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DC Bartender Blog


On our blog you can find updated information about grads getting jobs, mixology, local hotshot bartenders, hot bars and clubs and endless stories that relate to the industry. If you want to review a list of topics take a look at the index on the right and see just how rich and exciting the world of bartending can be.


Coping with the furlough: And lessons from the recession

Written on October 15, 2013 at 4:26 pm, by admin

When people lose work training programs of all sorts add new students.   The Professional Bartending School is no different.  During the recessions of 2000 and the latest recession of 2008/2009  this school like other training programs and bartending schools across the country saw a significant increase in potential students and actual students.

Furloughed Workers Fill the Class

With the furlough driving hundreds of thousands of public and private workers into limbo our class sizes increased.  In this class, running in October there are nine students/bartenders currently on furlough:

Bartending Class With furloughed workers

 

They include furloughed government workers and contractors.   Some  had looked into our program earlier.  Now they have time to take our classes.      Others found themselves with nothing to do.  They want ways to make extra income and have fun at the job.  They want more skills to be more financially independent.

The class includes one furloughed worker who had taken our program earlier.  He is now taking our free refresher classes.  He used our placement program for part-time work  including the two day inaugural balls earlier this year, where he made bank.  He recently used our placement program again and has picked up a part time job.  He is using these classes to refresh and hone his skills for that new part time bartending gig.  He started his new part time gig during the second weekend of October and here he is:

 

Robert bartending at the Hampton Inn



 

Student Uses Furlough to add flexible skills and make himself more independent

Bartending training is a great way to add a marketable skill.  One of our furloughed students has additional credentials and varied commercial skills.  He refuses to let a job, or a company or even a government get in the way of his ability to earn a living.  We are happy to add bartending to his list of credentials and ability to function regardless of market conditions.


Of course it hasn’t been that long since the last time hordes of people lost work.  The heart of the recent recession hit the DC region during 2008, 2009 and extended into 2010.   Like many other training programs we did see an increase in interest and attendance at our school.   We recontacted some of our grads from that period to see how our program helped them if they are still bartending.

Beat the Recession and Job Loss:  Learn a new valuable skill

One of the more interesting bartending success stories from the recession was that of Paul Costanzo, an over 60 long term professional who was shut out of work due to the recession, took our bartending course in 2009.  He has been bartending virtually non stop since then.  And he loves it!!!!

Paul’s story was so interesting he was featured in a story in AARP magazine.  We also wrote about him and updated the story in 2011.  Here is a current update.

Paul has bartended at five different noted restaurants in the greater DC region.  First at was then the new Ford’s Fish Shack in Ashburn, (now tremendously popular), then Food Matters in Alexandria, later the noted high end national chain restaurant Seasons 52 in Tysons, at the popular Tavern@River Falls in Maryland, and at Ancora, the restaurant opened in the Watergate by noted Chef Bob Kincaid.   Paul, like many bartenders has experienced different environments, moved around, found environments that work or don’t work for him and mastered the craft.   And he did all this at an age most can’t imagine.   Over 60.  And he loves it.  Here is Paul when he bartended in Alexandria:


While Paul is the exception for bartenders his experience is useful for all people looking for bartender jobs regardless of age.  He used clever universal methods for job hunting applied to bartending and his age and circumstances.  It has worked.  Continuously.   We have distilled his experiences and used them to to guide other grads older than the norm.  When they apply it to their own circumstances it works.

We’ve distilled Paul’s experience, that of thousands of grads, our depth of knowledge, and synthesized all of it as part of our job placement program.  Its accompanied by a stream of new job leads that flow into our office every week.  They come from every kind of bartender employer in the region.  Its part of the reason we have been able to average about 100 new bartending jobs every month for our grads.

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Will there be a new park behind the Professional Bartending School in Arlington, VA?

Written on July 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm, by admin

Is Arlington County building out a new mini park at the corner of Barton Street and Clarendon Boulevard?   It might be.  Today workmen from Arlington County started to take down the fence around two lots they were “granted” by the Korean Embassy at that corner.

Arlington County Workmen on the lot at Clarendon Blvd and Barton Street

According to a story in Arlnow.com from May of this year the Korean Military Attache which owns the land “granted it to Arlington County” at no cost as a gesture of good will.

Per the article “The lease agreement would be in effect for a minimum of two years and would continue until terminated by one of the parties. The county staff report indicates maintenance costs associated with the lease would be minimal and no significant fiscal impact is expected.”

We would like to see a park behind our school. It would be an attractive addition to the neighborhood.


Part time jobs in Northern Virginia

Written on June 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm, by admin

Our bartending school provides endless opportunities for part-time work for those looking to augment their income. Our school has been a huge source for part-time jobs for grads for years, in fact decades. Whether someone is working, in college or grad school, retired, or simply looking to earn some extra income we have aided thousands of graduates in landing additional part-time work and extra income.

Take Kendra and Brent for instance.



PBS grads Kendra and Brent bartending at an event in Clarendon



Kendra is a consultant with a full time job.  She wanted extra income.  She wanted flexible work, and as she told us she didn’t want a boring low paying retail job.  She took our course.  We have now given Kendra two gigs covering three days.  They came directly off our leads.   One was at a concert at National Stadium.  The above picture was taken in the middle of Clarendon during the annual two day Arts Festival thrown by the Clarendon Alliance.

Between hourly pay and tips Brenda has already paid for the classes.

Part time jobs for College Students

Brent is  a 21 year old student at George Mason University.  He also wanted flexible part time opportunities.  The Clarendon Alliance event was his first bartending gig–a two day event of about 4-6 hours each day.  It occurred during the first few weeks after he graduated.   Brent has opportunities to work parties, events, weddings, or might end up getting some shifts at many of the nearby bars in close proximity to George Mason that have hired our grads.

Matt, below, took our program during college break, used our suggestions and smarts from the placement office and landed a first job in Blacksburg before being promoted to this high profile position at the Continental Divide Bar for visitors to Virginia Tech and Blacksburg.



Matt from Virginia Tech bartending in Blacksburg




Part time jobs for the employed

Many of our students have a full time job but are looking for extra income.  It could be for a myriad of reasons.   Brenda took our course for just that reason.  Years before Brenda had worked in the hospitality industry and in a variety of restaurants.  Now she is an adult, a mother, and someone eager to earn extra income in a part time job that is better paying and more fun than retail or for a  call center.   She took our course.

After finishing the 40 hour program and going through our placement assistance session and accessing our leads Brenda still hadn’t landed a bartending gig.

That didn’t phase us.  We want to see grads earn back the cost of the program and make that extra income.   We went back over opportunities with Brenda and redirected her.



Brenda at Westwood Country Club in Vienna



She is now applying her recently acquired bartending skills with long developed skills from years of working at restaurants.  She loves it.  It augments her regular income and is infinitely better than sitting in an office or working a low paying retail job.

Part Time Jobs in DC and Maryland

Our placement office works with opportunities throughout the region.   In January up to 50 grads worked either one or two nights for the Inauguration parties.   This was an awesome event.  Some of our grads called it the most memorable day of work they ever had.  They were paid an hourly salary and tips.   And some earned “bank”.  Tremendous money.   Here are a few of their pictures.



Tasia bartending the inauguration events





Fikre bartending at the inauguration



Not only did these and so many other grads get to bartend at this exciting event, earn great money, but before the events started they got to experience a private concert as many of the stars practiced before the evenings’ grand ball.

Our school has been helping grads earn part time income for decades. If you are looking for part time jobs and income give us a call: (703) 841 9700








Successful Inventor and Entrepreneur| But Can he bartend

Written on June 5, 2013 at 10:30 am, by admin

We are very proud of our recent grad Robin Thomas. He invented the Noteboard, sold thousands of them, had it go viral, was written about in a wealth of popular web sources: HuffingtonPost, Techcrunch , Forbes and other major media sources. He has since sold this fledging business to afford him the ability to retire, (or rest, or think, or cogitate, or explore) for at least a little while.

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It’s all been a whirlwind of activity. In the midst of this hugely successful and frenetic period he took the time to take our 40 hour bartending course. He loved it. He graduated. He mixed, shook, and stirred with a fervor and dedication. He graduated from our program even as he decided to leave another prestigious school of higher education, Stanford University.

And now he is another example of a unique inventive world of major inventors. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both quit college and they developed fairly well known businesses, Microsoft and Apple. Is Robin Thomas next in line for such fame and fortune?

Congrats, Robin!!!! But can you bartend???? Since he finished our classes in early February, 2013 he has managed to dramatically increase sales of the Noteboard and sell his business to a larger enterprise. He is a success.

The staff at Noteboard.com turns the company into a huge viral success

The staff at Noteboard.com turns the company into a huge viral success

But he still hasn’t bartended in a real paying gig. Not a party, not a bar, not an event, not a restaurant nor a club, or a catered event. So many high paying, fast moving opportunities behind the rail…and Robin decided to forego all of them to develop a successful business, build it into a thriving enterprise, and then cash out with a big (or relatively big payout). Now he is living the life of Riley. What a man.

Robin has yet to cash in on his well honed bartending skills. Robin reports he makes killer drinks for his friends and they love them. (I bet he is hugely popular with this rare skill) But nobody has tipped him a buck for the rarified skills he developed at our school.

Would you hire Robin to bartend? You should. He is an inventive writer, a musician, at a young age he has a wealth of experiences, and he is already a successful entrepreneur….and because of that he has time on his hands to shake em and stir em and mix you a wide variety of tasty cocktails (at least his friends think they are tasty).

If you want this exclusive talent to bartend at your event call us. We provide bartenders to parties and for full and part-time employment.

Dionne bartending at a beach party

For all those enterprising Washingtonians you would get the treat of being served cocktails by the Gutenberg of modern communications, a rare treat indeed.

BTW: This week Robin announced in Reddit that he sold The Noteboard. He’s been busy responding to Redditers and contemplating his next move. We think bartending should be in his future!!!!


Arlington Restaurants: Making Chicken Salad out of chicken sh**

Written on May 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm, by admin

Toscana Grill in Arlington suffered a burst water main last weekend and will close for renovations for about two weeks.  But they decided to make the best out of a bad lot.  On May29 they offered the community FREE FOOD.  They posted in popular Arlnow in the morning about a free food offer.  The article drew a lot of comments but even more retweets, facebook comments, emails to friends, and news spread in offices around the county as one office worker noticed the story and told coworkers.

People made sure others found out about this opportunity. People who walked by the restaurant emailed and called their friends and family. Over the course of the evening they served hundreds of meals. The majority were probably to people who had never been to the restaurant. Diners were able to eat out on the patio or had takeout.

We interviewed some of them. Folks enjoyed the food. People were wowed by the authenticity and energy of the owner/operator.  He took hundreds of orders over several hours…but took the time to chat with little children who had waited in line with their parents.

Toscana Grill is a hidden restaurant, nicely located in a well known central Arlington, Va office complex, but on the interior of the courtyard and without street front visibility. Many of the customers this evening lived within blocks or easy access to Toscana.  They hadn’t been there before even as it is within easy walking distance.  It is hidden, off the main path. We interviewed some and they said they would return when Toscana Grill hopefully reopens around mid June.

Social Media is Powerful

The power of social media and a well meaning honest story can truly work wonders. Arlnow.com that carried the story is very popular in Arlington, Va, and one of the most successful national examples of hyper-local media. That single story got seen and delivered to thousands of people in the region and hundreds turned up.   Knowing the owner we glanced at the total number of comped orders and comped value of this give away. The total dollar value rivaled some of their best days.  But that is without serving any wines, beers, or other drinks. It was certainly the largest number of meals they have served since reopening and rebranding this restaurant two years ago. That is the potential power of social media unleashed with a great story. Nobody paid a cent for the meals, but the tip jar did look full. Hopefully the staff was well compensated by generous tipping customers.


62 people waiting in line for free food at Toscana Grill

At 4:50 PM there were over 30 people in line waiting for free meals.  By 5:10 PM there were 62 people in line, about 20 had already ordered and waiting for their meals on the outdoor patio.  Local ABC TV affiliate, channel 8 was filming the waiting line and preparing a news story. Two hours later the line was similarly long at over 60 people and the patio was filled with diners.  The line stayed busy til 9:00PM when they ran out of food.

We like Toscana Grill.   They have hired our graduates to bartend and serve.  But more importantly our staff found them to be one of the best restaurants and places to eat and drink in our neighborhood.  Hopefully, thanks to the Arlnow article, the power of social media, and the quality of their food they’ll be back open shortly with even more customers.










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