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Flair Bartending

Updated on July 27, 2011

Introduction to Flair Bartending

Welcome to my page on Flair Bartending. I absolutely love watching a flair bartender at work, and this is a joy that I know is shared by many others. For many people, their initial experience with flair bartending came from an early Tom Cruise movie: Cocktail. That was a little bit before my time (my way of saying I didn't watch Tom Cruise as a kid), but the idea of flair bartending has really taken off. Don't get the wrong idea, though: flair bartenders were around well over a century before that movie ever came out. Officially, some form of flair bartending has been taking place since the 1850s, and that tradition and history is kept alive by the Flair Bartenders' Association (FBA).

There's a lot to learn about flair bartending, and my hope is that this hub will provide all the information you could possibly want about flair bartending and everything associated with this topic from the different types of flair bartending to learning how to choose a flair bartending school.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy this page!

Flair Bartending Supplies

There's 2 Types of Flair Bartending

While there is no specific set style or guide book for flair bartending, there are two actual types of flair bartending. Most people are only going to be familiar with the exhibition, showy style of flair bartending that has become increasingly popular over the past few years. This is often part of an exhibition flair, versus a working flair. Both can overlap one another to a certain degree, but the type of flash bartending that most non-experts are familiar with is going to be more akin to the exhibition flair bartending, which often consists of long choreographed routines. Chances are that if you've watched a long bit of flair bartending from a competition or on YouTube, then you were seeing an example of exhibition flair.

Working flair bartending is another style of flair bartending that is recognized by the FBA. The FBA gives a very clear definition of working flair on their website:

"Working flair is the type of flair the FBA encourages on day to day bar shifts: quick, light, and realistic moves that can be performed without slowing service. Most working flair involves glassware, one bottle, bottle and tin, garnish, or occasionally, two bottle moves. Working flair is always performed while making a cocktail or drink. Flipping empty bottles is not working flair."

This shows the clear difference between the two types of flair bartending.

More Great Bartening Products from Amazon

Flair Bartending Competitions

Flair bartending competitions are becoming more and more popular, and are a way for both beginning and professional flair bartenders to show off their skills and choreographed moves. There are a range of various competitions around the country, and the world, for that matter. Some competitions are sponsored by the FBA, while others might be sponsored by Las Vegas casinos, famous flair bars, or other sponsors.

Attending a flair bartending competition can be a great way to see some of the best flair bartenders showing their stuff, and the choreographed routines can vary greatly from one professional to another. These events can also be inspiring, helping beginners and novices to see what is possible and to be motivated to work towards that.

There isn't really a set circuit of competition, so the best way to figure out when a local flair bartending competition is going to take place is to Google for a schedule, or get ahold of the FBA to find this information out.

Learning Flair Bartending

Learning how to become a flair bartender isn't easy, but it's something that hundreds, if not thousands, of people do each year. There are many different ways that you can learn to flair bartend, and people have even taught themselves. From DVD video courses to e-books to actually attending flair bartending school, there are many different options available.

One resource you can also fall back on no matter what your question, is the FBA. Their website (listed below in the resources section) is a fantastic site all about flair bartending and also is as good a base source as you can ask for in order to find information about any facet of flair bartending that I haven't covered on this page.  Because flair bartending isn't just a Las Vegas thing.

Some Very Good Flair Bartending Moves

Flair Bartending Contest @ Legends

Flair Bartending Poll

So what do you think of flair bartending?

See results

Comments on Flair Bartending?

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    • profile image

      Ellie 6 years ago

      I love flair bartending!! Bar wars in Orlando is starting! TGI fridays! yay! I got first place in this one!

    • profile image

      Kacy 8 years ago

      Great article, Jerry. Would love your comments or suggestions for my new blog about Flair Bartending:

    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Jerry G2 8 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Hi Jama,

      Appreciate the comments. I know that's all the "flair" usually allowed. I saw some fantastic flair bartenders in Las Vegas, and was hooked from that point one.

      @KCC - Just stumbled on that recently. Very much obliged :)

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Reminds me of Coyote Ugly! Love that movie!

      BTW, Jerry G2, did you know you are one of the featured hubbers in one of my hubs? I have a hub called "Texas-Based Writers on HubPages". Check YOU out. :)

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Never mind. My first comment disappeared, I wrote another, then the original reappeared by magic, so I deleted the second. Gremlins!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      The only "flair" allowed in the 3 years I was manager and head bartender of a private club was that girls had never been behind the bar in our little college town.  The best I could get way with was free pouring from a foot above the glass (exact same amount as a shot...always) and pouring with both hands on Fri and Sat nights.  The over-endowed barback and I put on quite a show leaning into the ice bin too, but if I (or we) had tried any of the stuff in the video, the owner would've had a heart attack for sure!

      Guess where I spent vacations, tho. Watching other bartenders, of course!