I decided to take an early retirement from a career as a flight attendant. I though it would also be a great idea to find a job as a bartender in a quaint bar or catering company; easy money, good hours, and lots of people. So I started my quest to find a reputable bartending school. I wanted to become an efficient, knowledgeable, and fast bartender. I searched the Internet, and checked out the classifieds looking for a good school. One school caught my eye; as the bartending program was part of the curriculum of a prestigious school. And with it’s prestigious location, it didn’t seem like it came with an expensive price tag. I thought, “Ooh my gosh, how can this be?” I called and sure enough it was a school in a lovely area that was a lot cheaper than most of the other schools I had found. I figured it must be decent since it is part of a prestigious university. So I signed up! Well I was not prepared for what followed. The Bartending School turned out to be an empty classroom with chairs and a desk. We met one night a week for a couple of hours. Liquor was rolled in on a cart, so were never exposed to a full bar. They lectured on mixing drinks and then you lined up and tried to make a drink yourself. There were so many students in the class that not all students were able to make each drink we were taught. I made five drinks during the entire five weeks course which consists of a total of 10 hours of training. It was difficult to learn and memorize the 150 drink recipes since I wasn’t able to participate in hands-on training to learn the ingredients and practice making them.
At the end of the course we were given a written test, and had to make one drink, and then tell a joke. This school doesn’t offer any refresher courses and if you fail, you cannot take the course again(unless you pay again). The job placement assistance is only available to students enrolled in the University, and then it is only for their catering service. Forget about looking for a job in a real bar; being able to make 5 drinks in 10 hours does not qualify anyone to be a bartender! I would have been much better off borrowing a drink recipe book from the library. I found out later that this particular Bartending School (actually it’s an agency) is not even licensed by the NY State Education Department!
Well, I was back on the road again to look for another school. I really did my research this time, checking school after school. My bartending school story has a happy ending, and I must say what a wonderful experience it was! Far better than I could have imagined! Thanks to the New York Bartending School in Midtown, Manhattan. This time I checked with the NY Education Department and found comments such as “an excellent school.” When I went to visit the school, the front office is modern and staffed with pleasant employees. The two classrooms were set-up like real bars, I signed up immediately.
The course was intense, but I looked forward to coming in everyday and getting there early to practice what I had learned the day before. The trick was to memorize the drinks and the formulas first, which the New York Bartending School teaches you an easy way to memorize them, and provides you the tools you need to be successful. The instructors and the owner assured us that we would all learn the drinks, spirits, liqueurs, wine, beer, beverage service, opening and closing procedures of an establishment, alcohol awareness, and much more. Basically, we’d learn everything we needed to start us down the right path of our bartending career. The speed test is the most feared -we had to make twenty drinks in while the instructor calls out the names of each drink and times you with a stop watch. I was so nervous but I made it. Many students made it in less than five minutes. The school prepares you to work in the best and fastest-paced bars in New York City. New York Bartending School allows you to repeat the course as many times as you’d like with no additional charge.
Thank you, New York Bartending School for a wonderful experience and giving me the confidence to suceed with a new trade. Maria Simanca