To take a bartending class or not?!?

  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    May 12, 2011 6:43 PM GMT
    I am 20, and currently on summer break. My mother is rather insistent I take a bartending course, she is SURE it will help me better find a job.

    Aside form how much it costs, is there any reason I should not do it?

    I would lvoe to get into bartending, and yes, I am aware that most places want you to start as a busboy/server/host first

    Any opinions/tips on getting into bartending?
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    May 12, 2011 6:47 PM GMT
    many bartending schools are effectively agencies that will restaurants book their new hires from. i took a course, and the bars and restaurants would hire direct from the school. so basically, you were paying to have access to work. if you wanted to do the work is another question. take a look at the job and see if you want to actually do it, if so, then find a school and see how their hiring rate is.
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    May 12, 2011 6:50 PM GMT
    I've been having trouble finding hiring rate. ANd I have worked in the clubbing industry in toronto before, and spent a lot of time in club in vancouver, not during hours, but before and after, so I've seen the work bartenders do.
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    May 12, 2011 6:51 PM GMT
    I recommend it. I've always wanted to do it and I hear they get paid higher than ones who they just train as they go along.
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    May 12, 2011 6:59 PM GMT
    I've heard stories of people who wanted to work at a specific bar or club and hung out there during the slow times, making friends with the staff and management. They did not go to bar tending school, but learned by watching the bartenders and on the job. It's another option.

    I worked as a bartender in college and I didn't go to bar tending school. The company I worked for contracted jobs through the university or the greek system. Most weekeneds I was paid to flirt with the frat boys and sorority girls. Fun times.
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    May 12, 2011 7:01 PM GMT
    Mmhmm. See back in Vancouver,where I am going back to in august, I have a lot of abrtender friends. I was jsut wondering if maybe a school would help me stay less time as a busboy you know? like gimme a leg up over the other busboys.
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    May 12, 2011 7:20 PM GMT
    mizu5 saidMy mother is rather insistent I take a bartending course, she is SURE it will help me better find a job.

    Here's a college bartending success story which may motivate you to go for it.

    One of my nieces, 6' in heels, stacked and gorgeous, became a bartender at 21. She'd gone to a third tier commuter college in Florida as a communications major with no idea of what she'd do for a living. The economy tanked during her senior year but she was the only one of her many friends in her class to land a job before graduating because one of her bar customers offered her a job as a corporate trainer for his company's software company. With no technical experience and a degree and alma mater largely considered worthless she's now, at 25 (in Florida yet!) earning nearly six figures since being hired back by that same patron after she jumped ship for a better opportunity a year before because, as it turned out, no one could dumb down and present the technical coursework in as unintimidating and relatable a way as she could so his clients loved her. So because she caught someone's eye and ear at a bar she worked at I now get to meet up with her a couple times a year when her job brings her to New York. The moral of this story? Take the course and someday you too can meet me for drinks, lol.
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    May 12, 2011 7:23 PM GMT
    Taking a bartending class would be great for grasping the knowledge you'll need for the job. However, keep in mind that even with that class, most places will not hire people until they are 21 (or of legal drinking age) - that way you can taste the drinks you are making.
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    May 12, 2011 7:34 PM GMT
    krwright13 saidTaking a bartending class would be great for grasping the knowledge you'll need for the job. However, keep in mind that even with that class, most places will not hire people until they are 21 (or of legal drinking age) - that way you can taste the drinks you are making.


    I live in canada, 18 or 19 is the dirnking age here. 19 where I am, so being 20, i'm golden.
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    May 12, 2011 8:36 PM GMT
    I'd fit in so well at a twink bar, if only such things existed!
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    May 12, 2011 11:19 PM GMT
    pleasehalpnowmorepeopleareonline
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    May 12, 2011 11:21 PM GMT
    mizu5 saidI'd fit in so well at a twink bar, if only such things existed!
    Johnny's, on Broward Blvd in Ft Lauderdale.
    Not that I've ever been there or anything like that. icon_cool.gif
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    May 13, 2011 2:50 AM GMT
    Attention: aspiring bartenders, DJ's, and other seekers of employment in bars/clubs..

    It's not what you know, it's who you know.

    Don't waste money on a bartending class. Most bartenders learn on the job. And even then, they can't even get shit right. The key skills you need to have:

    - Look pretty
    - Be good with money
    - Know how to serve drinks fast
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    May 13, 2011 3:24 AM GMT
    I went to bartending class when I was about 21. Never became a bartender, but was a DJ at the nightclub I wanted to work at instead. Never poured a drink for anyone to show skill or anything, but I had DJ'ed a few house parties for friends that worked at the bar, so they knew I could mix music and had a fun collection. Wouldn't you know it; now I bartend at friends' parties from time to time. It's really fun as a hobby, but I don't know that I'd want to do it as a job. DJing wasn't nearly as fun when I 'had' to do it.

    In other words, it's who you know that will get you the job.
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    May 13, 2011 3:26 AM GMT
    mizu5 saidI am 20, and currently on summer break. My mother is rather insistent I take a bartending course, she is SURE it will help me better find a job.

    Aside form how much it costs, is there any reason I should not do it?

    I would lvoe to get into bartending, and yes, I am aware that most places want you to start as a busboy/server/host first

    Any opinions/tips on getting into bartending?


    DUDE!
    Do it, I would if I could. That'd be soemthign crazy to do.
  • melloyello

    Posts: 149

    May 13, 2011 3:28 AM GMT
    +1 xRichx

    I worked for a world famous, extremely busy nightclub (1,000+ drinks per shift).

    They actually *don't* hire people who take bartending classes unless they have experience. The classes teach you how to make fancy drinks and make them look pretty and most clubs would rather have you be quick and good with the money.

    Your better off getting work as security or cleanup and making it clear you'd like to barback, then making it clear you'd like to bartend. You'll learn on the job whats needed quicker.
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    May 13, 2011 4:08 AM GMT
    One bartender told me that the best way to get a job at a bar was to first work any job at some restaurant that happens to have bar. Then find your way to working in that bar just to build enough time and experience to transfer to somewhere else you'd rather be at. Everything you would've learned at bar tending school you could pick up along the way.
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    May 13, 2011 4:10 AM GMT
    I just found my job by making a bogus resume and it worked fine.
    They will never check references....although Vancouver is the only place on earth where they alctually do. I went to the Metropolitan Bartending school in Kits a few years ago and I liked it.
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    May 13, 2011 5:10 AM GMT
    Plus, there are various books and websites that teach you how to make popular cocktails. Just practice at home until you know how to make the drinks quickly and without measuring.
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    May 13, 2011 5:28 AM GMT
    i did a short course that teaches you the basics, and ends with a three hour shift in a nearby bar, to build up your experience. just having it behind your belt looks better.
    i now work in a bar, and as soon as they hired me (as a glassy- i think americans call them busboys, not sure lol), saw i had bar experience and put me behind the bar, and kept me there. so id say do the course.. might even learn something you didnt know. plus saves time for the bar having to train you about the basics. i dont know how it works over there, but here in australia, it also helps a lot (and i think soon to be a requirement) to do a responsible service of gambling course and get your gaming license. boosts your credibility alot.
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    May 13, 2011 5:42 AM GMT
    It really depends on what you plan on doing. If you are after employment in a club skip the school. Nobody is going to order some 7 layer pousse cafe or even a bloody grasshopper and nobody will ever ask you to pour one (at least not in any bar I worked in.) Usually management needs to know that you would arrive for every shift (that you are actually reliable in an industry of flakes) and could be trusted with cash and not to get overly plastered and I feel that is the reason for usually starting as a bus boy or the likes.

    If you know bartenders in Van, you might see what they can do to help. I know one guy who ended up behind the bar because while he was a "runner" he would pour for his friend when the bar was "dead" on weeknights or before the rush and the bartender needed a smoke or a break. Eventually he started pouring when he had a little time even when it was busy and almost ended up behind the bar "by default." If you have a friend who could get you started on slow nights it might be your best bet (management know that you are friendly, reliable and can handle cash.)

    If you are willing to start at a pub or smaller, less popular place you can easily get paid for getting experience and it may be easier to get a foot in the door.

    On the other hand you are after employment at some upscale club or restaurant it may be worth looking into (I've never worked one, but assume that knowing how to pour more than a rye and coke might be required.)

    Finally, you probably already know this- but don't make it a career. It is fun for a few years when you are young and it is not bad $$$ for a 20 year old, but I have met very few 35 year olds working at a bar that are worthy of any respect (though there were one or two notable exceptions.) A pub or hospitality; yes. But a club or bar (especially the guys) is usually a sure sign that they are trying to hold on to youth which has long since left them.

    ***Edit: Bi93 is right about the course. In Alberta (and I believe BC) it is offered free though the government and you should take it.


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    May 13, 2011 5:42 AM GMT
    mizu5 saidI've been having trouble finding hiring rate. ANd I have worked in the clubbing industry in toronto before, and spent a lot of time in club in vancouver, not during hours, but before and after, so I've seen the work bartenders do.


    It sounds like you already have your foot in the door at the club you've work at. Take advantage of that and the contacts you've made there.
    You'll just have to work your way in. Good Luck
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    May 13, 2011 5:13 PM GMT
    You should do it!

    i'm a bartender/waiter/barrister in the holidays off from college and bartending is by far my favourite, its such a social job and is so much fun! icon_smile.gif

    I would just get a position in your local area, I was a waiter first, but i was put on the bar full time after a week icon_smile.gif

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    May 13, 2011 5:22 PM GMT
    I'd consider doing it just so I wouldn't be so clueless when it comes to drinks, period.. even though I don't drink!

    Good luck with it. We'd like to hear more about the class/course you end up taking!
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    May 13, 2011 5:42 PM GMT
    If you are going to get a job elsewhere, why not interview the places where you are? Ask them what they think of bartending school grads and if they go there looking to hire.

    My guess is that you will find that most of them train their bartenders the way they want and look amongst the staff to do so. Try getting a job as a bar back. All of the work and none of the glamour, but you get to see it all at very close hand while youy are stocking beers and changing kegs and getting ice...