How Much Should You Tip at a Sports Bar?

Sports fans drinking at a sports bar.
Enjoying a game at your local sports bar means that you will be spending a lot of time there, unlike a dinner out at a sit down restaurant. This does sometimes make it difficult to decide on a reasonable tip for your server. This is a page about how much should you tip at a sports bar.


Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

November 2, 2009

My husband and I spent over 6 hours at a sports bar and grill today while watching 2 games. We had the same sweet, attentive waitress the entire time we were there.

We had lunch, an appetizer later on, and many drink refills in between. Our bill was very reasonable, only about $27. My husband told me to "tip like we always do" meaning 20% of the total. That can't be appropriate for 6-1/2 hours of great service.

I slipped her more money when he wasn't looking. We'll be going back to watch more games, so I would really appreciate some advice on the proper way to tip in this particular situation. Thank you.


By Julie from IN


November 2, 20090 found this helpful

Wow. 6 1/2 hours. That is a really interesting question and I don't really have an answer for you. I have never been a waitress so I would be interested in what others have to say on the situation.

One thing you could do in addition is to write a note to the management complimenting the service you received & mention your server. I know cash is best but after the fact it would not hurt. Often times employers reward employees for good customer feedback. So often people are quick to report bad service and never think to mention when it is good. I worked in retail for a while and it was always good to hear the positive.


You could always post a question at the tipping forum below and ask their opinion:


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 107 Feedbacks
November 3, 20090 found this helpful

Ten dollars would have been about right. In non-game
hours, she could have waited on 4-5 tables in that time.

November 3, 20090 found this helpful

Since I was a waitress for awhile, I definitely would have tipped $15.00 to $18.00 her time and waiting on you was worth that or more. A Sports Bar, people get drunk and barely pay for their booze and food let alone realize a waitress or waiter is trying to make a living and most restaurants and sports bars pay little per hour, thinking patrons will tip.


Well not in the worst depression in 80 years they are not! Be kind and generous that person is trying to make a living and the establishments don't pay much at all.

November 5, 20090 found this helpful

At that point, you are tipping for the use of their facilities and your servers attention, not just the food. $4 is just not enough. She could have waited on 4-5 tables in the time you guys were at that table. So I think it's your responsibility to cover the loss of money she had during that time. It's totally okay for you guys to sit and enjoy yourselves, that's what the bar is there for, but the server should be compensated. I'd say $10 minimum. And since I'm a server, I would have probably given $20. She still has to give a lot of that away to bartenders, bussers, etc.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
November 5, 20090 found this helpful

Bless you for sneaking a larger tip to your server! Waitpersons are not paid minimum wage if their employer claims a tip credit to reduce their payroll costs (And personally I've never heard of an employer who doesn't do that) so you could point out to your hubby that the waitress most likely only receives $2.13 per hour as opposed to regular minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Those two figures are Indiana state wage law as of July of this year.


Waitpersons have to rely on tips to help bring their pay up to, and hopefully above, minimum wage to pay their bills. And they work quite hard for their money. It's most likely that she would have earned at least $20.00 to $30.00 in tips for that table in a six hour period of time.

Most bartenders are paid the same way as a waitperson so the waitperson is expected to pay 10% to 20% of the tips she makes to the bartender for their help (they pour more than alcohol). Hope this information helps.

November 5, 20090 found this helpful

Before I became disabled I was a waitress and when I went out on my night off I followed the rule of what tIip means to insure prompt service, but now I go more on how they treat me. Like we had a business meeting that was going to last 1 hour and everyone was laying down a dollar.


We had been there 3 hours instead I told them she could have seated people in that space about 4 times and they best come forth with bigger tips she ended up with $20. because a waitress makes her living from her tips not what the restaurant pays.

November 5, 20090 found this helpful

I was a bartender and waitress for 13 years. My rule of thumb is and has always been to tip a $1 a drink and 15-20% of the food bill depending on service received. Everyone about is correct about waitstaff making less than minimum wage and needing tips to make it a living wage. I just look at it this way if you were at home in your living room and someone was waiting on you bringing your drinks and cleaning up your mess wouldn't it be worth the buck a drink? The bill for the food and booze is the actual cost the product itself, plus the markup to pay the staff for cooking it or being there to serve it to you, for the buildings rent or mortgage, lights, heat, air, cable that you're watching, t.p, water, dish detergent. You get the picture.

November 7, 20090 found this helpful

No disrespect intended, but I'm so glad that American custom hasn't caught on here, in Australia waitressing isn't minimum wage.

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