Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TGIF and the World Bartending Champion

So – I was sitting half composing another post that will run later on the 11th, and watching some late night television at the same time.

An “Infomercials” type show came up between Remember the TItans and The Flying Scotsman and it caught my eye.

Pertaining to the 2011 World Bartender Championship, brought to you by T.G.I. Friday. 

I watched it for a few minutes, and to say I was disgusted is an understatement.

What is the WBC?  Here is the definition from their Website.

The World Bartender Championship represents Friday's®; longstanding heritage, knowledge, expertise and innovation in the beverage industry. The competition began back in the late 80s as a challenge between bartenders and has grown into a full representation of the T.G.I. Friday’s® brand, a leader in the casual dining industry and one of the most recognized brands in the world.

I can buy that as a means of competition (aside from the fact that it is only TGIF Bartenders) – but there is the focus of the competition…..and it is called FLAIR Bartending.

We’ve all seen Cocktail (and probably try to purge our memory of it nightly), and saw how flashy bartenders sling bottles, glasses and themselves around the bar – providing a show to patrons, while ignoring the long lines that just want a drink. 

Well, apparently this actually began long before the movie – and allegedly started at TGIFs. – becoming so popular, that we are now at the 21 Annual Competition.


This competition is all about show – with apparently little or no focus or pour good drinks, alcohol knowledge and focusing on customer service.  In fact, its this last thing that irks me the most.

Throughout history, Bartenders have been those guys (or gals) you could talk to, would recommend a drink….or even buy you one.  They were your friends when you need them, or your therepists as well.  They learned your names and recognize you when you come in.  They make the bar your home away from home.  Notice, none of this has anything to do with flipping bottles.

Sadly, this is what has become of our society – where we need to be entertained at all times, instead of just sitting and relaxing a little. 

I would much prefer a Ted Danson from Cheers vs Tom Cruise in Cocktail.

I would rather a bar stock some quality scotches instead of what the distributor wants – and the bartender know the difference between them all.

I would rather get my drink quickly (and poured correctly) instead of waiting while the show pours 2 “Something-tinis”.

In the end, I would rather piss on TGIFs “Brand” and their crowned “Champion” – while tipping a real bartender, one who knows his craft and knows me.  That is the sign of a true Champion.


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