Looking to Mix Things Up

Action Bartending School Makes Becoming An Atlanta Bartender Easy 
By Melody Jacone 03.01.2010


If you’ve ever wanted the thrill of mixing cocktails for swanky customers at an upscale bar or even making drinks for regulars at the local watering hole, then maybe you should consider becoming a bartender.

It’s a lot easier then you may think – just ask the students who’ve graduated from Action Bartending School in Atlanta.From bartending bootcamp courses to job placement assistance your dreams of becoming an Atlanta bartender may not be out of reach.

We sat down with Kamal, Vice President of Action Bartending School in Atlanta to find out a bit more about their exciting bartending classes and how they got started.

Buzz Entertainment Magazine: How did the idea for creating Action Bartending School in Atlanta first come about?
K: We were a staffing company in hospitality for past six years when we realized that there were never enough efficient bartenders when we needed them, as the bartenders who were very skillful were always busy making money. That’s the day we decided to open a bartending school, to help hotels, our staffing company and also students to be properly trained and find jobs.

Buzz Entertainment Magazine: How are you unique from other bar tending schools in Atlanta?
K: Our students graduate within a week with a master bartender certificate, they pay the lowest price compared to other schools and they can also work part time through our action staffing company.

Buzz Entertainment Magazine:  Why do you think bartending has become such a popular occupation?
It is learn-able skill, mixing drinks.  If you are an outgoing person, who knows customer’s names and drinks you can make a comfortable living, and not worry about layoffs.

Buzz Entertainment Magazine:  What type of teachers do you have on staff at Action School of Bartending?
 Instructors have worked in bars for over five years.  They know all the trends in the industry, and they give hands on training which builds confidence in students.

Buzz Entertainment Magazine:  What can a first-time student expect to learn at Action School of Bartending?
 Right from basics, how to set the bar, what glasses to use for cocktails, what garnishes are used in making cocktails, classification of wines, beers, mixed drinks, liqueurs and customer-service.

Buzz Entertainment Magazine:  What are your facilities like?
  Our classroom is in an actual bar environment where every student is given a station to work. Students consistently make every cocktail three times. There are also lots of hands on-training; assignments are given every day to learn more about wines, beer, various cocktail recipes. There is a test given at the end of the program, and then students are certified as master bartenders.

Buzz Entertainment Magazine: Do you help your students find jobs? 
 We assist students with finding full time jobs, they can also work part time through our Action Staffing company. 

Buzz Entertainment Magazine: How has the economy affected your business? 
 The state of the economy has actually helped our business.  Our enrollment has increased as more and more people are looking for second jobs.

Buzz Entertainment Magazine: Do you help your students find jobs? 
 We assist students with finding full time jobs, they can also work part time through our Action staffing company. The state of the economy has actually helped our business.  Our enrollment has increased as more and more people are looking for second jobs.

Buzz Entertainment Magazine:  What future plans do you have for Action School of Bartending?
 We are opening two more schools in Atlanta, we are also working on franchising our school as it can benefit students to be trained and find jobs nationwide.



School of Bartending Mixing It Right

The classroom looks like a regular bar, but, says owner Kamal Bhatia, the bottles are filled with food color. Here, 
students learn how to make the Perfect Margarita; or how to achieve the exact balance of mint and lime for that 
ideal Mojito. The student manual at Bhatia’s recently opened Action School of Bartending is impressive. Over 150 
popular cocktail recipes are taught here. A 40-hour course also covers every other aspect of bartending- from setting 
up bar equipment and glassware, to wine and beer making, to pairing food with wine and cocktails, to customer service skills and responsible alcohol services. “Students then go through a test after which they receive certification from the Georgia Post- Secondary Education Commission,” says Bhatia. 

Bhatia, who has a background in hotel management, having worked for the finest hotels in Atlanta like 
the Ritz Carlton and the Sheraton, saw a huge shortage for trained bartenders, especially in the September to December period. “This is an extremely busy period for hotels,” he says. “I also run a consultancy company called Action Solutions, where we train and place personnel in the hotel industry. We have tie-ups with all the major fine hotels in the Atlanta area. Last year, we found that there is a huge shortage of qualified bartenders at big functions that start in September and last through the end of the year. I used to depend on other agencies to find people of right caliber. That is when I thought of starting my own school of bartending, to meet this growing demand.” Bhatia was initiated into this business by hotel directors because “we provided consistent quality,” he says.

Action School of Bartending offers a variety of courses ranging from the 40-hour Master Bartender 
course to short term courses on bartending for private parties (8 hours), introduction to wines (4 hours) and banquet services (8 hours).  The school has also introduced the scaled down version of the Master Bartender course- 20 hours of training that includes 40 of the most popular cocktail recipes. Certified bartenders can make $20-$25 per hour depending on their customer and selling skills. 

“We get novices who know nothing about bartending,” says Bhatia. “Once they are trained, we put them on call basis, so that they can get hands on training in a real bar situation. If they are looking for full time jobs, we have a network of restaurants and bars where they will be absorbed. There is always a shortage of bartenders.” Action School places a premium on teaching students how to communicate with the customer, and also train for job interviews. A section of the school curriculum is devoted to hygiene and sanitation. Students are taught how to clean equipment and glassware at the right temperatures. The course curriculum also includes responsible alcohol services. “The bartender is liable, if the customer gets involved in an accident, under the influence of alcohol,” says Bhatia. It is the bartender’s job to tell the customer when to stop. He can refuse to serve him more alcohol. He can even call the taxi service or the cops if necessary.” 

Bhatia has lofty dreams for his school. He plans to start another location for his school in Buckhead, where he expects more walk-ins. His ultimate goal is to have franchises all over the US. “In our culture, a “bar” has negative connotations,” says Bhatia. “But I believe that there is nothing wrong with having a drink, as long as you know how 
to stay within limits.” For good measure, he adds: “This year’s American Idol, David Cook is a former bartender.”