’s success and significantly contributes to delivering exceptional experiences that keep patrons coming back.

Average Bar Manager Salary in the U.S.

Bar managers in the United States earn $50,000 to $56,000 annually on average. Factors like experience, location, and bar type influence their salary. For example, San Francisco bar managers make around $76,995 yearly; in Illinois, the average is below $43,000. Other factors, like bonuses and tips, affect total compensation.

How Much Do Bar Managers Make Per Hour?

bar manager salary

Bar managers typically earn an average hourly wage of $19, with the current wage average being $25.49 as of June 2023. While this amount may vary depending on factors such as experience and location, it provides an idea of their earning potential. It’s worth noting that some bar managers may receive a salary instead of being paid by the hour.

Exploring Variations in Bar Manager Salaries by State

bar manager salary

Bar manager salaries vary significantly across different states, offering a diverse range of earning potential for professionals in this field. Delve into the disparities as we highlight the states with the highest and lowest bar manager salaries.

States with the Highest Bar Manager Salary

Certain locations provide bar managers with lucrative compensation well above the national average. New York boasts an average annual salary of $70,384. And while Washington, DC isn’t a state, bar managers make a good salary there, averaging about $65,733 per year.

Highest Paying LocationsAverage Annual Salary
1.New York$70,384
2.Washington, DC (not a state)$65,733

States with the Lowest Bar Manager Salaries

On the other end of the spectrum, several states offer bar managers salaries below the national average. Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia fall into this category, with an average bar manager salary of about $44,000 per year in each state.

Lowest Paying LocationsAverage Annual Salary
4.North Carolina$44,000

Potential Earnings When Owning a Bar

If you’re thinking about owning a bar, then it’s important to know what affects your potential earnings. Let’s look at three key aspects below…

Factors Impacting the Salary of a Bar-Owning Manager

bar manager salary

A wide range of factors can influence the salary of a bar manager. Here are some of them:

  • Location: The geographic location of the bar can significantly impact a bar manager’s salary. Bars situated in bustling city centers, tourist areas, or locations with a high cost of living typically generate more revenue and can afford to pay their managers higher salaries. Conversely, bars in rural areas or locations with a lower cost of living might have lower revenues, potentially leading to lower salaries for bar managers.
  • Size of the Bar: The size of the bar can also influence a manager’s salary. Larger bars typically have higher capacities and can serve more patrons, leading to higher revenues and potentially higher salaries for managers.
  • Bar Popularity: A bar’s reputation and popularity significantly affect its profitability. Bars that are well-liked and frequently visited by patrons will generate more revenue and can afford to pay their managers more.
  • Experience and Education: A bar manager’s education and experience in the industry can greatly affect their salary. Those with years of experience, proven management skills, or relevant educational qualifications may command higher salaries.
  • Profitability of the Bar: The overall profitability of the bar is a significant factor. If the bar is successful and has a high profit margin, the manager’s salary could be higher.
  • Business Model: The specific business model of the bar also matters. For example, bars with high-priced drinks or upscale services may generate more revenue and pay their managers higher salaries than a budget-friendly pub.
  • Ownership Status: If the bar manager is also the bar owner, they may take a share of the profits instead of a traditional salary, which can significantly influence their earnings.
  • Tip Policy: The policy on tips, as mentioned earlier, can also influence a bar manager’s overall income. If managers are included in a tip pool or receive tips directly, this can supplement their base salary.

Understanding these factors can help prospective bar managers negotiate their salaries and set realistic expectations for their earnings in this role.

What Does a Typical Bar Manager Career Path Look Like?

bar manager salary

A bar manager’s career path is often a blend of hands-on industry experience, formal education, and the development of key skills. Here’s a more detailed look at what that journey might entail:

  • Entry-Level Positions in the Hospitality Industry: Individuals often start their careers in entry-level roles like a server, bartenders, or hosts in restaurants or bars. These roles provide a solid foundation for understanding the industry dynamics, customer service, and the ins and outs of day-to-day operations.
  • Bartending: This role is usually a critical step in the career path to becoming a bar manager. As a bartender, individuals learn about different types of alcoholic beverages, mixology, managing inventory, and handling the bar during busy periods.
  • Shift Supervisor or Assistant Manager: After gaining experience as a bartender, many individuals move into shift supervisors or assistant managers roles. In these positions, they begin to take on management responsibilities, such as staff scheduling, training, and resolving customer complaints.
  • Bar Management: With enough experience and demonstrated ability, an individual may be promoted to bar manager. This position oversees all operations, staff management, inventory control, and customer service at the bar.
  • Further Education and Certifications: Although not always required, getting a degree in business management, hospitality management, or a related field can enhance career prospects. Some bar managers also earn certifications in food safety, alcohol service, or hospitality management to further their careers.
  • General Manager or Operations Manager: After gaining substantial experience and skills as a bar manager, individuals might move into higher-level management roles overseeing multiple venues or the entire operation of a larger establishment.
  • Ownership: Some bar managers eventually go on to own their own bars, using their extensive industry knowledge and management skills to run their own businesses.

bar manager salary

Throughout this career path, the development of certain skills is crucial. These include leadership, communication, problem-solving, customer service, financial management, and organizational skills. This journey is often marked by continuous learning and adaptation, as the bar industry can be dynamic and challenging but also very rewarding for those with a passion for hospitality.

How Does a Tip Pool Affect a Bar Manager’s Salary?

bar manager salary

A tip pool can impact a bar manager’s salary, either positively or negatively, depending on the establishment’s policies and staff performance. Here’s a detailed look at how a tip pool might affect a bar manager’s income:

  • Additional Income: If bar managers are included in the tip pool, it can serve as an additional source of income on top of their base salary, potentially increasing their overall earnings.
  • Variable Income: The amount of money a bar manager earns from a tip pool can vary widely depending on the total tips received by the establishment, the number of staff included in the pool, and how busy the bar is on any given day or time.
  • Performance-Based Earnings: A tip pool can sometimes encourage a more team-based approach to service, as everyone’s tips are shared. This could lead to higher service standards and, as a result, larger tips. The better the team’s overall performance, the higher the potential earnings for everyone involved, including the bar manager.
  • Dependence on Establishment’s Policies: How much a bar manager earns from a tip pool depends largely on the establishment’s policies. Some bars may include managers in the tip pool, while others may not. Furthermore, the method for dividing the pooled tips can differ from one establishment to another.
  • Legal Considerations: It’s important to note that the legality of including salaried managers in a tip pool can vary depending on the location and its labor laws. In some regions, it may be prohibited for managers to partake in tip pools, while in others it may be allowed.
  • Job Satisfaction and Retention: While not a direct impact on a bar manager’s salary, being included in a tip pool could potentially improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover if it results in higher total compensation.

bar manager salary

While the tip pool can significantly boost a bar manager’s earnings, it’s critical to remember that it can also introduce a degree of variability and unpredictability to their income.

bar manager salary

FAQs: Bar Manager Salary

How much can a bar manager make per year on average?

On average, bar managers make around $50,000 to $56,000 per year in the United States, although this can vary depending on factors like experience, location, and the type of bar.

Do bar managers get paid more if they own the bar?

Yes, bar managers who own the bar have the potential to earn higher income since they not only manage operations but also benefit from the bar profit margin of the business.

What is the hourly wage for a bar manager?

The average hourly rate for a bar manager typically ranges from $17 to $21, but it’s important to note that some bar managers may receive a salary instead of an hourly wage. Earnings tend to be higher for those in established bars and those with lots of experience, as opposed to those who are just learning how to manage a bar.

Which state pays the highest salary to bar managers?

San Francisco, CA pays the highest salary to bar managers, with an average of $76,995 per year, which is significantly higher than the national average.

Which state pays the lowest salary to bar managers?

Among the states with relatively lower average bar manager salaries, we have Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, where the average annual salary for bar managers is around $44,000. These states tend to offer slightly lower compensation compared to the national average.

What is the highest salary of a bar manager?

San Francisco, CA boasts the highest reported salary for a bar manager in the US, reaching an impressive $261,878 per year. This figure represents the pinnacle of earning potential for bar managers and showcases the thriving hospitality industry in the city.

Do bartenders make more than bar managers?

In general, bar managers earn higher salaries compared to bartenders. Bar managers have more responsibilities, including overseeing operations and managing staff, which contributes to their higher earning potential. However, exact earnings may vary by location, type of bar, or bar franchise model.

What are the highest-paying cities for a bar manager?

The highest salary for a bar manager can be found in cities like San Francisco, CA, and New York City. These bustling metropolitan areas offer lucrative opportunities, with bar managers potentially earning top salaries in the industry.

What is the highest average bar manager salary?

The highest average bar manager salary can be found in cities like San Francisco, CA, where the average salary reaches $76,995 per year, surpassing the national average.

How much do bar managers make in Texas?

In Texas, the average annual salary for a bar manager is $49,169, which is well above the Texas minimum wage. However, certain cities within Texas, such as Dallas, TX, offer higher salaries for bar managers, with an average of $66,111 per year.

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Kevin Ocasio Kevin Ocasio is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 2 years. He holds certifications in SEO, digital marketing, and content marketing. Kevin is also certified in Information Technology Technical Support Fundamentals.