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Do You Need a Bartending License in New York City?

do you need a bartending license in new york city

No, you don’t need a bartending license in New York City. As long as you meet the age criteria and other requirements set by the state, you can serve alcohol in bars, restaurants and similar establishments.

However, enrolling in a bartending school and obtaining a certificate before you start applying for bartending jobs in New York City can be useful. It significantly increases your chances of landing a job as establishments that sell alcohol see those with certification as more desirable candidates.

This post will show you how to get a bartending certification in New York and begin your journey.

What Is a Bartending License?

A bartending license is an official document or credential some states require to prove that you’ve completed an alcohol education program.

It shows that you’ve received appropriate training and passed the educational program for serving alcohol responsibly and that you understand all legal requirements related to serving liquor, such as minimum age and hours of operation.

While each state has different requirements for licensed Bartenders, in the New York State, it’s not mandatory to hold a license to work as a Bartender.

What Is a Bartending Certification?

A bartending certificate shows that you’ve successfully completed a bartending course in a private school. Like the bartending license, it indicates that you know how to serve alcohol responsibly and how to act in all alcohol-related situations.

While earning a bartending license is an online program that you can complete online for legal purposes, earning a bartending certification usually involves hours of practical training sessions. Some certification courses can be taken online and only regard responsible alcohol service though.

A bartending certification may increase your employability but it’s not a legal requirement for serving alcohol. Since you don’t need a bartending license in New York City, earning a certification is a good way to kick-start your Bartender career.

How much is a Bartending Certification in New York City?

The cost of earning your bartending certification in New York depends on the school you choose to enroll in. Those that offer practical bartending training typically charge higher than those that offer online courses.

The price of attending an ATAP-certified schools can vary between $9 and $1,700, as seen in the list below:

The certificate is valid for three years and has to be renewed.

How To Get a Bartending Certification in NYC?

To get a bartending certification in the New York State, you have to enroll in a certified ATAP (Alcohol Training Awareness Program) course.

When researching the certification process in New York, you may come across ATAP and TIPS programs. While it may be confusing at first, it’s easy to differentiate between the two:

  • ATAP – A certificate that is specific to the New York State. It proves that you’ve successfully passed a responsible alcohol service program.
  • TIPS – A certificate that is accepted nationwide and proves that you’ve successfully passed a responsible alcohol service program. The TIPS certification is ATAP-compliant and accepted in the New York City and the rest of the state.

What Is ATAP Certification?

ATAP, or Alcohol Training Awareness Program, is a certification that proves you’ve completed a state-approved New York alcohol training awareness program. It covers all legal obligations and teaches you the techniques of responsible alcohol service.

Some certified ATAP schools, like the ABC Bartending School, include classroom training and aim at helping you develop your bartending skills, while some schools offer quick online courses for earning your ATAP certificate.

Which TIPS Certification Course Do I Need?

Since TIPS courses are ATAP-compliant, completing one will earn you the ATAP certification for serving alcohol in New York. There are different TIPS programs for those selling alcohol in open containers for immediate consumption and those working in liquor stores. When pursuing a career as a Bartender, you need the TIPS on-premises course:

New York TIPS On Premise

tips logo

The New York TIPS On Premise online course is a voluntary program you can apply for to earn your ATAP-compliant certification. It’s accepted in the entire New York State and has a supplemental chapter that is specific to the state.

It teaches you how to serve alcohol responsibly and react in alcohol-related situations. The program covers topics such as recognizing fake IDs, learning behavioral cues and intoxication rate factors to Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), responding in difficult situations without escalation and more.

Taking the course through the TIPS website costs $38.

Additionally, TIPS offers an off-premise course which focuses on selling alcohol in liquor stores. There are also specialized courses for those working in gambling facilities and concession services.

What Qualifications Do I Need To Become a Bartender?

In the New York State, you don’t need any formal education to work as a Bartender. However, there are some qualifications that you have to meet for serving alcohol.

Although the national drinking age is 21, state laws for serving drinks aren’t the same everywhere. In the New York State, the minimum age to work as a Bartender is 18.

Secondly, you cannot work as a Bartender if you have a felony conviction. Exceptions can be made if you have a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities though.

While you don’t need a certificate to work as a Bartender, earning one may increase your chances of getting hired.

Bar and restaurant owners recognize that responsible alcohol service is the key to maintaining a safe environment and reducing liability risks. That’s why they prefer to hire candidates with a bartending certification. They also look to bring in individuals who possess all the key bartending skills and know how to act in tough alcohol-related situations.

Additionally, the New York State Liquor Authority reduces penalties for establishments in cases where their employees break alcohol laws while holding a valid New York ATAP certification.

Extra Tips for Beginner Bartenders in New York

If you’re looking to start a career as a Bartender you may also want to read up on:

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