L’Ecole du Bar de Montréal (EBM) opened its doors in March 2016. It was founded by the 5 co-owners of the fabulous speakeasy bar Le 4e Mur. “When we decided to open Le 4e Mur, we knew it would be a first step and that we wanted to open a school as well,” Eddy, one of the partners, shared as he gave me a tour of the school in August.
Training course for future bartenders
The first week of every month, the EBM welcomes a maximum of 15 students for a 5 day long, 8 hours a day, training in the bartending trade. The course, instructed in French, mixes theory and practice for students to learn the basics of the job in terms of product knowledge and technique. “Our objective is first and foremost to help the students be work ready in order for them to find a position as fast as possible after the course”, Eddy told me. Classes are taught by the founders and staff of Le 4e Mur, all professional bartenders at the top of their game with international bartending experience. The bar actually serves as a showcase for the school. According to Eddy, “prospective students invite their parents to Le 4e Mur – which lends itself to this mix of generation as it is not a ‘young people’ bar – to show them what bartending can be like and thus convince them to pay for their training at EBM.”
The school comprises a demonstration station for the instructor and four working stations for the students. On the first day, the course participants are introduced to the different kinds of spirits and to classic cocktails. They also learn how to handle customers and alcohol consumption responsibly. The second day focuses on liquors, beer and wine with an olfactory recognition exercise. The third day gets more practical with explanations about how bar stations are organized and how to set them up and clean them. Proper hands-on experience is developed with the practice of bar techniques and some working flair moves. The last two days of the course are all about practice. Students train as in a proper bar and learn how to be most efficient with speed and precision exercises. They practice with real bottles in order to get familiar with the products that are usually found behind a bar. The bottles are filled with colored water as the school is still waiting for the authorization to practice with alcohol. On the final day, students are tested on the theoretical and practical knowledge they’ve acquired over the week.
The course syllabus contains information about the methods, the different sorts of spirits and also gives some advice about how to write a professional résumé and go job hunting. At the end of the course, the teachers help their graduates find a job through their extensive network in Montreal and beyond.
A subscription plan will be launched very soon for people wishing to use the school for training purposes. An excellent idea I think as bartenders would have the perfect setting to get ready for competitions or to maintain their skills while in between jobs.
Workshops for amateurs and enthusiasts
If you’re interested in spirits and curious about bar techniques but not to the point of attending a complete bartending course, L’Ecole du Bar de Montréal launched a series of tasting and technique workshops at the end of September. The series currently announced will run until early December. Tasting workshops are dedicated to the discovery of specific spirits or spirit categories with words about their history and production process. Meanwhile, the sole technique workshop of this first edition will help develop participants’ freepouring techniques. The workshops will return in 2017 and more frequently.
The workshops are given by bartenders at Le 4e Mur naturally but also by bartenders from other venues in Montréal and by a brand ambassador for Diageo Reserve. Quite a nice line-up I think!