Bartending schools have always had mixed opinions from industry professionals. Many say bartending school is not really worth it, and that applicants should just save their money. Then there are individuals who have went to bartending school that defend themselves stating, most people who criticize bartending schools haven’t even attended a class themselves. Everybody always has an opinion about something, justified or not. So what’s the deal? Is bartending school truly worth it?
To start, lets get straight into what these facilities provide: Hands on experience (which is great for those with no experience in the industry at all) usually taught by experienced tenders, simulated bars (which in some places can get really intricate), and job placement. Class schedules are flexible and well paced and can be found most major cities.
Schools try to duplicate real world bartending situations, but these are often difficult to duplicate. For instance, after some investigation, real bartenders have said schools are not even teaching students the right way to make drinks! Most recipes are outdated. More so, the liquid used (water and food coloring) used to pour drinks don’t do students any justice because in the real world, they will be using thicker, more viscous, liqueurs such as kahluas.
Inquire more information if a school claims to have a job placement program. The reason for this is that most of the time, the ‘job placement’ program is just a bunch of leads, which by the way will be available to all students. On the other hand, some bars may offer positions to students if they are affiliated with the school. At the end of the day, it all still lies in the hands of the employer.
For many, bartending courses offer a chance to finally get all of their questions answered and pick the brains of instructors. Many have enjoyed going to bartending school and have even made friends and networks. Classes are laid-back and informative!
Bartending basics and mixology will be the most important things you will learn from these courses. Fundamentals never change, and learning these basics will ensure you get a good head start into the industry. Not knowing how to mix a drink in the real world will annoy your clients and coworkers, and waste your valuable time.
Always use caution when applying for a program. Take a trip to the school and find out if you can sit in a class and speak with those already taking the course. Interview some of the instructors. Quite often, this is often enough for applicants to come up with a final decision. This will likely save you lots of time and money. You cannot assume all bartending schools are created equal, so do your homework.
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