Bartending Schools in Chicago: Your Guide to Professional Mixology Training

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: February 11, 2024
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Selecting the right bartending school is crucial for those serious about making a career in the industry. Chicago’s renowned bartending schools, like A-List Startenders and ABC Bartending School, emphasize the art of drink-making and the importance of service-oriented professionalism.

In addition to teaching cocktail recipes and bar etiquette, they also offer resources for job placement, highlighting their commitment to student success beyond the classroom. For those looking to turn their passion for bartending into a lucrative career, the city’s bartending schools are essential for getting started.

Key Takeaways

  • ABC Bartending Schools, Elitte Bartending School, and A-List Startenders are 3 of the best-known schools in the Chicago area.
  • Education in bartending extends beyond drink recipes to include customer service and ethical practices.
  • Completing a bartending program can enhance job prospects in the competitive Chicago hospitality industry.

Exploring Bartending Schools in Chicago

Choosing a reputable bartending school in Chicago can lead to mastering the art of mixology, opening doors to a vibrant career in bars and restaurants. From the hands-on experience to the networking opportunities, each aspect of these programs is designed to equip students with the skills needed for success.

The following well-regarded bartending schools in Chicago:

  • ABC Bartending Schools: A nationwide chain with a reputable option offering a range of courses to suit different needs and schedules. (link)
  • A-List Startenders: A modern bartending school with experienced instructors, state-of-the-art facilities, and a focus on developing skilled and confident bartenders. (link)
  • Elitte Bartending School: Elitte offers hands-on learning, expedited training and Internship opportunities through their staffing agency. (link)

Selecting the Right Bartending School

When selecting a bartending school, future students should consider the school’s reputation and the success of its graduates. Schools like ABC Bartending School come highly recommended, boasting extensive programs that delve into both the theoretical and practical aspects of bartending.

Bartending Courses and Mixology Classes

Courses typically involve learning a wide range of cocktails, the essentials of drink mixing, wine and beer service, and the art of mixology. Classes such as those offered by Elitte Bartending School focus not only on recipes but also on the creativity and presentation of drinks.

Advantages of Professional Training

Under expert guidance, students gain marketable skills beyond basic drink mixing. Professional training provides a deep understanding of crafting the perfect cocktail and the finesse required for exceptional customer service.

Career Opportunities Post-Graduation

Graduates from bartending programs in Chicago have several career opportunities, such as working in high-end bars and restaurants or opening their own establishments. A solid education in bartending increases job prospects and the potential to earn more money as a professional bartender.

Program Scheduling and Flexibility

Bartending schools typically offer flexible scheduling options, including night and weekend classes, to accommodate students’ busy lives. This allows individuals to learn and practice without sacrificing their jobs or personal commitments.

Learning from Experienced Instructors

Students benefit from training under experienced instructors with extensive industry knowledge. These professionals offer invaluable insights and one-on-one mentorship, helping students refine their skills.

Hands-On Experience

Hands-on experience is a cornerstone of bartending education. Programs include practical sessions where students mix drinks and interact with mock customers, simulating real bar situations.

Networking and Industry Events

Participation in networking and various industry events can be vital. Bartending schools often have connections with local bars and industry professionals, which can help students get their foot in the door.

Certification and Licensing

Graduating from a bartending school in Illinois usually comes with the necessary certification. While specific licensing may be required to serve alcohol legally, schools often guide through the process, ensuring all legal Chicago and Illinois regulations are met.

The Benefits of Bartending

Bartending offers various advantages for those interested in the service industry, ranging from flexible work hours to the creative joy of mixology, financial incentives and networking opportunities.

Flexibility and Creativity in Bartending

Bartenders enjoy a high degree of flexibility in their work schedules, making it an appealing career for individuals seeking a balance between their professional and personal lives. The dynamic environment of bars and restaurants ensures that each shift brings a new experience. Moreover, bartending infuses creativity as bartenders create and mix an extensive variety of cocktails and drinks, turning mixology into an evolving art form.

The Financial Rewards of Bartending

In the realm of financial gains, bartending can be quite lucrative. Bartenders often earn competitive wages, and tips can significantly increase their take-home pay. Mastering the mixology skills and tasting knowledge needed to craft exceptional drinks allows bartenders to work at high-end establishments, further boosting their potential to earn more.

Building a Social and Professional Network

Bartenders have the unique opportunity to network with a wide array of patrons, from regular bar-goers to industry professionals. This social interaction enhances their workday and often leads to building valuable connections that can advance their career and open doors to new job opportunities, sometimes even leading to becoming bar owners themselves.

Continuous Learning and Personal Growth

Personal growth and continuous learning are inherent to bartending. Individuals in this field are encouraged to stay updated with industry trends and expand their education and skills through training programs or bartending schools. This learning aspect of the job ensures that bartenders remain versatile and knowledgeable, essential for career longevity.

Exploring the Diversity of Cocktails and Drinks

The extensive array of cocktails and drinks that a bartender must be familiar with speaks to the diversity of the role. Proficiency in mixing, tasting, and presenting beverages, from classic wine selections to innovative cocktail creations, contributes to a bartender’s skill set. Bartenders are gently introduced to the vastness of the beverage world, becoming connoisseurs who can delight patrons with their fun and palate-pleasing concoctions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a license to bartend in Chicago?

In Chicago, bartenders are required to have a BASSET (Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training) certification, which serves as the necessary license to serve alcohol legally.

You can take your BASSET training online through 360Training. This includes the training and test; you’ll receive a certification upon completion.

What are the top-rated institutions for bartending education in the Chicago area?

Top-rated institutions for bartending education include A-List Startenders, recognized for its modern approach to bartending training, and ABC Bartending Schools, known for its long-standing reputation and industry connections.

Are there opportunities to attend bartending school in Chicago at no cost?

Free bartending courses in Chicago are rare; however, some workplaces might provide employee training at no additional cost to the individual.

How much does it cost to attend a bartending school in Chicago?

The cost to attend a bartending school in Chicago can vary widely depending on the program length and school reputation, typically ranging from approximately $400 to $1000. For example, Elitte offers a 1-week course for $399.00.
If that’s too much, check the schedule; some offer an “essentials” class for less, like A-List Startenders’ “3-Hour Essential Mixology Class” for less than $100.
Schools often have discounts or promotions, so check with the school before paying.

What is the typical duration of bartending courses to become proficient?

Bartending programs can range from a few days to several weeks, with most courses averaging about two weeks to provide sufficient practical experience and knowledge.

Is obtaining a license a requirement for practising bartending in Illinois?

Yes, obtaining a BASSET certification is a requirement for legally practising bartending throughout the state of Illinois.