Flair bartending is the practice of bartenders entertaining guests, clientele or audiences with the manipulation of bar tools (e.g. cocktail shakers) and liquor bottles in tricky, dazzling ways. Used occasionally in cocktail bars, the action requires skills commonly associated with jugglers. It has become a sought-after talent among venue owners and marketers to help advertise a liquor product or the opening of a bar establishment. Competitions have been sponsored by liquor brands to attract flair bartenders, and some hospitality training companies hold courses to teach flair techniques.

Flair bartending is sometimes referred to as “extreme bartending” or contracted to “flairtending.” The word flair became popular among practitioners in the mid 1990s. “Flair” is also used as a verb (e.g. “to flair”), referring to any trickery used by a bartender in order to entertain guests while mixing a drink. Flair can include juggling, flipping (bottles, shakers), manipulating flaming liquors or even performing close-up magic tricks (also referred to as “bar-magic”).

Flair is showmanship added to bartending that enhances the overall guest experience. The ideas behind mixology and drink-oriented or service-minded bartending can still be upheld with the correct application of working flair. Recently, there is a noticeable rise in bartenders combining prominent mixology knowledge and working flair skills all over the world. Working flair and Exhibition flair are very similar on the grounds that they both require precision and practice, however the use of exhibition flair has become a competition oriented style where significantly greater risks are being taken. Working flair, which is much more common, focuses more on delivering drinks to customers while still ensuring visual entertainment.


Things I’ve Learned Behind the Bar [Part I: The Basics]

The Pen and the Pint

1. When pouring draft beer, tilt the glass anywhere but toward the customer/s. Better to give yourself a beer facial when the keg kicks than your paying customers.

2. When shaking with glass, keep the (metal) shaking tin facing customers.  Same logic applies as in rule #1 with regards to glass facials.

3. Chill glassware whenever possible. If your bar lacks a glass chiller, fill serving glass with ice water and allow to chill. Disregard this rule entirely when in the weeds.

4. “In the weeds” means deliriously busy in service-industry-speak. Service industry professionals invariably employ this vernacular to elicit empathy from fellow pros with regards to a busy service. Use interchangeably with “slammed”, i.e. “We were slammed Friday night.”

5. Build glassware first. Whether at home or behind the bar with a line of tickets in front of you, building your glasses keeps you aware and prepared. Rim your…

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Ten Things You Shouldn’t Do As A Customer


I’ve already written the 10 Things You Shouldn’t Do As A Bartender so I think it’s appropriate that I write it for the customers as well. If you’re a bartender, you know how awful customers can be when you’re working in a bar and they’re shitfaced. So here are ten rules for the customer on how to NOT piss off the bartender.

1) DON’T SLAM YOUR GLASS ON THE BAR! This is number one for a reason. It is my biggest pet peeve. If you are tapping/slamming/clinking your glass around, I will ignore you. I won’t tell you to stop. You just won’t get another beer. It is RUDE, annoying, and just stupid. You have a mouth and I hope you have manners. Use them. Slamming your glass on the bartop is a sure way to get ignored or kicked out. Either way, you’ll be waiting longer than the guy…

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Ten Things Not To Do As A Bartender


There are just some things that bartenders should never do or should avoid doing at all costs. These things turn customers away, decrease gratuity, and make you (as the bartender) look bad. So here you go;

1) Do not leave bottles of alcohol on the bar… Ever. Once a bottle is placed on the bartop, you just gave the customer the easiest access to stealing it. They don’t have to take a whole bottle. But a drunk customer who sees a bottle of booze just standing alone, you can bet that they’ll be trying to add whatever is in that bottle to their current drink. And if a bottle happens to vanish, you just lost your bar the cost of the bottle. Doesn’t matter if it’s a bottle of Jenkins vodka or Grey Goose. Don’t ever leave a bottle on top of the bar.


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