Tending Bar… With a Little Flair!

Flair bartenderLearn a new bartending skill and stand out from the pack.

There are a lot of things that go into a great bartender: a winning personality, an attention to detail, and a dedication to public safety, and the legal and moral issues of serving alcoholic beverages. Think you might be right for the job? To get a leg up on the competition, being able to entertain patrons with flair bartending techniques can be the cherry on top. And the best part? A flair bartender can do pretty well for themselves, especially if they can entertain while serving. A flair bartender will draw in more customers, making more money for the bar, and themselves.

Flair bartenders are known for using bar tools and liquor bottles as props to entertain while they are mixing drinks. It can be quite a sight to see someone juggling liquor bottles, mixing drinks behind their backs, carefully setting fire to mixed drinks, and more. Las Vegas is home to some of the best flair bartenders in the country, and boasts several bars and clubs that showcase their talents. If you’re considering a career as a flair bartender, Las Vegas is the place to be. Make sure to check out Vegas.com’s article, “Behind the Scenes: Flair Bartending in Vegas,” for a video interview with Rock & Rita’s flair bartender Anthony Pullen.

So you’re ready to become a flair bartender? TAM® of Nevada has some tips on how you can get started:

  1. Get educated on bartending techniques. Flair bartending requires a solid working knowledge of bartending skills, plus lots of practice, practice, practice! Before you start juggling liquor bottles, it’s important to learn how to mix drinks, and build up your bartending know-how of tips and techniques. It won’t matter how well you can entertain if you don’t know how to make a martini. Consider attending a bartending school if you haven’t already, there are several reputable establishments in Southern Nevada. Some of these locations also offer flair training, so be sure to ask for details of what their programs offer when you’re checking credentials. You can also get lots of practical education tending a bar and learning the ropes from other traditional, and flair bartenders.
  2. Obtain your TAM® Card. All hospitality professionals in Southern Nevada are required to obtain their alcohol education card prior to working at a location where they’ll be selling and serving alcoholic beverages. The Techniques of Alcohol Management® will give you the skills and knowledge you need to serve responsibly.
  3. Practice makes perfect. Every day at work you’ll have the chance to handle bottles and shakers, so practice spinning shakers in your hand and doing simple tricks when you have some downtime. Starting with the basics and working your way up to more difficult tricks, you’ll begin to feel comfortable with your props and impress your guests at the same time. You can also watch plenty of flair training videos online for tips and tricks to learning basic flair bartending moves. A great resource is TAM of Nevada’s YouTube channel; we’re always adding our favorite flair bartending videos and tutorials. Another tip? Try practicing at home with plastic bottles until you get the hang of things – you will inevitably drop some bottles, and nothing will put a damper on your day faster than a mess of shattered glass to clean up.

Flair bartending is not a skill one will learn easily or overnight, but it can be done! For more information on flair bartending news, training and industry information, and a place to network with other bar professionals, you can always check out the Flair Bartenders’ Association.

Our most important advice of all of all? Remember to have fun! What is the best advice you would give to someone looking to start a career as a flair bartender?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada


Lights, Camera, Action! Reality TV Puts the Focus on Las Vegas

Couch potatoes everywhere agree. It seems like you can’t flip the channel these days without landing on programs featuring the great city of Las Vegas. This city has so much to offer: amazing shows, great bars and restaurants, world class gambling, and it’s all being broadcast for the world to see.

Have you noticed the variety of programs that have been filming in town recently? There’s MTV’s Real World, E!’s Holly’s World, and even the Billboard Music Awards recently aired from the MGM Grand. It doesn’t stop there; maybe you recently caught Las Vegas locals like MGM President and COO Scott Sibella on CBS’s Undercover Boss, or chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Alex Stratta competing on Top Chef Masters. Reality TV continues to dominate the ratings, and its bringing additional awareness to all of the great things happening around town and in the nightlife industry. This isn’t a trend that’s going away. As reported by the Las Vegas Sun, Chef Carla Pellegrino recently invited cameras into the kitchen at her restaurant Bacio at the Tropicana to film for an upcoming series about her life.

It’s clear that TV viewers are intrigued by life in the dining and hospitality industry. Have you thought about what it would be like to be featured on a reality TV program? A casting call is out for Spike TV’s, “Bar Rescue,” which offers up the opportunity for hospitality professionals to get their fifteen minutes of fame.

Arguments could be made about whether these programs showcase our city in a positive or negative light. Are you happy with the Las Vegas ‘brand ambassadors’ being featured on these programs? What about with the way the city and its residents are portrayed? We think that for every doofus making waves, there are a dozen other individuals promoting the amazing dining and nightlife options, and the friendly locals. With that being said… lights, camera, and action! We can’t wait to see what comes next.


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Tweet While You Eat? Some Restaurants are Encouraging Patrons to Get Involved

It’s considered rude to talk on your cell phone at the dinner table, but in an increasingly tech-savvy world and competitive dining industry, restaurants are breaking their own rules. Samantha Murphy of Tech News Daily explored some of the newest technology trends popping up in restaurants in her article, “Restaurants Offer iPads® & Tweets with Eats.” Some restaurants are looking for new ways to appeal to consumers and reach the largest audience possible – asking patrons to get more involved in the dining out experience by sharing their experience on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare, or ordering or viewing menus on tablet devices such as the iPad® is a new way to do that. We here at TAM® of Nevada really enjoyed this article and are interested to see if, and how, this technology will continue to grow, especially in the Las Vegas area. In fact, we encourage OUR students to connect with us on Twitter and tweet about their class experiences too!

Of course as with any new technology, iPad menus and ordering also run the risk of becoming a passing fad. For another opinion on this new movement, check our Michael Austin’s article for the Chicago Sun-Times, “Pour Man: iPad wine lists let your fingers do the ordering.” Do you think moving away from paper menus and into iPads is going to go the way of the Betamax, or is there a chance this will catch on and become mainstream? Only time will tell.

Have you seen these types of programs in use anywhere yet? What do you think about allowing customers to order off of iPads: great idea or doomed to fail once the first drink is spilled on a device?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Feel Like You’re Stuck in a Pressure Cooker? Managing Stress on the Job

The hospitality industry isn’t for the faint of heart. Staff members in bars, restaurants and casinos have fast-paced, high stress careers. Bartenders, servers and security personnel contend with long hours, demanding customers, high workloads and a requirement to remain cheerful and upbeat. Have patrons lined up at the bar for drinks? Do you get that sinking feeling when you see a group of 30 diners walking in the door right before closing? It’s no surprise that one might get stressed out on the job.

It can be hard to do your job with a smile when you’re being pulled in so many different directions. If you’re worried you might be headed to on the job burnout, it’s time to make some changes to how you handle stress. When the going gets tough, take a deep breath and try these tips.

Helpguide is an amazing resource for stress management information and support. They offer a multitude for tips on dealing with on-the-job stress which are helping to hospitality professionals including:

  1. Don’t over-commit yourself. If you find it hard to say no when you’re already over-extended, you might be setting yourself up for a very stressful night at work. Examine what tasks you need to complete, prioritize them, and eliminate any tasks that aren’t necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Your supervisor and coworkers are a part of your team and want to see you succeed, and your guests leave happy. Just be sure to return the favor when you can if one of your coworkers is over-extended at some point too.
  2. Resist perfectionism. One wants to always do their best work, but no one is perfect. You will drop a glass or forget an order at some point. Nothing good will come from beating yourself up over it, just breathe and realize that these things happen. You can only do your best, and you’ll do great.
  3. Flip your negative thinking. Approaching your work with a glass half empty approach is never a good idea. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the good in a difficult situation, but do your best to think positively.
  4. Find humor in a situation. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine.

For more tips on handling stress at work, you can refer to Helpguide’s website here. Sometimes you just need a minute to take deep breaths and center yourself. Taking a minute to get focused during a stressful shift is perfectly understandable. Managers and Supervisors must also be aware of the pressure their staff works under on a daily basis. Managers should refer to Nightclub & Bar’s article, “The High Cost of Bartender Turnover,” for information and ideas on keeping staff stress-free and motivated.

What tips do you have to stay calm and focused at work?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada