Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC MayJune 2015 Contents Perth bar The Flour Factory, flair bartending has a
place in any venue -- within reason.
"It's all about timing," says Hough. "Appropriate
timing for performance style of bartending is
definitely important. It depends on the person -- if
they're confident and fully trained it can really
Hough says he bases all of his repertoire on
"controlled working flair", however he reinforces
that it isn't all about throwing bottles or shake
tins, sometimes it is simply a very personal style
of service, unique to the bar or the bartender.
"It's really a big grey area of performance," he
says. "It can be anything really. It's about style and
getting your bartenders to have a bit more style
It is an opportune way to create buzz about
your venue -- whether it is aerial work or simply a
classic cocktail bar offering precision, and clean
service (which Hough insists is a flair style in and
of itself due to the skill required).
However, Hough also notes that
ybody can throw bottles and
ix drinks. That said, if you can do
l of that while creating a quality
roduct for a customer then you
will be one up on a lot of venues.
"Some people think it's just
chucking stuff and that just
throwing bottles around is ok," he
says. "But it's not. It's all about the
service, service has to come first."
3. MAKE IT PERSONAL
Personal, and personable,
service can create theatre in
plest terms. As Hough points out,
having a hook or a niche for your venue
creates instant theatre, however, he says
hat backing it up with someone who looks
appy to be setting something on fire
nd enjoying themselves creates a further
xperience for the customer.
"It looks a lot better when someone is
ere with a big smile," he says. "If you've
ot somebody who's got a bit of personality
d not just a bit of cardboard behind the
r trying to do something cool, then you've
t theatre. It's really simple to give a little
more to the clients than just doing a
Collins could not agree more, pointing out
he has yet to do a "serious" concept in
of his bars.
We just want to create a fun environment,"
ays. "I always think bars should be an
pe from life when you've not had a great
n the office or a good week. And that's all
part of the theatre so you can have a bit of fun
when you go out."
He is outspoken on the topic of bartenders
that take themselves too seriously, believing that
escapism is one of the best things a bar can offer,
along with the allure of great cocktails and a bit of
theatre around cocktail service. Simply offering a
themed bar is not enough.
"They become a bit staid after a while to be
honest," he says. "Once you get in there and
you're getting served by a bartender who takes
his job way too seriously, it all gets a bit much
He always tries to make his bars fun and to
encourage staff that enjoy themselves and enjoy
creating the cocktails on the menu.
4. THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Live music is an easy way to create atmosphere
and draw crowds to a venue, however, getting
the balance right can be an issue. Anna Scott,
co-owner of The Little Guy in the Sydney suburb
of Glebe believes that live music can not only
create theatre in a venue without much effort,
but also creates a central role for a venue within
"When we have live music the bar is alive,
there is more energy and people are drawn into
the upbeat vibe," she says. "The fact that we
support so much live music brings the community
together, whether it be through mutual love of
music or our open mic night which is incredibly
social and welcoming."
That said, it isn't for the faint-hearted. Though
punters often lament the loss of live music venues
around the country, Scott points out that it isn't
easy for a venue to turn a profit despite higher
numbers of customers coming to enjoy the music.
"Live music certainly draws more of a crowd
and bar sales are higher although it would be nice
to see more support of it," she says. "Often it's
hard to make a profit -- after paying the musicians
well -- and it's hard to see the benefits."
Live acts aren't the only way to introduce fun,
entertaining theatre to a venue. The Little Guy
runs a competition called Jukebox Hero. Scott
says the event is basically "a customer Spotify
DJ championship", something which is both
interactive and fun.
"For us, patron enjoyment is our number one
priority and what better way to do so than getting
them involved and giving them some control,"
she says. "Particularly when it comes to music
selection -- because everyone thinks they have the
best taste in music, right?"
She jokes that the competition came about
simply because the bar staff were getting sick of
taking music requests.
The important thing here is to read your
clientele -- The Little Guy caters to a mixed crowd
of drinkers who are happy to be known by name
and turn their hand to DJ-ing for an evening
for some fun. In other venues, a simple live act
selection could be a better choice. Assess your
audience then proceed accordingly.
5. THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Rather than a selection of phone numbers for
nefarious purposes, this is instead a hidden
cocktail list that has to be requested. While the
concept of a secret menu that a customer has to
ask for is nothing new -- as anyone who has been
to In-N-Out Burger in the States can tell you --
the point of having one is simply to make your
customers feel like they are in on a hush-hush
feature of the bar. It is instant, subtle theatre. Just
make sure it suits your bar's concept. For example,
The Powder Keg's secret menu has a few gin-
themed surprises in its pages.
"We've got a little black book which you have
THE POWDER KEG TEAM WORK HARD
TO CREATE VISUALLY STIMULATING AND
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