Another year of the world’s greatest flair bartending competition is over, the Roadhouse Grand Finals 2018 were as great as they have ever been, with a packed out crowd and competitors flying in from all over the globe to take part all for a chance of fame and a huge £10,000 prize money. There were a couple of new additions this year including the return of the Tandem Flair Finals, which also ran alongside the solo competition. This was also the first year for many where the prize fund returned to winner takes all. But more on that to come, first the result…
It was hyped up to be a big competition this year, the Roadhouse is where you are guaranteed to see the world’s best flair bartenders bring their A-game, this year was no different. The favourites were Luca Valentin (@lucavalentin), Marek Posluszny (@marasboston) , Deniss Trifanovs (@denisstrifanovs) and Alexander Shtifanov (@alexandershtifanov) and it was quite the battle to see who would come out on top. The tins and bottles flew, glass smashed, the dust settled and the bartender left standing in first position was none other than previous two time winner of the Roadhouse – Luca Valentin. Congratulations to Luca on making it three Roadhouse Grand Final victories. Luca was very closely followed by Marek in second, with Deniss taking third, Alexander taking fourth and Dario Di Carlantonio and Evgeniy Yakovenko taking fifth and sixth place.
Congratulations are also in order for the winner of the Roadhouse Tandem Flair World Finals, Bar Story, represented by Ivan and Olya and Best Female which went to Silvia Daniela Istrate (@danielaistrate). Here is the full list of solo results:
The competition and competitors
For the last and final time, we spoke with our outgoing Head of Gradings and WFA Grand Slams, @thomasdyer-3 to get his thoughts on the competition and the competitors this year:
“As with every year, it was great to see people flying in from all over the world to watch the Roadhouse Grand Finals, from Norway to Australia, Poland, Italy, the USA, Greece and many more. It is clear to see the Roadhouse remains the most famous global flair bartending competition in the world. We can’t fault the organisation, as always it was super smooth, the production awesome and the Roadhouse team provided fantastic support.
We had a few new things this year including a new intro for the competitors, similar to what we did at the Cambridge Grand Slam earlier in the year. It is always good to build a bit of drama and having the guys and girls enter in through the crowd to music is a great way to do it, it really allows the spectators to get involved. The turnout was awesome as always, loads of new faces and plenty of old ones that we love seeing back year after year. We also had a new live stream which ran through Facebook and Youtube – you can catch the full competition on the WFA Youtube channel now, as well as plenty of highlights to come!
We also had a much wider range of competitors from around the world this year, as well as a number of new faces at the Grand Finals. There was a huge mix of different flair styles and nationalities on show, it was a pleasure. It was also great to see so me new faces making it into the Top 6, it made for a much more exciting competition and certainly a harder competition to judge.
As for the Top 6, what a list of names. The finals were great to watch with these guys battling it out. Starting with Alexander Shtifanov, the excitement and technicality he brings to the stage as well his energy and relentlessness is second to none. If you witness a drop you can really feel how angry he is with himself and how it makes him want to come back stronger on the next move. It was great to see him bring some new moves to the stage and it was a shame to see him have as many drops as he did – although with Alex you barely notice them as he strings together so many impressive moves.
Luca brought a very similar routine to last year but he performed it with almost no mistakes a real professional consistency. Despite his glass exploding upon its own accord mid performance, he still went on to perform very well which is testament to his focus and professionalism.
It was great to see Evgeniy in the Final for the first time. I think a lot of Evgeniy’s flair although he still has a little way to come to put together a full 8 minute routine that the final demands. With his high level of creativity, watching Evgeniy is always a pleasure. Dario returned with his super sleek and smooth style. It is a nice change to have this sort of style in the Final. It is a bit slower than some of the other fast paced aggressive flair bartenders but it is performed with a huge amount of grace and beauty.
Deniss pulled out many of his usual big hitting moves and nailed some great stuff, although it would have been cool to see something a bit different to what he brought in India. This would have certainly helped him score a bit higher. Marek bought some new stuff as he always does. It is always a pleasure to see what Marek brings to the Roadhouse and this year was no different with his unique music interaction and some upgrades on some of his impressive moves we have seen before. It was a shame he wasn’t rewarded for it.
It would have been nice to see Ionut in the final, his working flair round was very strong and amongst the best. A lot of the bartenders from 7th-11th could have made the final but it seemed maybe the pressure got to them a little, as is always the way with the Roadhouse Grand Finals. Suffice to say, everyone brought their A-game which is what we really want to see. Nobody played it safe. It is perhaps the hardest competition of the year, the pressure is high and the crowd is educated in flair. The energy and vibe was high right to the end from both the crowd and competitors”.
Most memorable moment
“For me the most memorable moment this year had to be Luca’s glass self combusting on the stage during the finals. I can’t remember anything like that happening in a WFA Grand Slam! It was great to see how he responded. I also very much enjoyed Alex’s 3 bottle routine. Although he didn’t land it this time, it was great to see it attempted and I’m really looking forward to seeing this come together in the future!”