Best Tip Jar Ideas For Your Venue (2021)

Liz Logan
Post by Liz Logan
June 24, 2021
Best Tip Jar Ideas For Your Venue (2021)

While most people are inclined to tip, others may need a little nod in the right direction. Whether you’re starting up a friendly competition, roping them in with cultural references and puns, or incentivizing with freebies, remind your customers to tip their bartenders by making it fun and engaging. 

A good tactic to get tips going is to start the shift off with a few bills in the jar to remind guests this is a real need, kind of like an “everybody is doing it” subtle peer pressure. If you’re stuck on how to get the tips rolling in, check out 30 of the best tip jar ideas we came across for an emotional appeal, a little bit of humor and clearing up local rivalries. 

Funny Tip Jar Idea

Puns and Humor

We all love a good play on words and your bartenders will love puns that put money in their hands. Try some of these tried-and-true play on words.

  • All Tips Go Towards Paying off the Student Loans We’ve Taken for the Degrees We’re Not Using - @gayeabandon

Who can resist helping a struggling college grad? These loans aren’t going to pay themselvesY

  • Tipping: Bad for Cows, Good for Us@cnrguys

Nothing like a little cow humor to get the money flowing. Bonus points if you add a cute little drawing.

Got beer AND pizza? Use this little play-on-words for a bigger piece of the pie.

  • Tip Me Baby One More Time

Britney has been through enough this year. The least we can do is tip in her honor.

I’ve gotta admit, I don’t know what I’d rather have. Bill Murray or dollar bills? Probably Bill Murray but I’d settle for money.

Who can’t relate to Mario and the never ending search for coin-induced one-ups. Maybe even encourage guests to one-up each other in the amount dropped in.

Put Freddie on your tip jar and watch the mercury rise. Or at least tip volume.

Pokemon Go! May have seen its heyday come and go but don’t let your patrons go without being compelled to tip.

Tip Box Jar

Sentiments of Shame

When all else fails, a little guilt trip never hurt anyone.

This one gets ‘em right in the kisser. 

Who even carries change anymore? I’ll tell you who won’t be: your customers after they see this sign.

  • Think before you drink: Tip your bartender

Nothing says “Give us money” like a challenge to think. Remind your patrons to remember their bartenders.

  • Don’t be a Kevin: Gum is not a Tip

Don’t be Kevin McAllister when lost in New York: Gum is not a tip. Make it clear you want real money, not just something to chew on.

Bonus points for pictures of Rose and Jack.

  • Imagine if you tipped women as often as you told them to smile

Get the smile-demanders thinking (and dropping dollars) for the folx behind the bar. (And maybe encourage them to stop demanding smiles).

  • It puts the tip in the basket

Silence your customers internal struggle towards tipping with this not-creepy-at-all tip request.

  • Tip me: bartending isn’t a hobby

Lest anyone forget, bartending is a job people do for money.

Tip Jar For A Cause

Tip for a Cause

Whether your cause is in jest or for an outside organization, some guests need a reason to give (and this can give your brewery an opportunity to pay it forward). Perhaps you match dollar-for-dollar or a percentage is given. On occasion, bartenders may agree to give 100% of proceeds to a given cause. When tips are going towards donations and outside causes, make sure to have full transparency and buy-in from your bartenders, without ostracizing those who cannot afford to have this sort of pay out. 

  • Animal Rescue

There is (almost) nothing better than walking into a brewery with a fence-full of adoptable pups. Coordinate with your local humane society and give a portion back to the dog-rescue community while encouraging people to take home a pet.

  • Domestic Violence

Though it is undoubtedly a heavy subject, giving back where it counts gives breweries the opportunity to tangibly help the community. Partner with a local shelter or organization to help with housing for those fleeing unsafe environments.

  • Neighborhood Organizations

Is your brewery in the heart of a neighborhood with a committee? Donate a portion of funds for things like newsletter printing, Little Free Libraries and a community garden— things small communities are always excited to implement.

  • School Supply Drive

While not fully tips, have patrons bring in books and supplies for your neighborhood school. Dedicate a portion of tips to the PTA or media center or a cause of the school’s choosing.

Tip Jar Votes

Cast your Vote

There are lots of friendly debates out there. Let your customers hash it out in the tip jar and let the bartenders reep the rewards.

  • Beer Styles

Nothing like a friendly rivalry between beer styles. Ask the golden question of your patrons and let them vote with their cash.

  • Glassware

Solve another beer world debate: which glassware is best? Snifter? Pilsner glass? Stein? Let the money do the talking.

  • Crowler vs. Growler

Are you more of a 32-ouncer or a 64? Crowlers are picnic-ready while growlers pack the punch as a keepsake vessel. 

  • Sports Team

Lakers or Celtics? Blue Devils or Tarheels? Die hard fans can’t not show their undying support. Make it a good one and hit close to home.

  • Favorite Bartender

If we are all in the vein of friendly competition, have patrons choose with their cash and coins who the favorite bartender is. Plot twist: the tips are split anyway so to the victor goes bragging rights only.

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When all else fails, incentivize 

If silly tactics aren’t enough, give people a reason to tip (albeit self-serving). 

  • Every dollar is an entry for a gift basket

Give the people a raffle they can’t refuse. A basket of beer and swag that doubles as tip incentive goes a long way. Every dollar is an entry (don’t forget the tickets!).

  • Largest tip gets a free beer

After a few beers, who doesn’t want a free one? Slyly talk customers into paying $20 for a beer. They get beer, tip averages go up; It’s a win-win.

  • Snacks and Treats

Set up a basket of pre-packaged crackers or treats at the end of the bar. The only payment required is a tip for the bartenders. It gives the impression of free food - and who doesn’t love even the idea of something free?

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Unique Ideas

To break the barrier of tipping, try some of these ideas sure to get money into your bartender’s hands (or directly into their account).

  • Venmo

Got a customer whose tab has been covered but wants to leave a tip? Skip ringing folks up for a penny or forcing the purchase of glassware in order to fill in the tip line. Display your bartenders’ Venmo codes on tip jars, sending the money directly to their accounts. If tip pooling, set up an account for the bartenders and share accordingly among the staff.

  • Birthday Love

Set up a special birthday tip fund for bartenders working on their birthday or close to it. Show your employees appreciation by way of added funds. Tie balloons, display their Venmo, give out cupcakes— celebrate your bartenders!


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Liz Logan
Post by Liz Logan
June 24, 2021
Liz Logan is a Charlotte-based freelance writer, editor and content manager working in both local and national publications. She holds a Certified Beer Server certification in the Cicerone hierarchy and spent eight years in craft beer bartending before turning the corner to write. Her free time is spent forcing her family to both sing and dance to Hamilton, compulsively stopping at thrift stores for things she doesn't need, and hugging her German Shepherd.