How to Become a Flair Bartender

Hi, I’m Chris Cardone and I want to talk about what it takes to become a flair bartender. There’s a lot of different ways to do this. Some people simply go to a bar, see it happen and say, ‘I want to learn how to do that.’ Other people go online to or other sites and learn how to do it that way – by learning by watching it on TV. And some people just pick up bottles and start practicing and learning it that way.

I’d rather tell you how I started to become a flair bartender. I was working at a very small little pub in Long Island, not really much going on and the bartender I was working with showed me how to take a beer bottle off the bar. So somebody finished their beer, and instead of just picking it up and saying, ‘hey, would you like another beer?’ it was a simple, ‘hey, would you like another beer?’ And I found that my tips started to increase and people started to come when I was working and people started throwing twenty bucks on the bar and say, ‘do that again!’ or, ‘do it with your left hand’ or things like that.

And so I started kind of getting into it, and then I saw the movie Cocktail and I watched Tom Cruise and literally studied every single move and every single thing he did and memorized that. Then from there I started watching movies from the Flair Bartender’s Association and watching more and more people with better skills doing more and more moves and kind of learning their things. And then I started to compete, and when I started to compete I went down to the Cayman Islands and saw the fraternity, the really tight group of flair bartenders that took this stuff really seriously. And from there they showed me the difference between working flair and exhibition flair. They showed me how to actually do spin tens and to actually manipulate bottles and really work them around your body and kind of make it look smooth and really kind of just understand the concept of flair bartending.

Then, I learned about the flair bottle. The flair bottle is the bottle that you use to practice. It’s unbreakable and it’s shatter-proof. So, if you hit your head, it hurts, but it doesn’t break and smash over your feet. I have scars all over my fingers. I have one big broken bone in my eyebrow from practicing and bottles breaking over me or bottles hitting and kind of clunking into my head and things of that nature. So it takes a little bit of practice and it certainly takes some pain to learn how to do this stuff, but to become a flair bartender you get the tools of the trade and you start to learn how to practice them.

The other thing is, there are no set rules and no set moves that are standard. It’s an art form, so you can do whatever you want however you want to manipulate. Some people like to juggle bottles in the air three and four at a time. Other people use contact juggling and use them along their body. There’s a whole bunch of different ways to do flair bartending. You got to kind of find your style and the way that fits your personality and kind of make it your own. That’s why if you watch the best of the best, they don’t look like each other because they all have their own way of doing things.

But, to break it down, the way you learn flair bartending is to practice, practice, and practice and take the bumps and the bruises with the success. And that’s how to become a flair bartender.