Flair in the Mix
bartenders compete in bottle-flipping at T.G.I. Friday’s
Believe it or not, flair bartending is a big thing – so big that they have their own association, and there are regional competitions all over the country. There are even websites dedicated to the art of extreme bartending, and instructions on how to begin. Mike Tomaso, a bartender at T.G.I. Friday’s in Eau Claire, says it’s kind of like an underground society – it’ll blow your mind on how much video, equipment, etc. is dedicated to the art of flair bartending. Which might be handy if you ever want to get a job at T.G.I. Friday’s, where it’s required that the bartenders make pouring your drink look pretty. They start out with the basics, like knuckle rolling (flipping it over the back of the hand) and stalling (balancing a bottle or tin on the back of the hand) and move into stacking, waterfalls, and juggling. While the basics may impress the patrons, the bartenders strive to be trickier so they can compete in Bar Wars, a showdown hosted by T.G.I. Friday’s where the bartenders perform “working flair.” It’s all about who can flip bottles and spin shakers and mix a martini over a pyramid of glasses with precise perfection. Bartenders start out with a set amount of points and lose some for each mistake they make. Not only is flipping a bottle impressive, bartenders can make up their own moves, such as the dual-juggling/flipping act Tomaso is working on with fellow flair expert Karl Topdahl. They’re hoping to perfect it by the next show, but even if they don’t, they and the rest of the bartending crew will surely impress you with their knuckle-rolling-stalling-back-flipping-pyramid-building-juggling fun.
Bar Wars IV • Thursday, Sept. 18 • T.G.I. Friday’s, Oakwood Mall • 7pm • FREE • 830-1424