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Playing spin the bottle

Author: Adam Pletsch
Source: Ottawa Sun

The spin, flip and pour their way through the nightshift, flashy yet professional.


They’re performance bartenders and they’re turning the notion of the traditional barkeep on its ear.


The 1988 movie Cocktail with Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown introduced the world to the magic of performance bartending.


But Scott Young is the real thing – co-founder of Team Bar Smart, which arrived in Ottawa yesterday to show off their skills and teach bartenders from around the region.


“(Cocktail) certainly got everybody into it but it was unrealistic.  After the movie, I taught myself.  I wanted to be well known and get up to these high levels,” he says.


“There’s so much money you can make at bartending.  It’s just a case of ‘How good are you?’” says Young.


During a two-day seminar, the Vancouver based team passed on some of their 30 performance moves, along with better service techniques, to 23 bartenders.


“What we’re doing right now is teaching people who are ready high-end, working bartenders how to be even better,” says Young.  “they can even have fun doing it.”


The team teaches service techniques for bartenders from English-style pubs to nightclubs to hotel lounges.


“What the company does is teach people not only how to entertain customers, but how to satisfy them with a certain style and keep them coming back,” says Young’s partner, Dallyce Brisbin.


They both scoff at Cocktail’s portrayal of full-bottle flipping techniques.


“There’s no excuse for spilling alcohol.  We teach them how do it the right way and if they don’t we say ‘Don’t tell anyone we trained you,’” says Young.

Date: April 8th, 2005

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Scott Young, President and Head Instructor Bar Smart Inc.