Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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:

  1. We offer the most extensive training in the city. Our MORNINGS, AFTERNOONS, EVENINGS and WEEKENDS bartending course is 8 days of training, which allows us to go much more in-depth than the average 6 day course.
  2. We are located in downtown Vancouver. The easiest to access from Skytrain or transit.
  3. Reputation. Fine Art has been training bartenders in Vancouver for over 40 years. More managers & owners recognize the Fine Art Certificate over any other. We have the most recognized certificate in the industry across the country.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. Read our retake policy here.
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.

Our Curriculum

How big is each bartending class?

We aim to keep our classes less than 9 students.

Will there be lots of studying and homework?

We assign minimal homework that can be completed in 15 minutes or less after each class. The homework includes reviewing what you learned in class that day to help the information "stick" in your brain.

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?

If there is a scheduling conflict with a class, contact us to find a solution. If there is space available in other class times, you can join and take the missed class.

If you miss more than two classes, without a valid reason, it will be difficult (not impossible) for you to pass the program.

If you miss more than three classes without contacting us, you are disqualified from the program as well as from being able to retake the program for free.

We cover a lot of information each day and we do not slow down class for students who did not show up.

Do we get to drink the ‘cocktails’ we make?

It's tough to learn a new skill drunk! 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.

Learning and drinking don't go well together. 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!


What days and times does the bartender course run?
  • MORNING CLASSES run 4 days a week, Monday – Thursday for two weeks from 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM. 
  • AFTERNOON CLASSES run 4 days a week, Monday – Thursday for two weeks from 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM. 
  • EVENING CLASSES run 2 days a week for four weeks. Classes run Monday–Tuesday or Wednesday-Thursday for four weeks from 6:00 – 9:30 PM.
  • WEEKEND CLASSES run for 4 Saturdays & Sundays in a row, from 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM.
Do you run classes on holidays?

Yes. If the published class starts, end, or runs over on a holiday, there will still be class. Please make sure there are no conflicts with your schedule before signing up.

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 prerequisites 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.

How often do you run your bartending courses?

We start new mornings, afternoons, and evening classes every 2 weeks on Mondays. We start a new weekend classes every 4 weeks, always on Saturdays.

Do I need 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. Note the minimum age to bartend in BC is 19, but it is 18 or younger in other provinces and countries.

Can I retake the program?

Whether you want more practice or want to brush up on your skills, the Fine Art Bartending Guarantee promises unlimited retakes for eligible students, for life. Read the policy here.


How much does the Commercial Bartending Course cost?

The Commerical Bartending program is $749 CAD flat.

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 at home.

Do I need to pay in advance to reserve a spot in the course?

Yes, you must pay for the program in full before you arrive to the first class.

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept Interac, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Paypal.

Serving It Right

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.

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.

Jobs and Employment

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.

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 and managers recognize that the training you receive in a bartending school replaces months of costly on the job training.

The Fine Art Bartending Guarantee

We guarentee 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. All we require is some sort of proof you took the course previously.

Learn to Bartend Today!