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How to Get a Job as a New York Bartender

Bartending in the City

With all of the bars in New York, it seems like it should be a pretty simple task of getting hired at one, right? Not so much. Being a bartender is a skilled job and one of the highest sought after positions among college students and other 20-somethings in the state. It's seen as a great way for "artsy" folk to pay their bills while working on their writing, painting or acting. And long time residents get the opportunity to sling drinks and hobnob at some of the most famous establishments around. So how can you get in on all the bartending action and get your fair share of the amazing tips that comes with the territory?

Bartending School

There are numerous bartending schools throughout the country, and several right in the state of New York including The Bartender's Academy of New York (located at 906 Conklin St., Farmingdale, NY 11735) and the Northeast Bartender's School (found in Clifton Park, NY). Going to a bartender's school will teach you all the necessary techniques, duties, and lingo of being a New York bartender. This includes how to open and close, recipes for many cocktails and drinks, customer service skills, and even how to interview for a bartending job. Having one of these schools on your resume and being able to show the certificate that comes with such an education will help you out greatly and show a potential boss that you know your stuff and have what it takes to be a bartender in New York.

Job Placement/Assistance

This is actually tied in to attending Bartending School. The two bartending schools listed in the above paragraph (and several other schools as well) have job assistance and job placement programs for graduates of their school. While no school is able to promise job placement (it is in face illegal to make such a claim), they are able to provide you with many bartending job leads and the skills you need to interview and get the job on your own. The New York Bartending School's job placement program offers a full time director and website to aid in finding the leads you need to go after a job in New York, as well as 40 other states. Of course, while these job placement and job assistance programs can be a huge help to you in your search of getting a bartending job in New York, it's still ultimately up to you to actually land the job for yourself.


Here comes the big Catch-22 of the bartending industry. In order to get hired as a bartender, you need to have experience as a bartender. Of course, you can't get experience as a bartender until you get hired as one. Now, for those of you who read that and answered "But I have experience! I've been a bartender in my Nebraska hometown for years!" I have to point out that New York bars tend to want people with New York bar experience. A high scale Manhattan bar will only hire someone with high scale Manhattan bar experience. While this works well for someone who got their start here, your Nebraska local pub experience won't cut it. You’re going to need to find a way to get a position at a lower establishment in the area of New York you want employment, and work your way up the ladder. You might have to get your start in a less popular part of the city, such as Queens or Brooklyn.


Networking... selling yourself and getting out there... is one of the most important aspects of any profession and even life in general. The field of bartending (especially in New York) is no different. Talk to everyone you see and make friends. And then tell all those friends that you're after a bartending job and have them put out their feelers for you. Chum it up with the bartender at your favorite hangout and let them know you're looking for work in the same field. Maybe they know of a position somewhere that just opened up and can put in a good word for you. When talking to people, when networking, let everyone know what it is you want to do. You never know when you'll meet someone who can help you achieve your goals.

-Martin Craigs for

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