The Average Cocktail Waitress Salaries

Written by tim mcmahon
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The Average Cocktail Waitress Salaries
Cocktail waitressing jobs require long hours on your feet, but they can pay well. (neon cocktail image by Christopher Martin from

When you think of a cocktail waitress, one of the first images that may pop into your head is a waitress in one of the big casinos in Las Vegas. Outside of Vegas, cocktail waitresses are employed in bars and lounges all across the country. Typically, cocktail waitresses make minimum wage; the bulk of their earnings come from tips.

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Salary Considerations

Because a waitress' salary is largely based on cash tips, an accurate representation of total earnings is tricky; tips may not be fully reported to the IRS.


Total take home pay varies from person to person and even from night to night. It also varies on location, depending on the type of establishment; even in the most sought-after casinos, certain areas like "the pit" or high roller areas tip much better than other areas. Some other considerations for how much you can earn may be looks and personality. But other things like how well you remember the drinks, how efficiently you can serve the drinks, and how much time you spend at the bar are all factors separating one waitress from another.

Salary Statistics

According to the average salary for a cocktail server in a casino in the United States is £9,928 as of 2011. Ten per cent of them earn less than £6,618 per year and the highest earning ten per cent earns over £14,240. The middle 50 per cent from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile earns between £8,195 and £12,185.

The Reality of Being a Cocktail Waitress

The top casinos in Las Vegas are considered the top of the line as far as pay and glamour, but starting out as a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas can be extremely difficult without experience. If you do finally get a job with one of the big casinos, you will be starting at the bottom of the "Extra Board" i.e. the part-time workers who fill in when a regular calls in sick or is on vacation. This means your hours will be irregular, and during the slow times you may not work at all for weeks at a time.

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