Is flairing a relict from the 20th century?
The only thing, what I did, which can be remotely seen as part of flairing, was work-flair. This is the technique to incorporate flairing into your work routine - however without slowing down and without sacrificing quality.
Because lets face it - modern exhibition flair, might look good, but the drink you will get, are forgettable at best [and yes there might be some exceptions, which I never encountered].
But does flairing bring the bar forward?
A big no! Great flairing has something to do with 100% dedication - for hand-eye coordination, timing... but the issue is, that it doesn't have anything to do with great service- and it has nothing to do with a great product. A good circus artist could become an incredible flair bartender... but does that makes sense?
If it comes to mixology, maybe a good chef can become a good "mixologist" [which is still far away of a good bartender and host] - but he won't become it instantly. He still has to learn more about the craft - has to educate himself... A circus entertainer however could almost instantly win a flair bartending competition - this is odd.
There were some reports of a 13 year old, who did world class flairing - lets face you can even train a monkey to be able to juggle.
But the most awkward thing is the [often arrogant] behavior and poor showmanship flair bartenders are displaying [a monkey is definitely cuter and more charming than most of these hairless juggle monkeys]; I often just feel sick of this.
The verdict is, that the international bar scene would do itself a big favor to get rid of the exhibition flair. The bar can only evolve itself as culinary art form, if the audience and especially the press are not acknowledging the awkward dislocations of amateur entertainers.
There will be definitely exceptions - and you can't forbid this, can you? But overall we should avoid to promote this topic.
'Cause juggling monkeys are more entertaining [and while you are watching them, you won't need to wait longer for your drinks]...