How to Get a Bartending License in Chicago, Illinois

Written by Tanya Gonzalez

Bartender holding glass smiling

Becoming a bartender in Chicago, Illinois, is a rewarding career choice that offers flexibility and the opportunity to meet new people in the vibrant hospitality industry.

However, to legally serve alcoholic beverages on-premises in the city, you must complete an Illinois BASSET certification course. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to get a bartending license in Chicago.

Read on to learn about the on-premise and off-premise versions of the program, who needs to be certified, the steps you need to take and more.

Understanding Illinois BASSET Certification

The Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training (BASSET) program is mandated and issued by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. The program aims to educate sellers and servers about responsible alcohol service, thereby reducing alcohol-related incidents and promoting public safety.

The state legally requires BASSET certification for any on-premise server, such as bartenders and food servers, and it is highly recommended for off-premise workers who sell alcohol to be consumed off-site.

Training is essential for anyone involved in the sale and service of alcoholic beverages, including:

  • Bartenders
  • Restaurant employees
  • Baristas
  • Convenience store clerks
  • Bar managers and business owners
  • Alcohol retailers
  • Catering professionals
  • Security personnel who check ID
  • Alcohol delivery drivers

Steps to Obtain BASSET Certification

  1. Choose an Approved Training Provider: To ensure you meet the necessary legal requirements, search for a training provider approved by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. To comply with Illinois liquor laws, all bartenders, servers and alcohol retailers need to be BASSET certified within 120 days of hire.
  2. Select Your Course: The state offers two types of BASSET training programs: on-premise and off-premise. On-premise certification is for professionals who serve alcohol that is consumed on-site at the establishment, while off-premise certification is for employees who sell liquor for consumption elsewhere. Both courses can be taken online. You can also choose a combination course. That allows you to provide services at any professional establishment with an Illinois liquor license.
  3. Complete the Training Program: This alcohol awareness program typically covers a range of information, such as:
    • The effects of alcohol on the body
    • Strategies for preventing overservice
    • Skills for identifying and handling underage patrons
    • Understanding Illinois liquor laws and regulations
  4. Pass the Final Exam: After completing the coursework, you must pass a final exam to demonstrate your understanding of the material and receive your alcohol serving permit.
  5. Print Your Card: Once you pass the exam, you can instantly download a temporary certificate. Your official card will be available to download and print within 30 days.
  6. Renew Your Certification: BASSET certificates are valid for three years from the date of acquisition and need to be renewed before expiring.

Additional Tips for Aspiring Bartenders

  • Stay Informed: Regularly search for updates on liquor laws and regulations from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.
  • Continue Education: Consider attending bartending school in Chicago and enrolling in hospitality training courses to enhance your skill sets, seller or server experience and career prospects.
  • Network: Join local hospitality groups and attend industry events to stay connected and informed about job opportunities at restaurants or other establishments where alcohol is provided.

Obtain a Bartending License in Chicago Today

Illinois BASSET certification fulfills bartending regulations in Chicago and equips you with the knowledge to navigate and excel in this dynamic and rewarding field. Take the first step today! Enroll in a BASSET training program to kickstart your career and ensure you are well-prepared to serve legally and responsibly.