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Flair Bartending

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Dinner and a show.

"It don't seem natural to me, throwing up a drink before you've even swallowed it."
Reg Deadman, Goodnight Sweetheart, "Flash, Bang, Wallop"

Drink-making with an eye to showmanship, often incorporating juggling bottles and shakers, dance moves, flaming drinks, stacked glasses. Some flair bartenders make nonstandard use of bar equipment or do magic tricks with bar items. Flair bartenders may also have a sophisticated knowledge of drink mix recipes and mixing techniques. The goal is to entertain bar patrons. Possibly more prevalent in Real Life than in media; any given media portrayal has a good chance of being an homage to Cocktail. In real life, there are flair bartender competitions.

Can also be done with food, particularly ice cream.

See also Bar Slide. Likely to be an element of the Coolest Club Ever. Nothing to do with bartending performed by one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bartender averts this, or plays this straight, depending on your point of view. One arc specifically pits traditionalist bartender Ryu against a flairtender.
  • Madoromi Barmaid: As a manga that focuses on the lives of attractive barmaids, several characters are skilled at this sort of bartending whereas other are more low key and focus on tradtional drink mixing. Hiyoko is skilled at juggling and other flashy techniques compared to the more straight-forward bartending protagonist Yuki.
  • In the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann side story "Viral's Sweet Dream," Simon the bartender uses his GIGA DRIIIIIILL BREEEEEEEAKAAAA! …as a martini shaker.

    Comic Books 
  • Parodied in an issue of Nightwing (Rebirth), when Dick and Wally go to a bar and order a soda and lime and a Zesti, and the bartender complains that he studied mixology in Metropolis for this. Wally says he can set the soda on fire if it would make him feel better.

    Films — Animation 
  • Long John Silver in Treasure Planet uses his multi-function cyborg arm to cook like this.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Speedy (1928): Harold Lloyd and coworkers are soda jerks with flashy, baseball-derived techniques. Includes more than one Bar Slide.
  • Cocktail is the Trope Codifier.
  • Coyote Ugly: The bartenders at the titular bar all do this. At one point we're treated to a montage of Violet dropping multiple bottles as she attempts to catch up to the others' skill level. Maria Bello, who plays the bar's owner Lil, was a bartender for years before her big break, and gets to show off her skills in the film. Lil's flair is all Maria.
  • Parodied in Jane Austen's Mafia!, when the priest mixes an Umbrella Drink for a distraught Joey.
  • In Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow, Jones (the guy who does the sound effects with his mouth) goes undercover as a fancy barkeeper. This is part of his schtick.
  • In Uncharted, Nathan Drake starts the film as a bartender who likes to add flair to his drinks while monologuing about the history of said drink's origin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Josh gets a job at the bar "Home Base", and watches multiple online videos to learn some bartender tricks. At the same time, he develops a staff infection resembling a large pimple on his chin. His tricks prove popular with the customers, but culminate in him trying a difficult toss that impacts his chin, popping the pimple and spraying puss in a customer's drink. This promptly gets him fired.
  • The King of Queens, episode "Pour Judgment." Doug takes work as a bartender to fulfill an old dream. Broken glass ensues.
  • How I Met Your Mother, episode "Three Days of Snow," when Ted and Barney briefly take over McLaren's.
  • NCIS's Abby was shown to have flair bartending skills.
  • One of the Challenges in Beauty and the Geek.
  • In A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Stephen Fry parodies this in the cocktail sequences that end all the season 3 and 4 episodes—he shakes around without rhythm and does such things as: shoving the shaker down the front of his trousers and hopping around, swinging it on a string like a yo-yo, and sometimes breaking it open mid-dance.
  • Carla did several stunts to win a best barmaid contest in Cheers, including a complete flip while holding a platter of drinks.
  • Scrubs: JD and Turk did this in one episode.
    JD: Last summer, Turk and I had to choose between working disaster relief or going to bartender school. I like to think we made the right choice.
  • The Charmed episode "Feats of Clay" has Piper cast a confidence spell on a meek waiter so he'll have the confidence to ask a female coworker to marry him. Instead, he becomes a hyperconfident bartender, not very interested in his coworker anymore. Phoebe lampshades this by asking "I thought you were supposed to make him confident, not turn him into Tom Cruise?"
  • In the season five episode of House, "House Divided", the title character did the hospital's morgue. Long story short, House needed to add "chemical burns" to a guy's cause of death.
  • The Norwegian comedians Ylvis try it on the back of a moving truck.
  • Las Vegas: When Delinda opened her new club in the Montecito casino, one of the first things she did was hire a stellar flair bartender. She had to steal him from another establishment, in fact.
  • Sense8: Sun is about to go undercover as a waitress at a party thrown by her family's company so she can confront her brother. Problem is she doesn't know how to tend bar. Luckily it turns out Lito learned flair bartending skills for a movie where he had to play a bartender, and their Psychic Link means Sun can use his skills to impress the head of the catering staff.

    Video Games 
  • Introduced as a skill in The Sims 3: Late Night, and retained for The Sims 4.
  • Although the Citadel bartender in Mass Effect 2 pours drinks normally for the most part, he adds some style when Commander Shepard decides to down ryncol.
  • The Frat Army in Kingdom of Loathing includes "wartenders" who mix drinks on the battlefield and even use them as weapons.
  • Rodin from Bayonetta indulges in this, most prominently intermixed with Bayonetta's Lock-and-Load Montage.
  • In Final Fantasy VII Remake Tifa Lockhart is shown to be a skilled bartender with some flair bartending skills when she flips a cocktail shaker over her head whilst doing a twirl and catching it perfectly before decanting Cloud's drink order.

    Visual Novels 
  • Defied in VA-11 HALL-A, when a customer says that Jill should be more extravagant in serving drinks, throwing bottles around and such, Jill points out that it would take longer to get the drink, the drink would be improperly mixed and therefore taste worse, and there would be a high likelihood of a broken bottle, broken glass, or broken face. And it adds nothing to the flavor or the experience.


    Web Original 
  • In the Paradise fiction setting, a bartender who Changed to take on monkey characteristics bartends this way, using all five limbs. Because he looks perfectly human to people who can't see through the Change, the way he does what he does is perceived as puzzling to say the least.

    Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb do this while making milkshakes in the episode "Out to Launch."
  • In The Simpsons episode "Pygmoelian", Moe competes in a bartending competition. An Irish bartender chops a beer can in half with a meat cleaver, removes the two halves of the can, and overturns a frosty mug over it. The beer, against all logic, stays put until the beer mug is set down right side up. Contestant #2, a well-endowed Hooters girl, simply bounces up and down while overflowing two taps. Moe arranges mugs in the shape of the Duff logo. Contestant #2 wins.
  • Spongebob Squarepants often does this while preparing Krabby Patties.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Bar Flair


Tifa's Bartender Skills

Tifa shows off her bartending skills to Cloud.

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (59 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheBartender

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