Frequently Asked Questions

How old do you have to be to bartend in New York?

In New York (and most states) you have to be 18 or older to serve alcohol?

Do I need a ‘Bartenders License’ and 'High School Diploma' to bartend in New York or any other state?

Bartending has always been best part-time job to make some extra cash. However, for many it has become a lucrative career. Bartending is not the same as it was a decade ago. You cannot walk into an establishment and apply for a job without having learned the required knowledge & skills of modern day bartending and mixology. Owners and managers do not have the time to train people with zero knowledge of bartending. Going to bartending school is not about the certificate – its about the training! A reputable bartending school – a school that teaches all aspects of modern bartending and mixology – IS the best and fastest way to land a bartending position. We have establishments call the New York Bartending School all the time looking for graduates, as well as sending in their staff for training. However, it is not because they need that certificate, it is simply because of our excellent training program. So do I need a license to bartend? NO! What about a high school diploma NO! First of all there is no such thing as a ‘bartending license’. It is simply a ‘certification’ – received after completing and passing the schools exam(s). Do some establishments request it? YES!

Is this certificate good in any state?

YES. National & world-wide.

Do Bartending Schools use Real Alcohol?

Imagine throwing away over 5,000 drinks that you prepared during the entirety of the course. That’s a lot of booze right? Also a lot of money! So, yes, all bartending schools use colored water. However, at the New York Bartending School we use both colored water (necessary for the repetition learning process) and real alcohol in our advanced seminars on spirits, liqueurs, wine, beer and classic & signature drinks.

What do I look for when choosing a bartending school?

The modern bartending school is focused on providing a working education in the art, knowledge and skills of bartending and mixology. However, bartending schools are far from equal – so before you register to any bartending training institution, thoroughly research your options.

  1. Visit the facilities and sit in on a class in progress. Take a free bartending class, if offered.
  2. Compare the facilities and curriculum of several bartending schools.
  3. You should be learning BEHIND a bar, not at a desk.
  4. There should never be more than two students per cocktail station. Count the number of soda guns to establish the number of cocktail stations; double that number and that’s the maximum number of students that should be in the class.
  5. The modern day bartending school should include mixology and wine classes.
  6. Colored water is necessary for the repetition learning process in memorizing drinks, but a modern bartending school should include real alcohol in their mixology program.
  7. The bartending school should provide a job placement assistance program that includes (a)-an on-line job site, (b)-resume assistance, (c)-a job placement seminar, (d)-affiliation with a real bars to guest bartend – to achieve the behind the bar confidence upon graduation.
  8. Beware of bartending schools that inform you that you must have a license to bartend. Beware of advertisements…like those on craigslist that state “bartenders wanted – no experience – make $300 to $400 a night” – yes they are a scam! Beware of unlicensed bartending schools (not licensed by the New York Education Department)! Beware of schools that have no hands-on-training; like Barnard/Columbia, where you sit at a desk and take notes. No wonder some bartenders mock the bartending school industry, with the many unlicensed schools (and, unfortunately, some licensed schools), applying for jobs waiving a certificate which they have been informed is a ‘license to bartend’ with very little industry-level training to back it up.