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Bartender in Training


StorageLady
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My son, a recent high school graduate, is interested in becoming a bartender. He wants to work full time for the remainder of the summer and then part-time while he attends Salisbury Univ next year.

He would like to learn as much as he can from somebody willing to teach him. We are looking at bartending schools - but were thinking that maybe an internship with an established bar may be more beneficial giving hands-on experience.

Can any of you provide some guidance or suggestions?

Or..even better...do any of you have an opening for a bartending intern?? He's polite, funny, bright, good with people, and hard-working.

We live in Frederick - but he could drive pretty much anywhere for a good learning experience.

Thanks !!

Janis, aka StorageLady

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Maybe things have changed, but don't you have to be of drinking age to prepare and serve drinks?

I know when I waited tables in college (21+ drinking age) someone else had to serve the beers.

I think that it depends on the state. In PA and IL you only had to be 18 to serve.
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He'll probably need to wait until he is 21 to serve alcohol.

He will definitely need to wait until he's 21 to start pouring alcohol. While different jurisdictions have different laws regarding the service of alcohol (or even the presence alone of a minor in the bar), the following is true regardless of location. Most good bartenders, like most chefs, need to taste their creations to be familiar with the product they are serving. By default, it will be illegal for him to do so.

Perhaps he can find a job as a waiter,backwaiter or host in the interim. It will be a good opportunity to familiarize himself with the operations of the restaurant industry. An experience that everyone should have at least once in their lives.

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Also, there's a difference in serving alcoholic beverages and preparing them. For example in Virginia, a server who is 18 can deliver a prepared drink to a table to include bottled beer and wine and mixed drinks. However, they would be unable to mix the drink themselves. Interesting system.

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Some of the bartending schools work in a particular way, using ersatz liquor, which is much cheaper than the real stuff. This also allows the schools to accept students of any age. Also, the instructors are often professional bartenders who need to take some time to, um, dry out.

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I think that it depends on the state. In PA and IL you only had to be 18 to serve.

That's odd, because in IL cashiers in grocery stores have to be 21 to scan alcohol.

He will definitely need to wait until he's 21 to start pouring alcohol. While different jurisdictions have different laws regarding the service of alcohol (or even the presence alone of a minor in the bar), the following is true regardless of location. Most good bartenders, like most chefs, need to taste their creations to be familiar with the product they are serving. By default, it will be illegal for him to do so.

Perhaps he can find a job as a waiter,backwaiter or host in the interim. It will be a good opportunity to familiarize himself with the operations of the restaurant industry. An experience that everyone should have at least once in their lives.

Or as a barback, maybe?

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In Frederick County, a bartender must be 18 to serve. We have discovered however, that the large chains (Fridays, Bonefish, etc..) only hire 21 and over. So, it looks like his best bet is to be a barback at a small, non-chain restaurant.

We got some great advice from Dave (Shaggy) which we will definitely heed.

If anyone knows of a restaurant near Frederick who is looking for a barback - please let me know!

Thanks...Janis

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