Tony Mamo's Main Line Center for Bartending Serves Thrills and Skills

No matter how the economy gets shaken or stirred, the bar industry remains strong, especially with a new crop of professionals mixing things up.

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Tony Mamo, owner and director of the Main Line Center for Bartending. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)Standing in front of a series of sinks, Jennifer Hill explains why every used bar glass needs to be put through the triple ringer, so to speak. It’s not necessarily to improve the taste, or even for sanitization—though both are important.

It’s more about chemistry. Any film left on a glass will kill the head of the next beer. And every beer should have a head—about a half-inch, to be exact. Without it, most customers assume the keg is old or deficient, and ask for another, costing the owner money—and the bartender a better tip. “Make sure you use that soap,” Hill tells a class of first-timers at the Main Line Center for Bartending in Manayunk. “Wash, rinse, sanitize, dry.”

And about that last tub of cold water: “How does a cold beer in a hot glass sound?” Hill poses. “Terrible, right?”

For the past three years, business has been booming at the center, which attracts students as young as 18 (the state’s legal age to serve liquor) and as old as 65. “A lot of people think it’s just college kids looking for jobs,” says Tony Mamo, who’s owned the school for the last 18 years. “It’s not.”

Nationwide, bartending classes are full. Attendees are picking up skills, finding jobs, and seeing immediate returns on their investment.

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