Flair is a discipline in bartending that splits opinions more than any other. Bartenders have different styles. Some focus more on entertaining guests with flair while others concentrate on creating innovative drinks and taking great care of every step. Others entertain guests with close-up magic, while others just enjoy chatting with them to build trust. There is no one right or wrong way to determine what kind of bartender you should be, or if you should combine different traits. But, here we will focus on flair.
What is flair bartending?
Flair is any movement you make while making drinks for the aesthetics of how they look. Flair refers to the aesthetic of bartending and the art of making it look more appealing. Although it does not necessarily involve throwing and catching bottles or tins, it can.
What’s in it to please the guest?
Your clients will expect flair depending on what kind of bar they work at. Or, you might blow them away by going above and beyond. You can vary how much flair you display from one bar to the next. For example, you shouldn’t expect to flip many bottles if you bar’s main attraction is its craft beer selection. However, there are things you can do that will make your job more enjoyable. Your guests will be more satisfied if they are having a good time and won’t want to leave.
What’s the point of it all for the guest? It’s fun to see skilled people doing things well. This is why we watch the Olympics. These are the best people doing the same thing that we see on TV. Flair can be a great way to break the ice. If someone is looking to have a conversation with someone at the bar or you, they will find something to discuss. Even if you just need to place a napkin in front them while you ask for their order (best flair bottles), they will understand that you are serious about your job.
Your guests will appreciate your flair and build trust. Even if you can only perform a few basic moves but you do them well and confidently (remember that the public doesn’t know how difficult or simple things are). They will assume you are experienced and know what drinks to make, what to recommend, etc. This is a powerful idea that most bartenders don’t really understand or use.
If your guests are entertained, they will not notice the wait times as often. However, make sure you don’t make them wait any longer for drinks. This is a simple example. If you look at the wait times at a theme park (or a good one), operators often have TVs and animated characters to distract you from waiting in line. Flavor bartenders are the animating distraction that keeps your guests busy during busy times.
What’s in it? (The Bartender).
I can only speak for me, but my bartending career has been a long one. After performing on stage in high school, I found a way to express myself. I learned how to flair online (well, the basics) back around 2000. I didn’t have YouTube or any other resources. I didn’t have flair bottles and just empty wine and liquor bottles wrapped in tape so they wouldn’t break. It was a great experience. It was huge for me when I learned how to turn an ice cube into glass from a Greek man who worked at the club.
Tips. Flavor bartenders are the only ones I know who haven’t found it to increase their tips. Customers are often impressed by the effort you put into their drinks and will tip accordingly. It’s simple. But it works. However, it is not possible to reach your full potential by just having flair. Building a relationship is also important.
Flavor bartenders are a great way to be a part the community. They get together a lot to practice, swap moves and have fun. The Flair competitions are a great place to meet new people and have a fun atmosphere. Graham Warner and Tim Flippy Morris were top bartenders in the USA and Canada, and they stood beside me as my bar backs. They were great guys who wanted to help a novice. It’s a wonderful community to be part of.
What’s the point of a bar owner?
A great bartender team will make your bar stand out as a fun and exciting place to go on a night out. If guests just want to have a drink, they can easily buy a six-pack at a local store. They’re purchasing an experience, not just a drink. Happy guests spend more time at the bar and stay longer, which is a good thing, as I said above.
Keep in mind that bartenders who are trying to flair their drinks are likely spending their time learning how to do the job better. How many businesses can claim that their employees spend their time improving their jobs?
Bar owners who are concerned about breakages should consider setting some limits until they feel confident in their team’s ability to do so. Encourage bartenders and wait staff to use garnishes, straws, napkins, etc. to show the impact of flair in the bar. Bar mats can be used to reduce breakages and may also help bartenders look happier at the end of the night.
Remember that bartenders who are looking to flair are showing passion about their job. Keep them around and guide them to the best things for your business.