My recent post, which proclaims the early death of exhibition flair just stirred up some dust (as expected). However the discussion on LinkedIn was much ore thoughtful than I thought it would be, and I gained quite a lot of ideas, which will benefit the concept of "my style of bar".
Unfortunately most commenters didn't really made the distinction between work flair and exhibition flair. While both styles are rather ideals - and can be seen as extremes, one great cocncept sparked my mind:
Form follows function & function follows the form.
It is a bit yin & yang. But it makes a lot of sense: exhibition flair is all about form. It abstracts the idea of barkeeping to a rather gaudy performance. See exhibition like a Vertu phone - an extravagant device, which does every single task worse than pretty much any other smart phone. This happens when the sole vision is superficial. You could take now an Android phone, which is open source and has a ton of functions and options as your mixology bar. Is it boring? No, unless you are not shallow as... Barbie... Is it the effect device? For a lot!
And then take an iPhone which mixes style, with substance and sacrifices some freedom for more accessibility. This is your bar, which uses work flair, while still focussing on produce.
For a long time, a serious bar (most of the times hotel bars), flair bars, bars which featured bar tricks and craft bars, existed in a type of vacuum - they all existed parallel without overlapping. But going forward, we have to find ways, to incorporate the best features of the separate styles to find the best enticing form to date.
Customers today don't want to be faced towards a gaudy show, they don't want to admire some one. They want to be in the point of reference, they want to be the focus. Hence bartenders from all trades have to refocus, to stir the lime light for themselves towards the guest.
The goal are a artisan working style, which showcase a restraint and understatement.
It is just like in so many martial arts movies, where the masters are always shown as unassuming, unostentatious and discreet - without being too understated or introverted. In certain situation they are also always showing skill, composure and most of the time self-humor (well, please don't watch ax Bruce Lee movie which works in most of the cases a bit different).
Besides of implementing and embracing a much more subtle flair style (max one bottle, max time per task of execution etc), it is important to invent details which consistently wow the guest without being ostentatious and without diverting the lime light to oneself.
I love the whole idea to "revive the magic in the bar", however have not a lot of ideas, what to think of (except the more subtle way of work flair).