With over 40 years in the business of teaching bartenders the tricks and skills of the trade, the Fine Art Bartending School is Canada’s oldest and largest school of its kind.
Established in 1973, and with over 25,000 graduates from its programs down the years, the company now has tremendous reach across the country with nine schools spread across cities including Calgary, Victoria, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. It also enjoys an excellent reputation in the hospitality industry, and its Professional Bartending Certification is the only nationally industry-recognized certification in Canada.
Its Vancouver branch is located in the city’s downtown area, right at the heart of the bar and restaurant scene and two blocks from the bustling Canada Place on the Burrard Inlet waterfront. Opened in 1981, it is now managed by Ryan Boyd, who graduated from the school in 1994 and now oversees the day-to-day running of the business and its staff and designing and teaching the course programs himself. Boyd is an industry past master with a wealth of experience, from stints in numerous bars and clubs in Vancouver to starring in instructional DVDs, winning and judging competitions, featuring in trade magazines and travelling the globe to teach budding bar staff the arts and crafts of working with alcohol.
See our guide for more bartending courses in Vancouver.
The Vancouver branch offers a small but wide-ranging clutch of programs designed to get you certified and working as quickly as possible. Its main program is the Commercial Bartending Course, which is an eight day set of classes spread over two weeks for $499. Fine Art state this is hands-on and intensive, with the most class time of any school in Canada and at least 75% of the course spent working behind a bar to hone your skills. The curriculum covers everything from mixing methods and glassware selection to customer service, garnishes, shooters and streamlining drinks orders. Bar equipment is discussed and tested, and halfway through the course, a block of 3 hours is dedicated to wine service and presentation, which provides graduates with another string to their bow should they decide to move into restaurant service. Add to this Serving It Right certification, résumé and interview preparation, job placement assistance, and a free 140 page textbook to keep, and the course is impressively comprehensive.
A one-day ‘Working Flair Bartending Seminar’ ($125 with free Flairco bottle and shaker tin) gives students an insight into the bottle-throwing world of flair bartending, which is a fun way to wow crowds of drinkers while behind the bar – this course can also be added to the Commercial Bartending Course as a package – while for $119 the two and a half hour ‘Intro to Tequila’ workshop provides you with a tequila tasting, a potted history of the drink and the chance to mix your own tequila cocktails. Finally, the 4-hour ‘Introduction to Bartending Course’ ($125) is a fun way to learn proper pouring techniques, create Martinis, discover clever tips for stocking your home bar and how to host a home party successfully.
Fine Art Bartending guarantees free refresher classes for life – any graduate can return at any time to brush up on new techniques in the industry – and students who feel they need further training after the two-week course can return and attend more classes as many times as they like at no further cost.
Alongside the training, Fine Art provides myriad bartending equipment, clothing and even novelty shot glasses via the affiliate online store BarProducts.com. In contrast, its ‘Venue Rentals’ service creates and hosts a bespoke event or party for up to 20 people. Its ‘Catering’ service offers an array of choices, from supplying bar staff for a private get-together to catering for a glitzy corporate occasion where they will supply mobile bars, rental glassware, bartenders and even bags of ice. At the same time, its ‘Onsite Staff Training’ provides just that: Fine Art instructors will work alongside your serving staff and train them during the event.
- (604) 873-2811
- 432 W PENDER ST., VANCOUVER, BC V6B 1T5