5 Top Bartending Schools Recommended by Professions
As a brand founded by passionate bartenders, our Barillio team is always thrilled to hear of anyone who wishes to practice their bartending and mixology skills. Therefore, we have dedicated this blog post to helping you understand what a bartending school is and whether this is a suitable path for you. We have also included five recommendations for the top bartending schools in the US and beyond.
What is a Bartending School?
A bartending school is designed to help budding bartenders learn their craft and become skilled mixologists while giving the students certifications they can use to enhance their Cv or obtain an alcohol license should they require one.
The courses cover specific bartending skills (such as pouring, measuring, garnishing, and choosing glassware) and general skills (such as customer service, dealing with drunk or aggressive customers, checking proof of age, and how to upsell).
These courses typically last at least 2 days or 12 hours. However, some more extensive courses may run for 100 hours. The average duration is approximately 7 days.
History of Bartending Schools
Although cocktails are a more modern invention, the art of bartending can date back as far as the Roman era. Of course, the Romans weren’t ordering mixed drinks like a Whiskey sour or sipping on a shaken Piña Colada on a summer’s evening. However, they did recognize the profession as drinking wine, beer, or ale was a popular pastime for many people.
Fast forward to 1933, the prohibition (ban on alcohol) was lifted, bars reopened to the public, and bars needed to hire multiple people at once and train them to serve alcohol. Up until this point, owners of bars and pubs would train bartenders on the job. However, with bar owners acquiring multiple bartenders at once, bartending schools became the most efficient way to ensure each member was trained before serving customers.
Since the post-prohibition era, bartending schools have popped up all over the country and even adapted to virtual learning to keep up with the current times.
Are Bartending Courses Worth it?
Before we dive into the best bartending schools you can attend, it’s worth considering whether a bartending course is worth your time, effort, and financial investment.
Are they required in your area?
If you are a beginner bartender, you may not need a bartending qualification to get a job in the industry.
In the US, some states require bartenders to be licensed, and you may need to complete a course to get an alcohol license. However, some states don’t require individuals to hold a license (only the establishment itself); for example, you don’t need a Bartending permit in New York to work as a bartender in the city.
However, even if your state doesn’t require professional qualifications or you are working outside the US, you may still benefit from finishing a course with a bartending school, as they can increase your confidence in mixology exponentially and improve your chances of finding a job.
How long do you plan to be a bartender or use these skills?
If you have a flare for bartending and want to dedicate yourself to this profession, either full-time or part-time, it may be worth investing in a professionally accredited course.
Although it seems like AI and robots may be taking over the world and will have most of our jobs by 2050, bartending as a career is actually looking at sticking around! According to the BLS, there is estimated to be an 18% growth in the employment of bartenders between 2021 and 2031. Therefore, it is worth investing in a course if you see this becoming your long-term career.
Are you looking to progress in your bartending career?
As mentioned, a bartending course can give you the necessary knowledge about creating drinks and give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs. Therefore, a professional course may be a great option if you feel stagnant in your bartending career and wish to move to a higher-paying establishment or move up to a managerial role.
Do you enjoy learning new skills?
Saying this, if you have a passion for serving drinks or learning new skills, a bartending course is very interesting and a lot of fun. So you may wish to take on the course simply to challenge yourself.
Which Course is Best for Bartending?
1-800 Bartending School is New York’s largest bartending academy that offers an 8-day comprehensive course. This course includes 2 nights of hands-on experience with a real bar in NYC to improve your skills and confidence.
If you can’t stretch to the 8-day full-time course, there is also a 3-day mini-program which is a great way to brush up on your skills and add a new certificate to your CV.
Prestige Bar Academy offers specialty bartending workshops and courses at five bartending facilities in Covina, CA. The PBA course runs over a one-week (full-time) or two-week (part-time) schedule, so you can choose the option to suit your other commitments.
Additionally, Prestige offers bar owners the opportunity to run private events so a whole team can learn a bartending topic of choice.
Join the 100,000 people who have graduated from American Bartenders School in New York. They offer 40-hour full-certification bartending courses or a selection of two-hour mini-classes in basic mixology, wine, and beer.
As a graduate, you can also take advantage of ABS placement service to help you find a job after the course.
National Bartenders courses cover 28 states and Canada, including 57 locations in California alone. Of course, the application process and exact course content will be dependent on the school you choose but generally, they will all cover key skills such as mixology, sanitation, upselling, the law, customer service, and more.
National Bartenders also offers add-on courses for niche skills such as flair bartending and bartending management.
The European Bartending School is the world’s largest bartending academy with 28 schools in 20 locations such as London, Paris, Sydney, New York, and Cape Town. This is the best school for gaining an international certificate in bartending.
Their signature course lasts 4 weeks, or you can choose a 1-week basic skills course, one of their online learning courses, or a specialist course.
Practice Your Bartending Skills at Home
Although we value bartending courses to gain mixology skills, you will also need to have enough passion for learning the craft to become a skilled mixologist.
If you are looking for a way to practice your bartending skills at home or parties, the Barillio complete mixology set (pro edition) is a great collection of tools to get you started. With two types of shakers and almost every bartending accessory you could need to practice making some cracking cocktails, this set is a great celebratory gift to buy yourself after completing a bartending course or a great set to try out bartending without forking out $100s for a course right away. Good Luck!