Frequently Asked Questions

Register Now!

When are classes offered?

We typically offer classes year-round. Standard sessions are 5 weeks in duration with students attending one night per week. Some sessions may be "accelerated", in which the session is only 2.5 or 1 week in duration. In general, we offer 2 Fall sessions, 2 Spring sessions, and 3 Summer sessions.


Where are classes located?

All our classes are taught on the Columbia University Morningside Heights campus. After enrolling you will receive a detailed email with the full room details for your course.


I don’t see any open Mixology classes anywhere on the site. When is the next round of classes?

We update our site regularly, so you’ll probably see some new Mixology classes up soon! You can always contact us at to see if we have our next available dates ready.

Do I have to be a Columbia Student to take the classes?

No, our classes are open to anyone and everyone interested in learning how to bartend!

How much are classes?

Our introductory bartending course starts at $350 without discounts. This includes instruction from our professional mixology instructors and a coursebook with over 100 recipes. The course fee also includes a certificate of completion for those students that pass the final exam.


Do you offer discounts?

We offer two discounts to qualifying students, each discount grants $50 off the course price:

  • Last semester senior discount. Columbia students in their final semester of undergraduate or graduate education are ineligible to join the Agency and therefore are offered this discount. Must present proof of impending graduation to the instructors at the first class.
  • Military discount. Active and former service members from any national armed force are eligible for this discount. Must present proof of service to the instructors at the first class.

In the case of an invalid discount, the student must pay the difference between discount and full price before being allowed to attend the course.

Do I need a license to bartend? Do you give certification from your school?

New York State does not offer or require bartending licenses. That being said, certification from an established professional school will give you the skills you need to both find your first bartending job and be comfortable behind a bar from the very beginning. The most important characteristic of a good bartender is CONFIDENCE, and our instruction will give you the confidence you need to succeed as a bartender.

A few weeks after our class, should you pass, you will receive a certificate from the Columbia Bartending Agency.


What happens if I don’t pass the exam?

Don’t worry, you probably will! A majority of our students pass our exam (score 70% or higher) on the first try. In the event you are unable to pass, you may retake the test at the end of the next session for an additional fee of $30. You may only retake the exam once.


Do you help with job placement?

Any bartending school which assures you that you will get a job after taking their course is not being truthful with you. Becoming a bartender is surprisingly hard, especially now. The field is incredibly competitive and there are only so many bars in New York City!

While we have no formal placement program, we will teach you how to go about getting a bartend job and will always be available to our graduates as an information station with any questions you may have. Additionally, we are working with bars in the area to create more and more opportunities for guest bartending and job placement.


I’m not sure I want to be a professional bartender, but I’d love to learn more about mixology!

Well then our classes are the only bartending class perfect for you. Our price is low enough for people interested in gaining personal knowledge as well as though looking to find employment afterwards. In addition, if you are interested in taking a course for personal knowledge, flavored water wont’ teach you very much.


How old do I have to be to bartend in New York?

In New York State you must be 18 to bartend and 21 to drink.


Can I take the class if I am under 21?

Yes, you can certainly take the class and start your journey towards the best job in the service industry if you are under 21. However, you will not be able to drink the beverages that you mix.


How are the classes structured?

Each class is broken down into two sections: instruction and practical. During the instruction portion you will learn mixology techniques, spirit education, bartending tips, and other aspects of our curriculum. During the practical portion you will be able to put your skills to the test mixing cocktails and mocktails. A portion of the practical periods will be only with water, and a portion of the periods will be with real alcohol. This balanced approach allows students to first get comfortable with the underlying mixology techniques, and then apply those skills towards making real cocktails that the instructors can sample and provide constructive criticism.


Why should I choose the Columbia School of Mixology as opposed to other bartending schools?

The Columbia School of Mixology has been training bartenders since 1965 and in that time our graduates have gone on to find great success in every level of the business. From bars to clubs to private staffing and catering, you can be sure that a Columbia School of Mixology graduate has worked there.

We are also the ONLY bartending school in New York to give you the opportunity to mix with real alcohol. We believe that learning to make good drinks with flavored water, the common practice at other bartending schools, is like learning to cook with fake food. It just doesn’t make sense! Great bartenders do not simply memorize ingredients, they know what flavors mix well together. We will teach you the most popular new and classic drinks and also give you a chance to develop your own palette, providing you are 21 of course.

We are additionally committed to teaching you HOW to bartend, not just the drinks needed to get a leg up. Most bartending schools will give you the drinks you need to make and leave it at that. Our goal at the Columbia School of Mixology is to make sure that after you leave the class, you still retain the information you learned during it!

Even though we teach using real alcohol, a major cost, we still provide instruction for a comprehensive price of only $300. Other schools charge upwards of $800 dollars to simply get you started bartending. We give you all the skills you need at a fraction of the price.

Our teachers are also all graduates of our own program. They were at one time all in your position and understand the most effective way to convey the necessary information, as they themselves were once sitting in the same classroom where you will be sitting. They have gone on to be successful bartenders and will teach you to be the same.