Maybe you’ve seen Coyote Ugly one too many times and are dying to learn how to mix all manner of mean, stiff drinks to line your pocketbook while chasing your dream in the City of Angels. Or maybe, this long downtrodden economy has relieved you of your gainful employment, and you are looking for a career path that won’t downsize you. Bartending is a great, recession-proof fallback while you look to get your career back on track. Your only obstacle is, of course, the details. There are many schools in the LA area and we’ve sifted through them all to find you the best bets in schooling to transform you from mere imbiber to master mixologist. Cheers!
14418 Ventura Blvd .
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Bartending World emphasizes the need for speed in a busy bar environment with their intense multitasking drills, disco lights and loud music. Ellen Degeneres famously featured the school on her daytime talk show in 2009, when she visited on graduation day to put the newly matriculated students through their paces behind the counter. While the quality of the education and instruction is second to none, the school offers all graduates the option of coming back anytime for refresher courses, at no additional charge. And the school allows you the option of learning at home (call for costs) or going at your own pace at no additional charge. So you can take a component as many times as you need to ensure you will pass your two tests. Additionally, there are add-on certification classes on wine, flair and TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) to enhance your resume further, and free lifetime job-placement assistance.
Related: Best Secret Bars In Los Angeles
11957 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 203
Los Angeles, California 90025
You might recognize the name of this school from none other than E!’s Chelsea Lately. If there’s any one Angeleno who stands out from the rest as the Jedi-knight of booze, bars and bartenders it is without a doubt the sharply hilarious Chelsea Handler. And when the renown sipper of spirits decided to get in on the celebrity college commencement-speech craze of 2007, she chose to speak at none other than National Bartending School’s West LA campus. Besides boasting Chelsea’s stamp of approval, their 150+ drink mixology courses are available in one week, two week, or weekend options. They also offer optional Flair, Management and TIPS courses. And the free, unlimited, lifetime nationwide, job placement service is a definite bonus.
11670 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
The name says it all. This school includes TIPS pre-certification in the tuition as well as Beer and Wine modules and a stellar interviewing and job hunting section. Not for the faint of heart, this school provides a one-of-a-kind learning environment, with an infamous instructor whose tough approach will mold you in to the perfect purveyor of libations. Owners and operators Louis and Cindy are so confident in their program, there is a free introductory course anyone can attend by calling first, and they all but guarantee job placement. In fact, most students are placed within days of graduating, and the job placement program is a personal one on one service run by Cindy Benson, who knows everyone in the wide world of drink. With over 200 drink recipes covered in your instruction, and countless modules to prepare you for the customer service, business and operations end of the game, you couldn’t make a more sound investment in your future.
Los Angeles, CA
Price: $80 – $425, depending on the course
Elemental Mixology may be the most buzzed about bartending courses in all of Angel City. Though the brainchild of Andrew “the Alchemist” Willet is not a certification course, it is the only group of classes you will study on bartending that uses real liquor and teaches you in accordance with the pre-prohibition-era philosophy of drink connoisseurs – that not every alcoholic beverage is a cocktail, that drinks belong to family’s and that there is an art and craft to drink making and enjoyment. The intense and in-depth sessions are held in Andrew’s Los Angeles home, in a third floor library converted into a fully functioning bar known as “The Laboratory” that provides a perfect immersion environment for the students. You will enter a novice and leave a mixology magician.
Kristen Lowman spends her days writing and her nights at concerts. She lives on the Miracle Mile in the City of Angels. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.