Bartenders Training Programs and Schools

Jan 15, 2024

12 Min Read

1. What type of training do bartenders receive before working?

Before working, many bartenders receive training in areas such as:

– Legal responsibilities: This may include understanding laws and regulations related to serving alcohol, checking for IDs, dealing with intoxicated patrons, and knowing when to stop serving someone.
– Drink recipes and techniques: Bartenders are typically trained on how to make a variety of cocktails, shots, mixed drinks, and other popular beverages. They also learn techniques for properly shaking, stirring, pouring, and garnishing drinks.
– Product knowledge: Bartenders should have a good understanding of the types of liquor, beer, wine, and mixers that are commonly available at their bar. They may also receive training specific to the brands sold at their establishment.
– Customer service: Good bartenders know how to engage with customers in a friendly and professional manner. They may receive training on how to handle difficult customers or diffuse potential conflicts.
– Cash handling: Many bartenders are responsible for handling money and processing payments. Training on proper cash handling procedures can help ensure accuracy and protect against theft or fraud.

2. How do bartenders learn new drink recipes?
Bartenders can learn new drink recipes in a variety of ways including:

– On-the-job training: When starting at a new bar or restaurant, bartenders will typically receive training on the establishment’s specific drink menu.
– Attending classes or workshops: Some bars or organizations may offer classes or workshops focused on teaching new drink recipes.
– Online resources: There are many online resources available for bartenders looking to expand their knowledge of different drink recipes. This can include websites, blogs, YouTube channels, and social media pages dedicated to cocktail recipes.
– Experimentation: Many bartenders enjoy experimenting with different ingredients and flavors to create unique drink recipes. This can be done during slow shifts or after hours when there is time to play around with ingredients.
– Networking with other bartenders: Attending industry events or connecting with other bartenders can be a great way to learn new drink recipes and exchange ideas.

3. Is there a certification process for becoming a bartender?
There is no universal certification process for becoming a bartender, as requirements may vary by state or country. However, some establishments may require their bartenders to complete specific training or certification programs before working.

In the United States, the most common certification is the ServSafe Alcohol Program, which teaches safe serving practices and helps prevent alcohol-related accidents and incidents. Other certifications, such as TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures), also focus on responsible alcohol service.

Some bartending schools may also offer their own certifications upon completion of their courses. These certificates may hold weight with certain establishments but are not typically required to become a bartender.

4. Are there any other skills or qualities that make a good bartender?
Aside from having knowledge of drink recipes and techniques, good bartenders tend to have strong communication skills, an outgoing personality, and the ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment. They should also have good hand-eye coordination and be able to work well under pressure.

Other important qualities that make a good bartender include:

– Attention to detail: Bartenders need to be precise when measuring ingredients for drinks and handling money.
– Time management: Bartenders must juggle multiple tasks at once, such as taking orders from customers, making drinks, processing payments, and managing inventory.
– Problem-solving: Dealing with difficult customers or resolving conflicts among patrons can require quick thinking and problem-solving skills.
– Salesmanship: A skilled bartender can use their knowledge of different drinks and ingredients to upsell higher-priced items or create custom cocktails for customers.

Bartending is also physically demanding job – standing for long periods of time behind the bar, carrying heavy trays of glasses or bottles, and quickly moving around the bar area requires stamina and physical strength.

2. How long is the typical bartending training program?

The length of a bartending training program can vary depending on the specific program and course structure. On average, a bartending training program can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks to complete. Some programs may offer accelerated courses that can be completed in as little as a few days, while others may offer more in-depth programs that can take several months to finish. Ultimately, the length of the program will depend on the intensity and depth of instruction offered by the school or training program.

3. Are there different levels or levels of proficiency in bartending training?

Yes, there are different levels or levels of proficiency in bartending training. Some common levels include:

1. Beginner/Introductory Level: This level is for individuals with little to no prior experience in bartending. It covers the basics of bartending such as drink recipes, bar set-up and basic mixing techniques.

2. Intermediate Level: This level is for those who have some experience in bartending and want to further develop their skills. It may cover more complex drink recipes, advanced mixology techniques, and customer service skills.

3. Advanced Level: This level is for experienced bartenders looking to refine their skills and take on leadership roles within the bar industry. It may cover topics such as menu development, advanced mixology concepts, and business management.

4. Specialty/Advanced Skills Level: Some programs also offer specialty or advanced skills training for specific areas of bartending such as flair bartending or molecular mixology.

It is important to research the curriculum and requirements of each program to determine which level best suits your needs and goals.

4. Is there a certification or licensing process for bartenders?

Yes, there are certification programs and license requirements for bartenders in many regions. These can vary by state or country, and some establishments may have their own training programs in addition to any required certifications. In order to become certified or licensed, bartenders may have to complete training courses or pass a written exam covering topics such as responsible serving practices, alcohol laws and regulations, and drink preparation techniques.

5. What topics are covered in a typical bartending training program?

1. Basic bartending skills: This includes learning how to pour drinks, mix different types of cocktails, and use bar tools properly.

2. Alcohol knowledge and responsible service: Bartenders must have a thorough understanding of different types of alcohol, their effects on the body, and responsible service practices to ensure the safety of their customers.

3. Drink recipes: Students will learn how to make popular and classic cocktails as well as new and innovative drinks.

4. Bar set-up: Bartending training programs typically cover how to properly stock the bar, organize ingredients and tools, and keep a clean work environment.

5. Customer service: Good customer service is an essential aspect of bartending. Training programs often include tips on how to provide excellent customer service while also dealing with difficult customers.

6. Sales techniques: Bartenders are not only responsible for making drinks but also selling them. Topics may include upselling techniques and suggestive selling strategies.

7. Mixology: More advanced training programs may cover mixology, which focuses on creating unique and original cocktails using different flavor profiles, ingredients, and techniques.

8. Wine knowledge: Many bartending training programs include education on wine varietals, proper serving procedures, and pairing suggestions.

9. Beer knowledge: Along with wine knowledge, beer knowledge is important for a well-rounded bartender. Training may cover different types of beer styles, pouring techniques, and knowledge about international beers.

10. Bar management skills: Some bartending programs may incorporate lessons on bar management, including inventory control, cash handling procedures, budgeting, and staff supervision.

6. Do bartending schools provide hands-on experience or just theoretical knowledge?

It depends on the specific bartending school and their program. Some schools may provide hands-on experience through simulated bar setups or actual practice with tools and ingredients. Others may focus more on theoretical knowledge and have students practice outside of class hours. It is important to research and ask about the curriculum and teaching methods of a bartending school before enrolling.

7. Is it necessary to attend a formal bartending school to become a bartender?

No, it is not always necessary to attend a formal bartending school to become a bartender. While some employers may require or prefer applicants with formal training, many bartenders learn on the job or through self-study and practice. However, attending a bartending school can provide valuable skills and knowledge that can make you stand out as an applicant in a competitive job market.

8. Are there any specific courses or programs for learning about mixology and craft cocktails?

Yes, many bartending schools, culinary schools, and community colleges offer courses or certification programs specifically focused on mixology and crafting cocktails. Some examples include:

1. The BarSmarts program by Bacardi and the United States Bartenders’ Guild offers an online course and in-person workshops for bartender education and mixology.

2. The International Bartender Training Program (IBT) by European Bartender School is a comprehensive course that covers the history of cocktails, spirits knowledge, bar techniques, and creating classic and modern cocktails.

3. The Professional Mixologist Certificate program at the Culinary Institute of America provides hands-on training in mixology techniques and the art of creating signature cocktails.

4. Local community colleges also offer mixology courses as part of their hospitality or foodservice programs.

5. Many cocktail bars also offer workshops or masterclasses where experienced mixologists share their knowledge and techniques with aspiring bartenders.

6. Online platforms such as Skillshare, Udemy, and MasterClass may also have courses on mixology and craft cocktails taught by industry professionals.

9. Do these training programs teach responsible serving and handling of alcohol?

Most training programs for alcohol service do cover responsible serving and handling of alcohol. This can include topics such as recognizing signs of intoxication, techniques for managing difficult situations with customers, understanding legal responsibilities and liabilities, and responding appropriately to minors attempting to purchase alcohol. Responsible serving and handling of alcohol is an important aspect of these training programs as it helps to promote a safe and responsible drinking culture in the hospitality industry.

10. How much does it cost to attend a bartending training program?

The cost of attending a bartending training program can vary widely depending on the type of program, location, and duration. On average, a basic bartending course can cost anywhere from $100 to $500. More advanced and comprehensive programs may cost upwards of $1,000 or more. It’s best to research different programs and compare prices before making a decision. Additionally, some programs may offer discounts or payment plans for students.

11. Are there any age restrictions for enrolling in a bartending school?

Most bartending schools require students to be at least 18 years old to enroll. This is because the legal drinking age in the United States is 21, and bartending involves serving and handling alcoholic beverages. Some schools may also have a minimum age requirement for their courses due to the physical demands of the job, such as standing for long periods of time and lifting heavy objects. It is important to check with your chosen bartending school for their specific age requirements before enrolling.

12. Is it common for bars and restaurants to provide on-the-job training for new hires instead of attending a formal school?

Yes, it is common for bars and restaurants to provide on-the-job training for new hires instead of attending a formal school. Many establishments prefer to train their employees on-site to ensure that they are familiar with the specific procedures and standards of the establishment. This also allows for a more hands-on learning experience and can be more cost-effective for the employer. In some cases, bartending or serving schools may offer additional specialized training, but it is not always necessary for entry-level positions in the industry.

13. Can you work as a bartender without any prior experience or training?

It is possible to work as a bartender without prior experience or training, but it is not recommended. Bartending requires knowledge of various drinks, techniques, and customer service skills. Without any training or experience, it may be difficult to perform the job duties effectively and provide a high level of customer satisfaction. Many employers prefer to hire bartenders with some experience or education in the field.

14. Do these programs help with job placement after completing the course?

It varies depending on the specific program. Some programs may offer job placement assistance or resources, while others may not have this option available. It is important to research the program thoroughly and ask about their job placement services before enrolling. Additionally, completing relevant internships or building a strong network within the industry can also greatly increase job opportunities after completing the course.

15. Are online bartending courses as effective as in-person ones?

It depends on the individual and their learning style. Online bartending courses can be just as effective as in-person ones if the individual is motivated, disciplined, and able to follow instructions and practice bartending techniques on their own. However, some people may benefit more from hands-on instruction and feedback from a trainer in an in-person setting. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to determine which method of learning works best for them.

16. Are there any specialized schools or programs for certain types of bars, such as sports bars or upscale establishments.

Yes, there are specialized schools and programs for certain types of bars. For example, there are bartending schools that focus on teaching the skills necessary for working in a sports bar or a nightclub. There are also courses and certifications available for those interested in managing or owning upscale establishments such as wine bars or cocktail lounges. Additionally, some hospitality or culinary schools offer classes specifically tailored to the bar industry, with a focus on topics such as mixology, beverage selection, and bar management.

17 Is it possible to earn college credits through a bartender training program?

Yes, some bartending training programs offer the opportunity to earn college credits through partnerships with accredited colleges or universities. These programs typically require students to complete a certain number of hours of training and successfully pass exams before receiving the credits. However, not all programs offer this option so it is important to research and confirm before enrolling in a specific program. Additionally, the number of credits earned may vary depending on the school and program.

18 Are there any legal requirements for obtaining a bartending license in different states/countries.

Yes, there are typically legal requirements for obtaining a bartending license in different states and countries. These requirements can vary and include things like age restrictions, completion of an approved training course, passing a bartending exam, and/or background checks. It is important to research the specific requirements for your desired location before pursuing a bartending license. Some states or countries may not require a separate license but instead incorporate bartending training and certification into their alcohol serving laws. Consult with local government agencies or industry associations for more information.

19 Can these programs also cover other aspects of bar tending such as inventory management and customer service skills?

Yes, some bartending programs may also cover inventory management and customer service skills. It depends on the specific program and curriculum offered by the school or organization. Some programs may offer specialized courses or workshops on these topics, while others may integrate them into their overall training program for bartenders. It is important to research and inquire about the specifics of a program before enrolling to ensure it aligns with your learning goals and objectives.

20 How do I know if a particular bartending school is reputable and accredited?

1. Research the school’s accreditation: Look for information on the school’s website or research online to see if the school is accredited by a reputable accrediting agency, such as the National Bartenders Association (NBA) or the Professional Bartending Schools of America (PBSA).

2. Check for state licensing requirements: Some states require bartending schools to be licensed in order to operate. Check with your state’s department of education or consumer affairs to see if there are any licensing requirements for bartending schools in your area.

3. Look for affiliations with industry organizations: Reputable bartending schools often have affiliations with professional organizations, such as the National Restaurant Association, which can indicate that they meet certain standards and have a good reputation within the industry.

4. Read reviews and testimonials: Look for reviews and testimonials from current or former students of the bartending school. This can give you an idea of their experiences and whether they felt the school was reputable and provided them with valuable skills and knowledge.

5. Talk to local bartenders: Reach out to local bars and restaurants and ask about their hiring practices and whether they value training from specific bartending schools. This can give you insight into which schools are well-regarded by industry professionals in your area.

6. Inquire about curriculum and program length: A reputable bartending school should have a comprehensive curriculum that covers all aspects of bartending, including mixology, customer service, liquor laws, and safety procedures. The program should also be long enough (usually 1-2 weeks) to provide thorough training.

7. Ask about job placement assistance: A reputable bartending school will often offer job placement assistance for graduates, which can be a sign that they have established relationships within the industry.

8. Consider pricing and payment options: While price shouldn’t be your only factor in choosing a reputable bartending school, excessively low prices may raise red flags about the quality of the program. Look for schools that offer payment options, such as financing or installment plans, rather than requiring full payment upfront.

9. Trust your gut: If something about the school seems off or too good to be true, it’s best to trust your instincts and look into other options. Reputable bartending schools should be transparent and open about their accreditation and program offerings.


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