EBS Sydney Review: Michael Issa
This week, we’re going Down Under for our EBS Sydney review by Michael Issa – a former student who went on to become a successful bartender in Sydney’s bartending industry.
We know that technically Hael (Michael) graduated from #EBSPhuket, but since he moved to Sydney to put his EBS certificate to the test, it made a lot of sense to categorise this one as an EBS Sydney review!
EBS Sydney Review
So Hael, when did you take your EBS course?
“I took the course in August 2013 in Thailand and afterward, I went travelling around Asia. After that, we made our way to Sydney to find jobs as cocktail bartenders”
What was your first impression of Australia?
“Well, Australia is a pretty diverse country with a lot of different cultures and people from all over. It has it all from beautiful nature to top class bars, venues, and nightlife. People are very friendly here, compared to the often “cold attitude” that you sometimes can feel back in Europe. But I want to put it into focus that there are a lot of travelers here. From all over the world. Australia is the new big thing, and you meet some very interesting people when you’re travelling around.”
So, why did you come to Sydney?
“Sydney offers a lot of opportunities if you love bartending. It has high-class cocktail bars, busy nightclubs, and in addition to that it has very good salaries and tips. Sydney is a great anchor point if you want to save some money and travel every now and then on the side. The things you can do on your time off from work is also insane. If there is anything I want to do, I can find it here in Sydney.”
What venues have you been working at since EBS?
“I’ve worked all over, I like to try different things out and find my style of bartending. I’ve worked at places ranging from busy nightclubs like The Marquee at the casino, fashionable places like The Backroom in Kings Cross, to quieter, more cocktail-oriented bars like the Catch in Potts Point. My next step will probably be in a high class cocktail bar, with a lot of new things to learn.”
Do you feel like EBS is the reason why you’ve come this far?
“Yes I do, definitively. EBS gave me a lot of knowledge and the foundations to jump into a high standard cocktail culture like Sydney has and still land on my feet. Cocktail, mixology as well as the brand- and product knowledge have made me more confident when I step behind the bar for a trial shift. And usually, I do get the job afterward. The course has also inspired me to keep developing all the time. I’m truly trying to become the best at what I do. I actually got a job because of the EBS course book as well; when doing an interview with the owners of Marquee, they asked me a question about tequila, and I remembered the answer from one of the tests that I did during the course. Later on, they told me that that was the reason why I got the job.”
Would you recommend Sydney as a starting destination for an aspiring bartender?
“Absolutely, Sydney has it all. The city offers a good challenge, and I enjoyed pushing myself and going forward all the time. If not for bartending, then for all the other stuff Sydney has to offer.”
What are your plans after Sydney?
“Well, I don’t like to plan anymore, but I will probably travel and work. See where life will take me. I hope one day I will end up in an amazing city like Las Vegas, Singapore, Rio de Janeiro or maybe a nice place in the Caribbean. I think these are the most inspiring places for a bartender to go.”
How would you describe Sydney and Australia in three words?
“Fun. Adventure. Once-in-a-lifetime.”
Why should anyone choose EBS Sydney?
“Because it is a good experience and it is easy to work and travel in Australia with the working holiday visa. A good opportunity if you’re sick of the weather back home, or if you just want to experience something awesome!”