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Bartending School Information

If you thrive in fast-paced, social environments, a bartending career could be a good fit for you. Bartenders are constantly on the move, taking orders, preparing drinks, and collecting tips. They must be great with people and able to prepare any drink a customer might order.

People interested in learning the art of bartending have an array of bartending schools from which to choose. While many individuals take bartending classes as amateurs, those interested in taking their interest to a professional level can find comprehensive lessons in both sides of the occupation – mixing the drinks and taking care of logistics. 

What Do You Learn at Bartending School?

As you can imagine, education is an important part of mastering hundreds of popular drink recipes and preparing for a fast-paced night behind the bar. Combined with experience, a bartending certificate shows employers that you have what it takes to run an efficient bar. Bartending school may cover any of the below topics:

The liquor: This may sound like a no-brainer, but knowing the differences between bourbon, whiskey, scotch, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and brandy is essential. Some schools also acquaint students with the many varieties of wines and beers. In addition, students learn the differences between the amount of liquor, wine, or beer that constitutes a “drink.”

Mixology: Bartenders may know hundreds and hundreds of drink recipes, along with a diverse lexicon of liquor terms. What, after all, makes a drink “bruised” or “screaming?” Students become familiar with a wide variety of tools (e.g. bar spoons or jiggers), glassware (e.g. martini glasses and shooters), and techniques (e.g. the very different shaking, stirring, and straining). There are also the helpful hints about how and when to use ice and garnishes. Lessons on accurate free pouring, meaning pouring without a measurement tool, ties all the elements together.

Customers: Bartending school may also involve useful lessons about handling the bar. Students can learn about handling money and credit cards and how to use point of sale systems. Before heading out into the busy workplace, students can also learn about the balance between customer service and cutting off troublesome customers, gain alcohol and liability awareness, and learn useful ways to check customers’ IDs. There’s also the practical yet important lesson about inventory control and bar setup and take down.

In addition, some bartending schools also include sessions on resume and interview tips. Novice bartenders who are particularly adept with their free pouring may even gain lessons in “flair” bartending.

Other Important Aspects of Bartending School

Can’t decide between bartending schools? Some bartending schools allow prospective students to sit in on a class for free.

Worried about forgetting some tricks or recipes after finishing school? Many bartending schools offer refresher courses to their graduates for free or for a minimal charge.

Can’t figure out whether or not an online bartending school is right for you? Know the pros and cons and make a decision based on your needs. On one hand, online bartending lessons generally carry a smaller price tag and are convenient, since students can practice mixing drinks at home. On the other hand, bartending is a social job; online schools may not simulate the busy environment of the workplace as well as schools with physical locations do.

Is Bartending School Necessary?

Gaining that first bartending job does not require bartending school training. Some talented bartenders have learned their skills on the job. However, a disadvantage of on-the-job training is that novice bartenders often pick up bad habits from their more experiences coworkers. Also, many find that bartending schools provide the right environment for learning how to make different drinks. Others choose to attend bartending classes to gain confidence before heading out into the competitive bartending job market.

Why Work as a Bartender?

Bartenders work in fun, social environments. Successful bartenders can make high pay during short work hours, mainly attributed to tips from customers. In addition, bartending is a highly versatile position: bartenders working in one location can find work in many different locales. Also, thanks to its flexible schedule, bartending can also be a great part-time position that can be balanced along with a day job.

What About Bartending Business and Management?

Are you curious about turning your bartending interest into a business proposition? Bartenders with ample business savvy can find success in restaurant management as well as hotel management roles. You can gain the right skills for such positions through a combination of degree programs and industry experience. Check out guides to restaurant management schools and hotel management schools for more information regarding education and careers.

If you want to make a career out of bartending, schools can supply the breadth of knowledge needed to work at the best bars and restaurants. When facing dozens of other candidates for a competitive position, education and experience is a powerful combination that can give you a leg up on the competition.

Additional Resources on Bartending Careers
Bureau of Labor Statistics information on careers in bartending
Occupational Information Network information on important bartending skills

Featured Bartending Business Schools

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The New England Culinary Institue was co-founded by Fran Voigt in 1980. Their vision was to create a unique educational institution based on the medical school model of 'learn-by-doing' training in real-life situations.
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