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Panagiotis Ergatis
05 Jun 2017

How did you start being interested into flairing bartending?

It’s a nice question and also that question makes me travel back in time many years ago. At the sweet age of 17 I was a waiter in a coffee-bar in my town .My boss was one of the top Greek barista and he was promoting the Hellenic competitions on the TV screens. In the middle of the season I became a barista in the same bar so I learned a lot about coffee and how you can work properly behind the bar but all these wasn't enough after saw the Greek flair bartending championship live! I got inspired and motivated and thus i decided to learn flair bartending and work as a bartender.

 

Is the approach to serious cocktailing behind a bar forbidding for flair?

I think that the serious cocktailing and mixology can approach flair behind the bar if the flair quality and flair knowledge is of a good level. Flair is a way to upgrade your sales behind the bar in other words is like marketing. If you can control your flair skills, studying mixology everyday and be a polite person with the hospitality into your blood then you have a perfect recipe. Flair can be combined with serious mixology but one thing is for sure that flair on its own doesn't open any door for a job in a serious bar!

 

What is your advice to bartenders who try to impress behind the bar?

My advice to those who want to impress behind the bar is simple...

Work hard 

Smile to everyone

Respect 

and let the people do the talking……  not you talking about yourselves!

 

A cocktail menu as you design it needs to cover various aspects. How do you approach this in your consultancy?

I love the Mediterranean culture so all my lists have this Mediterranean spirit in them and that’s the way I’m approaching the bar and restaurants.

I always try to make something different and tasty for every bar and resto I collaborate with and I’m trying to find the best solution for them to upgrade their sales. The most important is taste, diversity, and an element of surprise!

 

How important is the Body language of a bartender? Give us some tips

Body language is very important and much more important than the bar skills cause is the way to be friendlier with the customer and make them feel like home. Myself I like to move all the time behind the bar and I also try to analyze if my customers at the bar are happy and relaxed from the way they seat.

Tip 1

A Bartender must always be well dressed and welcome everyone who is standing in front of him with a gesture, either the moving of the head or looking into their eyes.

Tip 2

A bartender must always look busy in preparing or just polishing glasses and be readily available in front of the newcomer with the greeting and paying attention to service. Standing straight up and not leaning on the bar is very important.

 

You have taken part in many flair bartending competitions and shows. Give us your best moments and your worst moments?

Indeed I took part in many competitions in my life so far. 

I don’t think I have a worst moment or a favorite just because every competition is different and at the end you have good memories with the new friends you make. It is a priceless  experience! So, only best moments!

It is also a great honor when you achieve very good position and for me I’m proud for myself and  my family because my dad is my trainer and I managed to be the top3 in Greek flair bartendending for two consecutive years, 2016 and 2017

 

Confidence is an important weapon when it comes to appearing in front of an audience and judges looking at your face, fingers, and your body movements and your charisma at any second! How do you build yourself up to coming on stage with all this and a smile too?

Yes of course it needs a little talent but without hard work talent is nothing. You must have a lot of training and bar show experience to built confidence and smile during a flair routine.

Being a dancer also, it gives me a small advantage sometimes because I know the way how to build a routine with happy parts inside. The most important thing is to live each single moment you flair because people understand and feel that, and this is the way to enjoy the show and feel the vibes of it. 

 

How important is the aesthetic and appearance of a flairing bartender is to the competitions? 

In a flair competition you create your own show that means that you choose the music, your theme you built up your own cocktails. Also you dress up the way you like and make everything as properly as you can, so the aesthetic part is something that is very important and I think that all the professional bartenders gives attention to this part. Some are luckier if they are charismatic in the way the look and move too!

 

How important is knowledge to cocktail making? How did you manage to build yourself into a professional head bartender?

As a head bartender right now I'm not thinking only about flair I have a lot of responsibilities. One of the most important is the cocktail knowledge and to refresh the list occasionally during the season because I want our customers to drink and taste high quality cocktails every time they visit us and to have a lot of options.

I think that we live in a new cocktail era in hospitality industry and we have a lot of things to share with the customers.

Today we need to know history and geography through our bottles, we need to live today through the news and have a positioning in a possible conversation, so yes knowledge is important.

But one thing that is important for a head bartender is to see his customers smile in his bar and we have to thank and make happy all these people who spend some of their money to our bars. Because they keep alive this flame inside us if we didn't have them now we wouldn't discuss about bartending.

 


Born in Ioannina in Greece Panagiotis Ergatis had training in the hospitality industry in various positions and developed as a bartender to the level of now creating bar list in various bars around the country of Greece. He followed seminars on mixology and body language in Italy, UK and Greece. His passion for flair took him to take part in many flairing competitions with a good positioning not only in Greece but in the UK too.Today he is the Head bartender at Cameo Cocktail Club in Hersonisos/Crete Island.

 

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