Brought to you by BeerMenus

7 surprising stats about bartenders gleaned from Reddit surveys

Last updated June 28, 2023 · By Dylan Blake

Shaun McGuire owned a bar before he graduated college. At this point he's been bartending for about 20 years and now works at 3 places in upstate NY, in and near Peekskill.

About a decade ago he was living the industry high life: making great money, buying a new truck, being the local celebrity. But he soon found himself in a tough spot. He got divorced, he struggled, and generally felt like he wasn't taking his professional life—or his life life—seriously enough.

Bit by bit he climbed out of that nadir, and eventually got to where he is today: a curious expert who now coaches bartenders on work/life balance, finances, etc. (You can learn more about that part of his life on his website,, and we'll also be diving into more of that stuff in the newsletter later this summer.)

For this week, I wanted to highlight some stats Shaun got from the multiple surveys he's run on Reddit's bartender forum (he just did so because he was curious). Very interesting stuff.

Shaun has found that the average bartender:

  • Is 28 years old.
  • Makes about $33/hour.
  • Has a gross annual income of $68,000.
  • Usually works at only one location.
  • Generally works 4 or more shifts per week.
  • Only bartends. It's their only job.

But the datapoint that surprised us the most was this: 40% of respondents said they still see themselves bartending in 10 years.

We both found it surprising because you so often run into folks who are just bartending during school, to get to the next phase of their life, to make it through the summer, etc. You know there are career bartenders, but they feel relatively few and far between. Not so.

Check out the interview clip for more on Shaun's backstory as well as the survey data he collected: