We chatted with bartender Joe Luparello to find out from a pro, is bartending school actually worth it?

Check out what he has to say in the latest piece in Chilled’s Ask a Bartender series.

mixologist learning how to mix a proper cocktail, featured image

Mixologist Learning How to Mix

Photo by Vasyl Syniuk/Shutterstock

Before entering the realm of bartending and mixology, my attention was drawn to it primarily because of its promising monetary opportunities. To be blunt, my initial ignorant perspective of what it takes to serve drinks was rather dull and unexciting. On the surface, it seemed simple: I presumed that to become a bartender, I needed to know a certain drink’s ingredients and how to prepare it properly. Testing the validity of my preconceived thoughts, I registered for an eight-day course at 1-800-BARTEND in Selden, New York. Fully aware of my lack of knowledge in this field, anxiety was piling up leading to the first class. After meeting the instructor, Jerry Costanzo, and hearing his introduction to the course, I was immediately relieved. It was made apparent that this was no intense Hell’s Kitchen for amateur bartenders, but instead a well-experienced source that would provide the necessary knowledge and multiple chances to physically practice the craft of bartending. My choice of the word “craft” is indicative of the newfound respect and interest for the field that I adopted thanks to this course.

Opposed to my original, single-dimensional understanding of tending bar, a craft is something that is constantly worked on from various angles in order to strive toward mastery. I learned that making drinks is only a small fraction of what it takes to truly become a formidable bartender. Becoming a bartender is like putting together a puzzle that requires every piece intact to find success. Aside from being able to make drinks, it’s also necessary to have finely tuned social skills, a strong work ethic and good on-the-job hygiene. Finally, always make sure you’re serving responsibly. It’s now evident that becoming a bartender will not only fill my pocket with cash, but can also lead me to experience wonderful new places and people while ultimately sharpening myself as a person.