Bartender is a job that calls for a combination of creativity, people skills, and hard work. But in order to become a bartender, you have to learn the skills, and get some experience. Unlike most professions, there are limited resources available to actually teach someone how to bartend. However there are three main ways in which you can learn. The first is by attending an in-person bartending school. The second is by learning online with video instruction. The third way to learn how to bartend is by taking our “Bartending Masterclass” here at The Bar School. So let’s dive in and explain each option.
They have schools for bartenders?
Well… sort of. A bartending school is not like your typical accredited university that has degree programs. A bartending school is typically a one week course, priced around $500, taught by a former bartender, at a physical location set up to replicate the work station of an actual bar. These bartending schools are scattered all across the U.S, all privately owned, and chances are you might have one or two in your area.
The second way to learn how to bartend is by teaching yourself through online training and videos. You could go one route of doing your research, watching YouTube videos, and scavenging the internet for tips and tricks. You could also try taking one of the few bartending “courses” that exist online.
Here is the problem with the current online options. Say you want to go the route of learning through YouTube videos and other resources. You have to do a lot of research, meaning watching multiple versions of the same video, to give you a well rounded idea on the concept. Along with that, you are more apt to find videos about drink recipes than you are ones that show you the skills to actually do the job. When it comes to bartending, it’s a hell of a lot more than just mixing drinks. There are sales skills required, operations management skills, accounting skills, and customer service skills. Chances are you wont get all that from YouTube.
But what about the existing “online bartending courses”, are those any good?
Yes and No. There are a few online bartending courses that do hold some value from a mixology standpoint. They are taught by some bartenders with clout, who have done some amazing things in their own careers. So as far as what they teach, its all practical, and holds some weight. These classes dive a little deeper into how to make some more complex drinks, and sprinkle in a few tips that you might not get from a simple recipe video.
Here is the problem that we have with those online courses. They are sponsored by some of the major brand portfolios, making them extremely biased and sales driven. These courses are funded entirely by the major brands, which restricts them as far as what and how they teach. If a classic recipe is known for using a specific brand of spirit, the videos are going to modify that to use the portfolios brand, which might not always be what the classic recipe calls for. Along with this, the goal of the course is not to teach you how to become the next greatest bartender. These courses are designed to subliminally sell you a product.
It’s because of certain flaws in each version that we decided to create our own bartending course. We wanted to create a course that someone who had no experience could take, and leave feeling comfortable enough to go and apply for a bartending job. We made what is currently one of the only unbiased courses available on the internet if you are looking to learn how to bartend. Our “Bartending Masterclass” walks you through the tools of the trade, the spirits you will use, and teaches not only how to make the most common drinks, but how to actually perform the functions of the job. The short modules make it easy to follow at your own pace, on your own time. So if you work a job, go to school, or have kids, you can work around your busy life to learn these skills when it’s convenient for you. And with a little practice, you can build up enough confidence that you can go apply for that first bartending job, and start working hands on in the industry.
Whatever option you decide to go with, just know that in order to be a good bartender, you have to study, focus, practice, and continue to learn. The world needs reliable bartenders that take pride in their work. With the right attitude, and the right training, you could be the next great bartender!