Frequently Asked Questions

Book Now!

How do I hire a bartender?

Click any of the "Hire a Bartender” buttons on the site to start the booking process. You will be led through a step by step process, starting with filling out an online form that will give us all the information we need in order to process your event. Once you have filled out this online form, you will be contacted by the Agency Manager who will send you the contact information of your bartender in a PDF about 10-14 days before your event. The bartender you are paired with can also assist with additional party planning help, like finding a special drink recipe, or deciding how much glassware or alcohol to order. While our bartenders can help with more extensive projects such as menu design and supply pickup, we ask that you compensate them at a higher overall hourly rate for these additional tasks.

If it is your first time booking an event through our new system, you'll be asked to pay a $30 Network Access Fee and sign our Network Access Agreement.


When will I receive confirmation that my bartender has been assigned?

The Agency Manager will assign your bartender 10-14 days prior to your event. This is because our bartenders are full-time Columbia students and we want to give them plenty to time to finalize their schedules before being asked to work. Once they've been assigned, you'll receive a confirmation email with an attachment that includes their contact information. Shortly after, your bartender will contact you to confirm the details of the event and answer any questions you may have. We are always more than happy to accomodate exceptions and book bartenders earlier for you if preferred!


How much does it cost to hire a bartender?

You set your bartender's hourly rate when you fill out our booking form, and pay the total amount owed to the bartender directly at the event. The $30 Network Access Fee that you pay when you first book an event with us is not a deposit for their services. You are required to cover cab fare back to the Columbia campus if your event ends at 10:00 PM or later. Please visit our Hourly Rates section for more information. Feel free to email us at with any questions about appropriate pricing.


Can I mail the bartender their payment a few days after the event?

No. Bartenders must be paid directly at the event in the form of cash, check, or Venmo. Bartenders do NOT accept credit cards. If you would like an invoice, please ask us to send you one before the event date, as the bartenders must be paid immediately at the end of the event.


Do I get to pick a bartender / How does the assignment process work?

When you book an event with us, the job posting is sent to our roster of 200 bartenders. We’ll assign your staff based on their availability and how we think they’ll fit in at your event! Please note that, due to anti-discrimination policies, we cannot fulfill requests for bartenders of a specific gender, age, race, etc. We can take into consideration requests for specific bartenders you have previously worked with, but we cannot guarantee their assignment.


What is this Network Access Fee, exactly?


The NAF is an annual one-time $30 payment (with optional yearly renewal) that gives you access to our services for the entire year! All payment from an event goes directly into our bartenders pockets – we don’t see any of it because the CBA’s mission is to provide income for fellow students. Thus, the additional $30 NAF just helps keep the website and business up and running! Once you have filled out our online form you will immediately be directed to the payment page for the processing fee. We accept all major credit cards. Please note that this payment is NOT a deposit for a bartender. You are responsible for paying your staff separately after the event. 


Is the $30 fee refundable?

In very specific circumstances, we may refund the NAF. However, the final verdict falls on our agency manager. 


Can I hire a bartender today if my event is tonight?

Yes! Our market information suggests setting a higher hourly wage for same-day events. Please see our Rates section for more details. Please note that although we will do our best to find you bartenders, we cannot always guarantee last-minute staffing, especially during the holiday season. 


I would like to book a bartender for my New Years Eve event tomorrow. Is that enough time in advance?

Unfortunately, no. All of our NYE, Christmas Day, and Thanksgiving holiday bookings typically need to be reserved at least 2-3 weeks out from the event date. This is because our bartenders are Columbia students and many are away on winter recess during the holidays. Therefore, if you are looking to secure a bartender for a holiday event, please put the request in early.


Who are your bartenders, and how do I know that they are qualified?

All of our bartenders are undergraduate or graduate Columbia University students, and every one of them is TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) certified. You also have the option to select the level of training which you would like your bartender to have. 


Are your bartenders insured?

Because our bartenders are independent contractors, not employees, we cannot extend insurance coverage to them. However, our bartenders are all Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS) certified. This is an alcohol safety certification that most bars and restaurants require of their servers and bartenders.


I don’t need bartenders, really just someone to help out in the kitchen or pass out food. Can you do that?

Yes! We like to think of ourselves as ‘professional party enhancers’ and are always more than ready to help with general party services including coatchecking, dishwashing, serving hors d'oeuvres, and additional event services.


Do you provide glassware / alcohol / bar set ups?


Unfortunately, no. Our staff will come prepared with basic mixing equipment as needed, such as shaker set, bar spoon, etc. All food, alcohol, and larger equipment will have to be acquired by the host. 


I would like to change the date / time of my event. What should I do?


If you have already been assigned bartenders, feel free to reach out to them and see if they are still available. If there are not, please reach out to us at and we can resend the amended event request. 


I am going to need an extra bartender for my event? Should I create a new event request?


No! Please email us at and we will amend your request and find you an additional bartender.


I would like to cancel my event. What should I do?


If you have been assigned bartenders, please let them know as soon as possible. Feel free to let us know by emailing the Agency as well.


What is the difference between a CBA Distinguished Bartender and a CBA School of Mixology Graduate?

CBA Distinguished Bartenders are exceptional students of the Columbia Bartending Agency School of Mixology who graduated with an exam score of 95% or higher, and have been professionally evaluated and selected by the CBA management team. CBA School of Mixology Graduates are exemplary students of the Columbia Bartending Agency School of Mixology and are in a tier right below the Distinguished Bartenders.


How do I become a bartender for the Agency?
You must be a current Columbia University student at any one of the graduate or undergraduate schools (including Barnard) in order to be considered for the Agency. After completion of our course, top students are selected to interview for the agency and the most skilled will be chosen for the agency. You must also become TIPS certified and be 18 years of age or older.


Can I talk to a real person?


Certainly! Shoot us an email at and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. While we generally answer questions within 24 hours, please allow up to 3 business days for a response as we are busy college students!