Bartenders serve a different kind of punch these days — the fighting kind.

Started by the Bartender Boxing Organization, Bar Spar teaches bartenders the basics of boxing under the guidance of professional trainers, culminating in registration with U.S.A. Boxing and a sanctioned amateur fight.

Why offer it? Chris Ha of sponsoring brand Tequila Cazadores explains: 

“The goal is that after three months of a real boxing training regiment, participants fight in a real sanctioned boxing match and develop a healthier lifestyle. Many of our bartenders have said the experience is life-changing.”

“Many of our bartenders have said the experience is life-changing.”

With its fast pace, entertainment vibe and vampire hours, the bar business can lead to unhealthy eating, poor sleeping, and lousy exercise habits, not to mention drinking disorders and substance abuse.

Now in its third year, Bar Spar will have put over 260 bartenders through its unique program focused on physical, emotional, and mental well being.

Tequila Cazadores is made from 100% blue agave and prides itself on being an authentic Mexican spirit from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Indeed, the style of boxing that Bar Spar teaches shares influences from Mexico.

On the day they enter the ring, bartenders must be extremely fit in order to compete even at the amateur competition level. For three months, bartenders train hard, alternating between sparring, circuit training, and running in addition to working their normal shifts. 

At the end of the three months, the Bartender Boxing Organization decides whether to offer a participant a spot on the team. Only six men and six women make that cut.

Chris Ha of Tequila Cazadores said “Tequila Cazadores is more than a spirits brand and we consider Bar Spar to be one of the most important aspects of that brand. I think there is a balance in a lot of bartenders’ lives that is missing, and I think [Bar Spar] has given them the structure to help them frame up what is important. There’s a lot of evidence between physical health and mental health and I think [Bar Spar] improves the longevity of our bartenders’ careers.”

“Bar Spar has given them the structure to frame up what is important”

Since debuting in 2016 with programs in four cities, the initiative has now grown to ten cities this year, including Toronto and Vancouver. Other Bacardi brands have also launched wellness programs. Bacardi rum offers a dance program called Rum Shaker. Martini has a bicycle program, Ciclismo, that’s taking off in Europe.

While the program itself lasts just three months, the aim of the program, like other wellness initiatives, is to equip bartenders with tools that will bring long term balance to their lives, given their work in an industry with long hours, late nights and easy access to alcohol.

If you are a bartender with a fighting spirit and a determination to develop a healthier lifestyle, learn more and sign up by clicking the link below:


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