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How can I Become a Bartender?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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If you want to become a bartender, you will need to attend a bartending school. While attending a bartending school, you will learn how to mix and prepare a wide array of alcoholic drinks. You will also learn other skills necessary to become a successful bartender, such as how to properly store alcohol and care for the glassware used for the drinks.

If you live in a large city, there is likely to be a bartending school nearby for you to attend. If you live in a smaller city, however, you may need to travel in order to attend a bartending school. Increasingly, it is also possible to learn how to be a bartender by attending a distance education bartending school.

If you decide to become a bartender by attending a distance education school, you may complete the course entirely online, or the school may send videotapes of the classes to you. In order to get the feel of being a bartender, however, it is important to get hands-on experience at a real club, tavern, bar, or other institution that serves alcoholic beverages and requires a bartender. In order to gain practice as a bartender, the school you attend may help you set up a type of internship with a nearby bar, tavern, or club. This is not always the case, however, and you may be expected to establish this arrangement on your own.

In some cases, it is possible to be hired as a bartender without first attending a bartending school. It is still necessary to undergo proper training before working as a bartender, however. In this case, the employer may provide training for you and several other new employees who have been hired as bartenders.

There are several additional characteristics that are necessary to become a successful bartender. For example, you need to have excellent customer service skills. You will also need to be able to communicate with customers who have been drinking heavily. In order to prevent liability for the establishment, you might also be responsible for telling customers they cannot have any more to drink if you have determined they have already drunk too much.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon119622 — On Oct 18, 2010

Would working at starbucks be a really good reference for becoming a bartender, along with attending bartending school? i worked at starbucks for 2 1/2 years and left a shift manager. any response would be great. thanks.

By anon110615 — On Sep 12, 2010

I am a general manager of a large nightclub. I would never hire a bartender who attended a bartender school. Other managers I know feel the same way. The best way to start is working at a small lounge then work your way to something bigger.

By anon77823 — On Apr 15, 2010

Bartending school is completely unnecessary unless your state requires it. Most institutions could care less if your resume says your went to bartending school. They want experience, so if you really want to be a bartender then start off with a job as a server or brand and work your way up. That's the best way to get a job. Trust me.

By thepublican — On Mar 30, 2008

Whether you go to bartending school or not, what you really need is a plan. Everything is easier with a plan, getting a bartending job is no different.

By velikaribat — On Feb 15, 2008

You probably shouldn't like to drink too much because the temptation would be too great.... But at the same time you should probably like it to some degree since you'll be around it a lot!

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