Frequently Asked Questions about our Commercial Bartending Course
Before signing up for any course, people like you have questions. We have assembled our most frequently asked questions about our commercial bartending course here on this page.
What do I need to bring with me to a bartending class?
You don’t need to bring much. Bring a pen for sure. We supply you with a textbook you can write notes in. You can bring a notebook if you wish. We recommend wearing closed toe shoes as well, not sandals or flip flops, in case a glass gets broken or bottle is dropped.
Where is the bartending school?
432 W Pender. We are located downtown on Pender Street between Richards and Homer, directly across from the Ramada. Have a look at our Contact Page for a map of our location. We are in a building that was developed in the early days of Vancouver, back in 1912, so in the winter months be sure to bring a sweater.
Do you have to be 19 to take the course?
If you are 18 or older, you are welcome to register. All we need is a Parental Consent form filled out and signed by a parent or guardian. Download the Parental Consent Form HERE. Note the minimum age to bartend in BC is 19, but it is 18 or younger in other Provinces & Countries. For our tasting classes, such as the Wine Seminar, Intro to Whiskies, or the Spirits Tasting Class you will need to be 19 to taste those samples.
Let’s Talk Money
How much does the Commercial Bartending Course cost?
The course costs are outlined on our bartending course page. There is no tax on tuition in BC, and the course fee is also tax deductible so remember that T2202 form come tax time! Get your T2202A form here and get some money back!
Are there any other costs, or charges?
There are no extra fees. Course textbook and supplies are included in that price. We do have bar equipment practice kits for sale at the school if you want your own shaker set to practice with.
Do I need to pay in advance to reserve a spot in the course?
To guarantee a spot in class for you, we need some form of payment in advance. Through this website, we aim to make it easy to pay for the whole course. This speeds up the registration process on Day One.
Can I just pay a deposit?
Payment is required in advance to hold your spot in one of our classes. If you choose to put down a deposit to hold your spot, we collect the balance owing on the first day of class. Upon registering for the course, full payment is due on the day your classes start. If you don’t show up on that first day of class, we will charge your card accordingly for the balance owing.
If you are not comfortable using your credit card online, we are happy to take your info over the phone. Please call us at 604 873 2811. An etransfer can also be sent directly to [email protected]
What Methods of Payment do you accept?
We accept Interac, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Paypal. If you are paying in person at the school, we accept Cash or Debit as well as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
Why Fine Art Bartending?
What sets the Fine Art Bartending Course apart from other schools?
There are several factors that set Vancouver’s Fine Art Bartending School apart:
- We offer the most extensive training in the city. Our DAY, NIGHT and WEEKEND bartending course is 8 days of training, which allows us to go much more in-depth than the average 6 day course.
- We are an approved programme provider for Level 1 and Level 2 Awards in Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust! WSET is the global authority in both wine and spirits training and our program incorporates the same essential knowledge found in their programs.
- We are located in downtown Vancouver. The easiest to access from Skytrain or transit.
- Reputation. Fine Art has been in business in Vancouver for 30+ years. More managers & owners recognize the Fine Art Certificate over any other. Locations across Canada. The most recognized certificate in the industry across the country.
- We have the most experienced instructors & management in the city. We have small class sizes and to allow an excellent student/instructor ratio. You will not get lost in the crowd of students at Fine Art.
- The Fine Art Bartending Guarantee is that you will be a great bartender at the end of our course. If you don’t feel confident at the end of the 8 days, you can come back through right away. Come back as many times as you want until you do feel confident, at no additional charge.
Do I get some sort of certificate after completing the course?
Yes you do! After completing our Commercial Bartending Course you receive a Commercial Bartending Certificate. You can show prospective employers you are ready to jump behind the bar, without months of costly on the job training. The Fine Art Bartending School name also adds a bit of extra credibility.
And What About Serving It Right
Do I receive the Serving it Right certification through the Fine Art Commercial Bartending Program?
Serving It Right is a BC government program. We outline how to complete the SIR program on your own time. Class time is for practicing your drink mixing and good habits behind the bar.
What is Serving It Right?
Serving It Right is BC’s responsible beverage service program. It is essentially a license to serve alcohol in BC. It is designed to encourage a responsible, caring and professional approach to the service of alcohol. More specific info can be found on our Serving It Right information page.
What About the Bartending Course
What days and times does the bartender course run?
- DAY CLASSES run 4 days a week; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, for 2 weeks in a row (8 days in total). Day classes run from 11am to 3pm.
- EVENING CLASSES run 3 days a week; Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, for the first 2 weeks… then Tuesday and Wednesday for the third week to get those 8 days of classes. Evening classes run from 6pm to 10pm.
- WEEKEND CLASSES run for 4 Saturdays in a row, from 12pm to 4pm.
Do I need a High School Diploma? Or are there any pre-requisites required to take the course?
High School is always a good thing to complete, but not necessary for bartender training. There are NO pre-requisites required to attend a bartending class other than being able to speak and understand English. All our classes are in English.
I have absolutely no experience in the Bar/Restaurant/Hospitality industry, is this a problem?
Not at all, our course is designed to take you through all aspects bartending, right from the beginning.
What is the difference between your WEEKEND and DAY or NIGHT classes?
The Weekend Classes are just the same as the Day or Night classes. Check out our Class Calendar and you can see that we do the same 8 days of instruction as we do with the classes during the week.
How often do you run your bartending courses?
We start a new Daytime Class every 2 weeks on Mondays at 11AM, unless there is a long weekend. Our Evening classes start every 3 weeks on a Tuesday at 6PM. We start a new weekend classes every 4 weeks, always on Saturdays at 12PM.
And What Should I Expect From the Classes?
How big is each bartending class?
We aim to keep our classes less than 8 students.
Will there be lots of studying and homework?
There is a small amount of homework, maybe 10-15 min each night. We do recommend spending an hour or so after each class to review the material and make flashcards. Studying always keeps you sharp, after all you only get out of the course what you put in. If you don’t study, don’t expect to do well in the course. Earning our bartender certification takes some work on your end.
How much of the course is theory and how much is practical?
Our bartending course is about one third theory, and two thirds hands on practical. You will spend most of your time up behind the bar, working through various techniques, practicing your skills, filling drink orders, learning how to deal with customers, etc.
What happens if I have to miss a class?
Our day and evening classes usually run on the same class schedule. If you are enrolled in the day class and you cannot make it in, check with the instructors. We may be able to accommodate you in the evening class that same day (which would cover the same material), or the other way around.
If you are attending the Weekend class, plan on being there all 4 Saturdays as making up class time is much more difficult. We have managed to work around some crazy schedules, so give us a call, and we can find some way to accommodate you.
Do we get to drink the ‘cocktails’ we make?
Alcohol is really expensive! Bartending schools around the world use coloured water for training, and we have been training some of the best bartenders in the world using the same model for over 40 years now. If you think about it, a bottle of vodka is already 60% water, so switching that over to 100% water doesn’t make any difference to the pouring action. Using only water also allows you to make all kinds of mistakes and get comfortable pouring without wasting a lot of expensive booze. When students are making on average 50+ cocktails per class, this works out to over 400 cocktails that would just get poured down the drain.
Also… with even just the tiniest amount of alcohol in you, there is no learning that happens. We know this from experience. Bartenders need to stay sober and alert while on the job. We are a bartending school, not a bar. We can pop out after class for a cocktail or two.
Is it a really intense course?
Our goal is to train you up to the point where we are ready to hire you behind the bar! We turn out really good bartenders at Fine Art Bartending. To be a really good bartender upon graduation, it does require some effort. You do learn a lot in a short amount of time. You will have lots of fun, and you will have to pay attention and focus. The course might best be described as medium-intense. We want you to enjoy your time learning to bartend!
And What About Working as a Bartender Afterwards
Do Bartenders make a lot of money?
Bartenders can make a great income. It mostly depends on where you work. If you work at a slower bar, with not as many customers, you can make anywhere from $30-$70 a shift in tips, plus your hourly wage. As you gain more experience, knowledge, and better jobs, you can make more and more. Imagine making from $200 to $500 a night in tips. You can make enough in tips alone to pay for your tuition in your first week behind a bar! You can’t say that about many professions.
Is it easy to find a job? Do you offer job placement?
The hospitality industry hasn’t stopped growing despite the slowdowns in other industries. Now is a great time to get started in bartending. New restaurants and bars are opening all the time. Staff turns over regularly everywhere. We teach you the basics for starting your job search, from putting together a resume, right through to interview skills. While we can’t guarantee job placement, we do help place graduates in restaurants & bars quite frequently.
I am hoping to travel and bartend in a different country. Will this bartending course be helpful around the world?
Yes, Bartending is a great skill to have if you would like to see the world. We have former Fine Art Bartending students working all over the world. In the past few years, our graduates have found work all across Canada, the U.S., Cayman Islands, Mexico, Central America, Ireland, England, Korea, Japan, China, France, Sweden, and many are working in Australia. We also have several students working on various cruise lines.
And General Questions About Our Bartending Course
I’m interested in becoming a Server/Waiter. Is there a benefit in taking a bartending course?
Yes! Servers, and those who hope to become servers, benefit greatly from our program. There is no server school, or course you can take in the Lower Mainland to become a server. Having the knowledge and confidence to talk about and sell a wide range of beverages, cocktails & martinis is a huge asset as a server. Drinks and cocktails are the most profitable part of any serving job. A bartending course will significantly improve you knowledge of the beverage and cocktail side of your job. Your confidence and tips will go up, and managers will see this as a huge asset when hiring.
Is the certificate recognized worldwide, or by other organizations?
While Fine Art Bartending offers the most complete bartender training program in North America, there is really no universally recognized, worldwide standard for bartender training. Fine Art Bartending has been in business in Vancouver for 30+ years, and has 9 locations in Canada! Our certificate is the most recognized, well-known certificate in the industry. More owners & managers recognize the Fine Art name than any other. Our certification is also recognized by the Bartenders Guild in The United States. We are also a member of the BC Food & Restaurant Association and authorized by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust to deliver Level 1 and Level 2 training in Spirits.
Do I need my “Bartending Licence” to work in the industry?
Although it is not mandatory to have a bartending certification to serve, more and more employers strongly prefer that you have some form of “bartending certification” or “bartending license” in order to be considered for employment. Owners & managers recognize that the training you receive in a bartending school replaces months of costly on the job training. Mistakes, plus spent training time, equal poor hires.
The Fine Art Bartending Guarantee
The Fine Art Bartending Guarantee is that you will be a great bartender at the end of our course! If you don’t feel 100% confident, you can retake the course free of charge. Note that if we have done a substantial update to our textbook, we would have a small fee for the new book. If you want to retake the bartending course, all we require is some sort of proof you took the course previously. Show us your certificate or receipt indicating when and where you paid and we will get you signed up. We are still new to this digital age and are early in the process of getting our records into an easily searchable format. We do not have years of student records we can look up your previous registration in!
You are always welcome to visit our school, however we have odd hours to accommodate typical student schedules. Open Monday to Thursday, from 11am to 3pm for our day class, then we open again from 6pm-10pm for our evening class. Closed Fridays. We are open Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 4pm. We operate fairly small classes, and there is usually only one instructor at the school, so if you catch us in the middle of a lecture, come in, have a seat, and we will get to you within a few minutes.