Flair Bartending in Competitions

Flair Bartending in Competitions

By Terri Buryanov


The evolution of flair bartending competitions has been incredible over the years. I feel fortunate that I began flairing while today’s Legends were still competing and those we consider old school today were the flair bartenders that every new flair bartender looked up to, myself included. I remember the very first competition I saw was Battle of the Flair Gods 2. A day when we could still see Mindaugas Gradeckas competing, Tom Dyer still had thick glasses and flair competitions were simply about fun!


I loved those days! I remember my first time competing was in King of the Ring 1. It was the biggest competition the world had ever seen with well over 100 competitors competing over a three-day period. Competitors were all showing off moves in the practice area during these three days and all hung out together when their heat was finished. Flair was a common bond among all flair bartenders from all over the world and competition was friendly. Sharing moves, cheering on your peers and hoping the best for them, supporting each other and just knowing that flair is about fun! Those days disappeared quickly.


As soon as prize money became substantial competitors became determined and sometimes cruel. It seemed as if the fun was being removed, however that is when flair really started to evolve into something of higher caliber. That was when people really started pushing themselves to do the most original, hardest moves they could do. Flair competitions started getting really impressive to watch.


Unfortunately, many of us feel this new evolvement may also lead us to the end of flair being relevant among people. Competitions lately are all about who can do the biggest move with the most objects. Has any competitor ever asked why by the end of the night the only people left hanging out at a competition like that are flair bartenders or really drunk people who aren’t paying attention? It’s incredible some of the moves flair bartenders are capable of doing but quite honestly, routines with big moves and no personality are very boring for the general audience to watch and they are the people we should be trying to impress.


We at the LVFA obviously have very strong opinions about what a flair competition should consist of.  Even Alexey, Vladymyr and I all have different opinions on the way things should be but one thing we all agreed on before creating the LVFA Championship was, we need to stop worrying about the flair bartenders and focus on what is going to entertain the non-flair crowd. Until we can all work together to make this happen, flair will never grow into something bigger than it is now.


I would like to personally challenge all people in the flair community to look at flair from a non-flair perspective. Most of us are all diva’s in our own mind and think we are gods and goddesses for what we do. Think hard about that. Who else besides your fellow flair bartenders knows and cares who you are and what you mean to flair bartending? Almost nobody. Who do we need to impress to get flair to grow into something the whole world knows and respects? My answer would be it’s all of those people who don’t care about us, or what we do, YET! We need to change our ways of thinking and start doing whatever we can to impress the non-flair people. Until we can figure out how to do that, flair will never be of importance to anyone but ourselves.


Until next time, I wish Wonderflair days to all!