Learn to Bartend And Pick Up a Side-Hustle

By Toronto Bar School, 3/28/2023

Learning to bartend as a side hustle can open the door to profitable gigs and jobs in an uncertain economy

Learning to bartend as a side-hustle can be an answer to your financial problems. Have you looked at the prices of…everything lately? It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking clothes, groceries, or gas, prices have shot up, and they continue to stay up. With inflation weighing heavily on everyone. Naturally, the question of money comes up.


How will you afford your lifestyle? Even if you cut back, you want to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head. Maybe you need a side hustle or a freelance gig. Maybe you should learn bartending. Well, should you? That’s what we’ll explore in this article.

Is Bartending the Right Freelance Gig or Side Hustle For Me?

Is Bartending the Right Gig for Me?

I’ve been bartending for a long time, and at this point, I can say with confidence that I’ve pretty much seen it all. I’m sure there’s still some surprises that could catch me off-guard, but not many.

As much as I love bartending, I recognize it has its negatives too. This section will go over both to help you decide where that extra source of revenue should come from.

Upside #1: You will Make Money

Like many hospitality jobs, most of a bartender’s wages come from tips. I’d wager that as much as 80 percent of what I make is from tips alone.

If you’re courteous, have a smile on your face, and pose a vested interest in others, you will accumulate tips. That’s take-home pay that’s 100 percent yours. No one skims it from the top
like they do with every other paycheck you make.

Depending on how often you bartend, you could make enough cash to help you afford more of life’s expenses or even to support yourself full-time.

Upside #2: You Will Meet Lots of People

Meeting new people is a major upside of being a bartender

Are you tired of working with the same few office colleagues? I know I would be.

While you still have a core team of fellow bartenders, you’ll serve different customers all the time. Regulars are great as they’re a reliable source of tips, but there’s something nice about a
new face too. It reminds you why you’re a bartender!

Upside #3: You always Have a Story to Share With Others

Bartending means you'll always have a story to tell.

Don’t you hate when you come home to your spouse or partner, but you have nothing to share about your day because it was just that boring?

Bartending is anything but mundane. Trust me when I say you will have stories, and not just one story either, but several. Each time you go into work, there will be something worth talking about that happens.

Upside 4: You Get to Flex your Creative Muscle

Being a bartender means you get to flex your creative muscles

Making drinks is an artform. That shot glass is a blank canvas for you to paint with and paint you will as you mix spirits and ingredients to whip up a delectable concoction.

Bartending maybe isn’t the most creative job out there, not when you can be an artist or a painter, but it’s more creative than a lot of people give it credit for!

Upside 5: There's Always Something To Do

If you're the type that loves to keep moving, bartending might be the right side hustle. There's always something to do!

Boredom on the clock is the worst. I know some people like getting paid to twiddle their thumbs, but time seems to slow down and drag when you’re counting every minute.

Bartending will keep you busy, perhaps even more so than your current full-time gig. If you’re not serving drinks and entertaining customers, you’re washing glasses, checking the stock, updating inventory, and rinse, wash, repeat.

The Downsides of Bartending

Downside #1: You Might Not Make As Much Money as You Had Hoped

Bartending can be a lucrative side hustle, but it takes charm and personality to get those bigger tips.

If you’re trying to get rich overnight, maybe start a YouTube channel, but don’t become a bartender. The tips are great, but as the newbie, it takes time to work your way up to the bigger tips.

Without tips, bartending doesn’t pay enough to cover the bills. You might make $7 to $12 an hour, so you really need to work on your people pleasing to begin raking in tips, or the job might
not be financially feasible.

Downside #2: It's a Noisy Work Environment

If you don't like noisy work environments, bartending might not be right for you.

Do you do your best thinking in peace and quiet? Bartending might not be the gig for you, even as a side hustle.

Bartending is loud. There’s the clang of the glasses, the pouring of the alcohol from the dispensers, the loud music blasting in the background, and then the constant murmur of
conversation.

It’s true that you will eventually tune a lot of it out as you get used to it, but even then, you’re still aware the entire time that it’s loud.

Downside #3: Distractions Abound

Distractions abound in bartending. If you get overwhelmed easily, it might not be the best job for you.

Bartending is also one of those jobs where it’s very easy to get distracted. During happy hour and events, you can have five or 10 or 15 people vying for your attention at once. Then you have a colleague who needs you for something. It’s a lot!

You have to remain very focused to excel on the job, or all these distractions will overwhelm you.

Downside #4: Dealing With Drunk People is Hard

If you don't like the idea of dealing with drunk people, bartending might not be the best side hustle for you.

Then there’s what I think may be the biggest downside to bartending, and that’s dealing with inebriated customers.

People can let down their inhibitions when drunk. Sometimes, that makes someone friendlier than normal, which means turning down unwanted advances.

In other cases, people can get riled up and aggressive, so if you have to kick them out, it’s a headache.

Made Up Your Mind?

While personally, I love bartending, I recognize that it’s not for everyone. If you’ve decided that you’re ready for the challenge, why not begin your bartending training at Toronto Bar School?