Since there's not too many reviews of our courses yet on places like Tripadvisor.com or Oyster.com, we try to contact former students every now and then, to see how they did at EBS, and how things panned out for them after the course. Their different opinions and walks of life give a good impression for what's in store for you once you have booked a course with The European Bartender school. This week, theres's EBS Sydney reviewed, by Michael Issa - a former student who went on to become a successful bartender in Sydney's bartending industry. We know technically Hael graduated in one of our other schools, but since he moved to Sydney to put his EBS certificate to the test, it made a lot of sense categorizing this as an EBS Sydney review. Besides, the course material in Phuket is identical to all other EBS destinations.
So Hael,when did you take your EBS course?
"I took the course in august 2013 in Thailand (ed: Phuket). Went travelling after around Asia. And made our way to Sydney to find a job as a Cocktail bartender."
Learn more about EBS Phuket
What was your first impression of Australia?
"Well, Australia is a very 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 arrogant attitude that you sometimes can feel back in Europe. But I want to put focus on the fact that there is 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 traveling around."
And 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. Making it a great anchor point, if you want to save some money and travel every now and then on the side. The amount of things to do when off work is also insane. If there is anything I wanna do, I can find it here in Sydney."
What venues have you been working at?
"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 more quiet and cocktail oriented bars like the Catch in Potts Point. My next step will probably be in a proper 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 foundation 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 has made me more confident when I step behind the bar for a trial shift. And usually, I do get the job afterwards. 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 first 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 nice cities as 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."
Which bar did you find the coolest in Sydney?
"There are so many nice places to go out or to relax and have a nice cocktail, if you want to party; The Marquee, Ivy, The Backroom and Cargo bar are nice places to go. For a nice cocktail you can go to Buttonbar, Eau de Vie, The Baxter inn, Barbershop or The Loft. Sydney has some of the best bars in the world."
What do you do on your spare time in Sydney?
"Like to go to the beaches, flairing, do some sightseeing, party, Imax (worlds biggest cinema), surfing etc. Why not visit Bondi Beach? Have a flaring session in Botanical Gardens, go out in funky Newtown, visit Opera Bar - with the view of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge at the same time!"
How would you describe Sydney and Australia in three words?
"1) Fun 2) Adventure 3) lifetime experience."
What is your favorite cocktail, and why?
"A good Gold label whiskey sour, if not Espresso Martini is my second favorite. Because I like to drink good scotch whisky and coffee."
What's the best thing you've done so far in Sydney?
"I like the sightseeing the most, Sydney as a lot to offer and to see. The nightlife is also very interesting, and different to the rest of the world. With people from all over the world, the bars and nightclubs has to develop a very international and different culture. This gives us, the travelers, a big amount of choices when we decide to go out for a drink (or ten)."
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!"