Flair bartenders compete
Milan’s LoolaPaloosa night-club will host the Italian Grand Final of the Flair Championship 2014 on Friday 5 December, aiming for a place in the London-based World Flair Association (WFA) Grand Slam.
The 25 finalists will include Russia’s Alexander Shtifanov, already world champion, Romania’s Luca Valentin, and Italians Bruno Vanzan and Giorgio Chiarello, who will face each other in two heats carried live in streaming on YouTube and on the LoolaPaloosa website.
The jury will consist of Massimo Negrini, director of the Flair Academy Milano, Stefano Nincevich from Bargiornale trade mag, Andy Collinson, co-founder of the WFA, internationally known Italian bartender Francesco Leoni, and the first barman in the world to use the flair technique, Hungarian Szabolcs Szoke.
Flair bartending isn’t just a barman’s ability to make acrobatic movements while pouring your shot, say the organisers. The WFA was set up to define standards applicable all over the world and to classify techniques such as speed working, working mechanics, doses, flair movements and exhibition rules.
In the first, four-minute heat competitors must prepare two drinks using two different disciplines of flair bartending, the first made with the “working flair” technique (where the choreography is performed with bottles filled by half of their capacity, to simulate what happens in an actual working situation), and the second made with the “show flair” technique for pure entertainment, with bottles filled to 1,5 cl to allow more complex movements. This first step will be an initial screening to select eight participants for the second turn.
In the second stage, the eight selected competitors will follow the same rules as before, but they will have six minutes to show their paces.
Now that the Milan academy has signed up for the WFA Grand Slam, competitors will this year have a chance to become world champion. Among the baristas displaying their technique on Friday, two will be playing at home: LoolaPaloosa’s own Giorgio Chiarello and Matteo Melara, both members of the club staff.
The show starts at 15.30.