Bartending License Requirements for New York

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In New York, there aren’t any state regulations in place that require a server or bartender to be licensed in order to sell alcohol.

It is important to keep in mind some employers may require bartenders/ servers to complete such courses regardless of state or city laws.

Despite being lenient on serving alcohol requirements, the state of New York does endorse the Alcohol Training Awareness Program (ATAP).

This program aims to educate bartenders and servers on the legal aspects of selling alcohol and equips them with practical skills to avoid violations – like not selling to underage individuals.

The state strongly recommends that anyone serving or selling alcohol should complete this training. Again, it’s not required at the state level. But through the lens of an employer, it does help prevent illegal sales. Also, in the event that an establishment gets charged with a violation from a regulatory authority, showing proof that team members have undergone ATAP training could potentially lessen the penalty. So it’s a good idea all around.

Click the link below to view all New York state-approved ATAP schools:

Minimum Age To Serve Alcoholic Beverages In New York:

  • 18

According to New York’s Liquor Authority’s website:

A minor (person under the age of 18) cannot be employed as a hostess, waitress, or waiter, or in a position that requires him or her to sell, dispense, or handle alcoholic beverages.

Note: Individuals under the age of 18 may be permitted to handle empty containers of alcoholic beverages (such as in roles like dishwasher or busboy) as long as they are directly supervised by someone who is at least 21 years old.

Bartender Restrictions in New York

According to New York State law, an employee must not have a felony conviction without providing a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities that gives them the right to employment due to felony conviction.

Additional Bartender Resources

This post was updated on August 31, 2023.

Top 3 Bartending Schools in New York City

Although there aren’t any requirements for bartenders to be licensed in New York, attending a bartending school may be beneficial in kickstarting your bartending career. Unlike the ATAP state-approved schools above, these are the programs that focus more on bartending skills, mixology, and the craft of making delicious cocktails.

Below are bartending schools in the NYC area that past graduates have highly recommended.

Connect To a Top Bartending School in NYC

Save time searching for a bartending school and let us take it from here. We’ll connect you to a highly-rated school in your local area immediately.

New York Bartending School

New York Bartending School is one of the highest rates course providers in NYC. Their basic course provides a comprehensive overview of cocktail-making. You will have a hands-on, behind the bar experience for the duration of the course. Courses run every Monday (they also offer free 2-hour trial days). With four bars and 34 cocktail stations, you will never feel overcrowded during the course allowing you to learn at your own pace.

Price: $395

Learn more at

ABC Bartending School

ABC Bartending Schools is a nationwide program. They are the largest privately owned bartending school system in North America, providing schools in Miami, NYC, Dallas, LA, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Atlanta – to name a few. Regardless of the location, Tony Sylvester (the owner) has a fantastic reputation and has been organizing bartending courses nationwide since the late 70s.

Price: $199

Learn more at

American Bartenders School

American Bartenders School is conveniently located in the center of New York, and it’s a short walk from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. In addition, they’re easily reached by subway from all boroughs, on the New Jersey Path train, or on the Long Island Railroad.

ABC offers a 40-hour, full-certification bartending course that is designed to fully prepare you for a bartending job in NYC. American Bartenders School offers a FULL DAY or PART DAY program, which will allow you to complete the training in either one or two weeks. They also offer a FLEX program to customize your own schedule according to your needs.

Price: Depends on the program

Learn more at

[For a more in-depth look at the best local bartending schools, check out The 3 Best NYC Bartending Schools]

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