Tag Archives: Flair Bartending

Qui se cache derrière BartenderOne Montréal?

(An English version follows.)

Cette sĂ©rie d’article est destinĂ©e Ă  vous informer sur les membres de l’Ă©quipe de BartenderOne MontrĂ©al. Cette semaine, rencontrez un de vos instructeurs, Antoine Galdes, mieux connu sous le nom de Tony.

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Si on avait Ă  trouver un mot pour dĂ©crire Tony, intensitĂ© serait le bon. Qu’on parle de sport, d’Ă©tude ou de jeux vidĂ©o, il se lance sans retenue dans tout ce qu’il entreprend. C’est donc avec sa passion habituelle qu’il a pĂ©nĂ©trĂ© le monde du bar pour la première fois en 2009. Il a depuis travaillĂ© comme barback, barman et gĂ©rant dans 5 bars Ă  cocktail et 2 compagnies de bartending Ă©vĂ©nementiel. Il a aussi participĂ© Ă  plus d’une dizaine de compĂ©titions de bartending Ă  travers le Canada, oĂą plus d’une fois il a su prendre place sur le podium.

Il en est aujourd’hui Ă  jongler entre la fin de ses Ă©tudes universitaires, la gestion de sa propre Ă©cole de bar et de son bar le B1. Ses talents pour le flair y sont peut-ĂŞtre pour quelque chose!

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Who’s hiding behind Montreal’s BartenderOne? Get to know our team through this series of articles. This week, meet one of your instructors, Antoine Galdes, better known as Tony.

If we had to find one word to describe Antoine, intensity would be it. Whether we’re talking about sports, studies or video games, he jumps with both feet into everything he does without thinking twice. So in 2009, he entered the world of bars with his usual passion. He has worked since then as a barback, barman and manager in 5 different cocktail bars and 2 events bartending companies. He has also participated in numerous bartending competitions throughout Canada and climbed on the podium more than once.

He is now juggling between the end of his university degree, the management of his own bar school and his bar, the B1. Maybe his flair talents have something to do with it?!

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From Dolphins to Bartenders… How did I get here?!?

After a career as a Director of Training for marine mammals and over 4,000 live shows under my belt, I now find myself as the Director of Training at Canada’s Premier Bartender Training School!  But now instead of a team of dolphins, sea lions, and seals, I work with a team of some of the most incredible instructors I’ve ever met! They spend their time helping others learn to bartend. I spend my time supporting them and the students who are in their classes. Who could have predicted that I would wind up doing this? Certainly not me! The bartender training we provide is the best anyone has to offer and I constantly find myself smiling just because I get to be part of this!

Melanie with Sandi and TeriMel, Bean and T.C.

In 1998, which seems like a lifetime ago, I had the pleasure of working with Gavin MacMillan for the first time.  We both worked at Canada’s Wonderland and we were both ball-busting managers in our respective areas. Little did we know that several years later, Gavin would create a bartending school in Toronto called BartenderOne.  After my career training animals, I went on to be an operations and general manager and then to fundraising and special events management. When the time came and there was an opportunity for me to join this incredible company as the Director of Corporate Events and Training… there was no thought in my mind other than YES!  I didn’t know exactly what I was in for but I knew it was gonna be nothing less than fabulous!

For me, working at BartenderOne is exhausting, in all the right ways.  There is so much going on behind the scenes at any given time and I don’t think anyone would know it if they weren’t told. From planning upcoming classes and workshops, to answering calls with questions and taking registrations, to marking and posting test results, to posting classes online and preparing for class… it never stops. Registrations come in 24 hours a day, the phones ring at all hours and the emails never stop. The instructors are in and out of the office, running errands and commuting between our various training locations. And beyond the time they spend as instructors providing bartender training, they also find time to do special events and to work shifts at their respective bars! At the end of my day I don’t get to work in a bar but instead I go home to my job as a mom and my little bartenders-in-training who are 3 & 6 years old. They practice their flair bartending in the bathtub and as soon as they’re old enough, they’ll be in class and getting ready for flair bartending competitions!

There is never a dull moment here since we also do workshops, private events, corporate events and teambuilding events on top of the bartender training that goes on.  We have instructors traveling around the country doing flair training right now. We have instructors shuttling back and forth from Ottawa to open our newest location there.  Never mind all of the events we are doing!  So even though it may seem like we are just doing this bartending school Toronto type stuff… there is so much more to BartenderOne! I love what I get to be a part of here and the amazing team of people I work with.  Over the next few weeks I am going to share some more of what goes on behind the scenes at BartenderOne including what it’s like to work with this crew of instructors and the entire B1 team.  Andrew, David, Ryan, Krissy, Jeremy, Jay, Jair … even the infamous Gavin! They truly are the best and I’m thrilled to be a part of this team!

Until next time…

Mel

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3..2..1…GOOOOO!

IMG_0810“Hey, you’re like Tom Cruise in that movie” a line often heard by flair bartenders around the world time and time again!  To answer the question, no I am not like Tom Cruise in that movie Cocktail because, like everything else in life, things tend to change and evolve over a quarter century!!  You wont find me on Wall Street stopping bankers and saying “Hey you’re like Michael Douglas in that movie” because it would be unfair and ignorant for me to generalize someones profession like that!  I will recognize though that flair bartending exists in very small circles and the evolution of flair is quite foreign to anyone who isn’t active in that small community.

  A year ago I entered and competed in my first ever flair competition as a representative of Bartenderone.  The competition put on by the Toronto Flair League was truly the most exciting and terrifying experience I have had in my bartending career!  After blacking out and somehow managing to struggle my way through my 3 minute routine I made way to the bar for some celebratory shots!  As the dust settled over the next few days I was able to see a video of myself and really assess what level I was at and where I went right and wrong!  It was then that I truly started to understand the high level of preparation that was required to be a successful flair bartender in a competition setting. 

Montreal 2011

My roommate, fellow Bartenderone instructor and flair practice partner Jay Patience and I decided to adopt a new approach to training for competitions.  Drawing from our experiences working with former top ranked Canadian flair bartender Gavin MacMillan, Jay and I put into action a plan to become premier competing flair bartenders!   The first step was to develop a routine with the perfect balance of technical and innovative moves, smoothness and showmanship!  Once the foundation of our routine was in place, we started executing the routines every day for an hour each.  Once we had built up our stamina and strength we extended it to 3 hours a day each.  The results were immediate and very rewarding!  One of the things that helped us immensely was taping our practice routines.  Being able to watch the videos and see ourselves during practice allowed us to adjust our routines but more importantly become aware of exactly what we looked like while performing.  Once aware of that we were really able to take the showmanship aspect to a new level! The other thing that helped us progress so fast was the use of glass bottles with liquid in them.  Its one thing to practice with empty flair practice bottles but it wasn’t until we incorporated the real thing that we truly started to see the results we desired.  Consistent practice of a well-balanced routine coupled with the usage of real full bottles thrust Jay and I into the category of up and coming flair bartenders in Toronto.  Just like everything in life, consistent practice and a clear goal/vision will more often than not help you succeed.  Tom Cruise who?

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The F word

In the world of bartending, nothing is more exciting than flair bartending. Yet in the same breath, nothing has more of a negative image attached to it as well.

The first record of flair bartending is accredited to “The Professor” Jerry Thomas from San Francisco, who in the mid 1800’s included some flair in his Blue Blazer cocktail by rolling flaming Scotch from one mug to another.Jerry-Thomas-

The late 1980’s saw a big boost in the number of flair bartenders after Tom Cruise’s character Brian Flanagan wowed his guests from behind the bar in the movie Cocktail.

So with all the excitement, why all the negativity?

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BartenderOne in the Community

Time Speeding By

As the wheels of time go by, my role with BartenderOne presents me with amazing opportunities at every turn, this is one very special example…

Seven months ago I was enjoying a casual pint at the Loose Moose after an exciting flair event for BartenderOne, when my good friend and resident bartender Jenna Inglis approached me and asked if I was interested in being a part of her charity event. I immediately responded with a YES before even knowing any of the details, head first, right into the deep end! One pint naturally led to another and another. The next morning amidst a giant headache I was reminded of what I had commited to the night before. After hearing all the details I was very excited and happy to be part of such an amazing experience, and wanted to work further with Jenna to make the charity event one to remember.

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A Party to End All Parties…

Out the Door BartenderOne Grad Party

Everyone always expects bartenders to throw one hell of a party and being the top bartending school in Canada we knew we had a world of pressure on our shoulders’ with the concept of hosting a graduate party in the summer of 2011. We wanted to bring all our past graduates together to mix and give them a chance to bartend for other graduates – yes you read correctly, our graduates were bartending at the party for other guests, pretty neat idea!

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SuperFlair 2011

The sixth annual SuperFlair flair bartending competition was held in Windsor Ontario, from May 22-24 2011. SuperFlair has been one of the biggest flair bartending competitions in Canada for many years, and this year was no exception. As part of the FBA Pro Tour, there was over $11,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs. With such a large prize pool, SuperFlair always attracts the best flair bartenders from around the world. Past winners have included world champions such as Danilo Oribe from Uruguay, and Christian and Rodrigo Delpech from Argentina.

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Flair Fiesta

Time again for another Toronto Flair League update.

TFL 9

All of the previous TFL competitions had been held on a Monday or Tuesday, (aka bartenders weekend) so that all flair bartenders could compete. The promoters of the Toronto Flair League have felt some pressure from he general public to host a competition on a Thursday, or Friday night so that the nine to fivers would have an opportunity to witness a flair bartending competition up close.

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Flair Bartending; It was acceptable in the 80′s

After a very successful Toronto Flair League season premiere, the promoters decided that for TFL 8 it would be fitting to couple the event with an eighties party.TFL 2

The idea was that all of the bartenders would create a routine choreographed to any song from the 1980’s.  Also, the background music throughout the evening would be all 80’s, and all competitors, staff and guests were to dress in the fashion of the era.

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BartenderOne in New York

Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!

Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!

Imagine walking into a phone booth, dialling a number, and being redirected back to a world of sipping cocktails next to Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald……

On March 11th of this year, I traveled to New York to experience some of North America’s finest Speakeasies and Mixology bars. With only having one amazing speakeasy in Toronto, we were eager to head to the Big Apple and meet the bartenders that compete in Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.

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