“bartending bag” flickr photo by Kylio https://flickr.com/photos/kylio/8938137 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Bartending can be a lucrative job, but why not monetize your skills when you aren’t slinging drinks behind the bar?

After all, life can be unexpected, and by maintaining a side hustle (or two) you’ll grow your network of connections, maintain a steady income stream even when work is slow and be able to save money. What’s not to love?

So when you’re not clocking in for a shift, here are five ways you can be your own boss, set the schedule you want to work and make extra money!

Be a Freelance Bartender

As a bartender you meet all kinds of people, many of which will work for businesses that have annual holiday parties and other corporate booze-induced celebrations. Collect their business cards and let them know you’re available on a freelance basis for company events — you’ll be surprised how quickly this translates into an ongoing list of lucrative, fun and easy gigs to work on the side.

Local catering companies are also a great resource for finding consistent side-gigs, so make sure you check out what companies are located in your area, and reach out to them for work.

Also, job boards like Craigslist post one-off bartending gigs daily, so if you have a free weekend and want to earn some extra cash search under the “gigs” section of Craigslist and narrow your search by typing in “bartender.”

You can set your own rate (no tips required) and pick and choose when you want to work. Cha ching!

Monetize Instagram

It’s 2017 so you probably have, what, three or more social media accounts? Rather than aimlessly scrolling through profiles, pictures and statuses, use your social media as a tool to make money.

Ramp up your Instagram by liking and following other users and posting bartending targeted content (photos of you bartending, videos and pictures of cocktails you create, your favorite tools etc.). Once you reach 1,000 or more followers team up with bar-related businesses to promote their products and cocktail recipes.

Once you’ve garnered a decent following, you can start charging for posts. To do this you’ll need to use relevant and trending hashtags to gain the attention of potential sponsors and make sure you’re regularly engaging with your followers. Also, think about directly reaching out to business you’d like to work with and let them know you’re available for hire. Then you can create sponsored posts and promote individual products and services.

At this point you’re probably asking yourself the golden question: how much will I actually make? Well, that depends on the business and how many followers you have. Pay rates range from free swag to $100 or more per thousand followers — now that’s worth posting for!

Teach Bartending Classes

Once you feel confident with your bartending skill-set and have gained a mastery of cocktail origins and history, start teaching classes!

Here are some ideas for classes a bartender could teach:

  • Individual or group
  • Corporate team-building
  • Holiday themed
  • Couples classes

To get started, create a free WordPress blog or a one-page website discussing what you offer and fill it with pictures of your favorite cocktails alongside recipes and a quick summary of where the cocktail originated (if it’s not your own creation). Choose two or three cocktails and make a step-by-step “how to” video for each one.

Add a “hire me” tab or link that viewers can easily find and be sure to include your bartending bio, availability, contact information and price.

Once your website is live, share it on social media and ask your friends and family to spread the word. If you need an extra boost promoting your business, use Craigslist or Groupon. Both of these websites will provide your business with increased visibility among consumers which will help it grow, but keep in mind Groupon does take a percentage of your earnings.

Create a YouTube Channel

Another great way to earn additional income is by starting a YouTube channel. You’ll need to have a decent camera to get started, and be able to post useful content on a regular basis.

Before you begin, subscribe to other bar-related and mixology channels and make notes of what other people are doing successfully, and think of how can you add value in a different way. You’re going to need to be able engage viewers, and keep them wanting more of your videos.

When you’re ready to create your YouTube channel, you’ll need to first hone your craft and engage and grow your subscriber platform. Then you can monetize your channel by connecting it to an Adsense account so you get paid.

How much you earn will depend on how many people watch the ads on your page, and how many subscribers you have. While you may make a little money at first, building your following over time can add up, and it can also help you get hired as a freelance event bartender. So make sure you’re engaging your followers regularly and continuously promoting your channel!

Write for Hospitality Blogs

There are thousands of restaurant, bar and foodie blogs on the web and if you have a knack for writing you can earn additional income by working as a freelance contributor!

To begin, research the publications you’re interested in working with to get a feel for their brand and tone. Also, follow freelance writing board jobs such as Freelance Writing Jobs and Write Jobs and keep your eyes open for new opportunities.

Think of three to five article ideas and start pitching them to different publications (like A Bar Above!) Pay rates range from $25 to upwards of $100 per article depending on the word count and the budget and popularity of the site.

Editor’s Note:

Want to write for us? We’re always looking for experienced bartenders to write for the blog! Reach out to me here and let’s chat!


These five suggestions can help you earn more money in-between your regular shifts while monetizing the skills you’ve mastered behind the bar, so what are you waiting for? Start earning more money today!

“bartending bag” flickr photo by Kylio https://flickr.com/photos/kylio/8938137 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Antasha Durbin

Antasha is a seasoned bartender with more than seven years of bartending and hospitality experience. She is also a spiritual writer at cajspirituality.com, where she writes free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living. You can follow her on Twitter @cajspirituality for daily inspiration.