Holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends. However, for the private party bartender, it’s also a time to work some great gigs and make some money.

Here are 7 holidays that you should definitely work, why, and how to get the gig booked:

Valentine’s Day:

There are many great romantic restaurants that need to book additional bartenders for this once a year celebration of love. The drinks tend to lean toward a variety of martinis, which are higher priced and when love is in the air, the wallets tend to be opened a bit wider for tips.

Memorial Day:

This is the summer kick off party and are always a lot of fun. Clients and guests are ready to let loose and start the summer with a bang. Since the weather can be dicey depending on where you live, make sure you’re ready for anything.

Father’s Day:

I have had a Father’s Day gig every year and they tend to be easy, but profitable. I now have a steady Father’s Day gig and it’s great knowing that I don’t have to worry about filling in this weekend. It’s also a bonus that it’s on a Sunday, so you can still book a gig for Saturday.

July 4th:

I think we all know that this is a rocking good holiday to work. It’s the ultimate celebration of summer. Plan to serve a lot of lighter style cocktails, white wine and beer.

Labor Day:

This is the last hoorah for the summer and if the weather is holding out, you’ll likely have a great turnout and the party will be good.


OK, these gigs probably won’t fall on Christmas Day, but many people have Christmas parties in the weeks leading up to Christmas and they can be very profitable, indeed.

New Years’ Eve:

Why work it: This is one of my favorite nights to work. Everyone is happy and they often include you in the festivities. I usually have several people hanging by me at the portable bar because we’re having a good time as I’m working. Of course, remember to always serve your customers and keep an eagle eye out to make sure your job is your number one priority. It’s a balance, but it can be a lot of fun too!

Getting Booked for Holidays:

If your regular marketing activities don’t get you booked for these holidays, there are some other ways you can get proactive:

  • Working Bars & Restaurants: You can call around a month ahead of time to places in your area to inquire if they need help. Remember to ask for the hiring manager and speak to them directly.
  • Working Hotel Parties: (Especially for New Years’ Eve) Call around to local hotels that are hosting parties and ask if they need help. However, remember to find out the prices first and find out how the tips are handled. Some places split evenly with all bartenders; some places have you tip out the servers from your tips and there can be some other unusual methods of handling the bar tips. You definitely don’t want to find out later that it was less than you hoped for.

As I mentioned in this article, you can also reach out to Catering Halls and hospitality staffing companies to see if they are looking for extra help. If you’re not already booked for all of the above holidays 3-4 weeks in advance, you should definitely start calling the event staffing agencies in your area.

Many bartenders don’t want to work holidays because they want to spend the time with their families and enjoy the holidays too. But if you’re up for it, working holidays can be fun and very lucrative!

Lisa Freeman

Lisa Freeman has been bartending private parties as a side hustle for 3.5 years, working events from small birthdays to large 350-person weddings. She's also a former accomplished ballroom dance competitor, enjoys martial arts, and is always looking to try new things (hobbies, side hustles, and otherwise!)