T.G.I. Friday’s® is credited for modernizing and popularizing flair bartending in the United States beginning in the mid 1980s. London and Orlando were the hotbeds of flair bartending in the early and mid 1990s.
The earliest known competition for flair bartending was held by T.G.I. Friday’s® in Marina del Rey, California around 1985. Management noticed bartender John Mescall’s talent for juggling bottles while pouring drinks and decided to hold an in-store competition, which they later took national.
Mescall was a bit hesitant, because other Friday’s bartenders saw his art more of a nuisance when they were forced by management to flair as well. He made a couple of “how-to” videos for T.G.I. Friday’s® and later worked with John J.B. Bandy in what was probably the first ever flairtending video, “Olympic Bartending”. The earliest world championship for flair bartending was held by T.G.I. Friday’s® in 1987 for their bartenders, and was won by John J.B. Bandy.
In 1991, T.G.I. Friday’s® started its global competition called World Bartender Championship. The global competition has continued today with divisional champions from Midwest, Northeast, Texas/Colorado, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Central, West, Briad Franchise, Latin America, and European Divisions.

T.G.I. Friday’s® World Bartender Championship Past Winners:

Brian Zachau 2009
Keisuke Goto 2008
Tony Adams 2007
Eric Martinez 2006
Peter Marshall 2005
Yuki Aisa 2004
Kwang Ho Kim 2003
Alan Wang 2002
Adam MacDonald 2001
Tercio Ferreira 2000
Guy Minshall 1999
Joe Pereira 1998
Rob Eberle 1997
Leigh Miller 1996
Ray Weeks 1995
Matt Durbin 1994
Geoff Meston 1993
Corey Campbell 1992
Randy Erickson & Mark Elphicke 1991


The World Bartender Championship represents Friday’s®; longstanding heritage, knowledge, expertise and innovation in the beverage industry. The competition began back in the late 80s as a challenge between bartenders and has grown into a full representation of the T.G.I. Friday’s® brand, a leader in the casual dining industry and one of the most recognized brands in the world.

Beginning in August, local competitions are held throughout the world to determine the best bartender at each restaurant. Local winners advance to regional and then division competitions for a chance to compete in the ultimate event – T.G.I. Friday’s World Bartender Championship.

Most competitions are open to the public. A list of events can be found under the “Upcoming Competitions” section of the website. The 2010 World Bartender Championship will be held in March 2011.

On March 26, 2010 at the T.G.I. Friday’s headquarters in Carrollton, Texas, Brian Zachau, a 32-year old from Maple Grove, Minnesota edged out the other nine competitors and was crowned: “2009 Greatest T.G.I. Friday’s® Bartender in the World.” Raminad Ong from the Philippines placed second and Attila Farmasi from Hungary was third.


On March 15, 1965 casual dining got a serious kick start. That’s when a fun-loving New Yorker named Alan Stillman purchased a bar located on 1st Avenue and 63rd Street and named it T.G.I. Friday’s … Thank God It’s Friday’s. Okay, so his main goal was to meet stewardesses, but what he didn’t know at the time was that he was going to create what is now referred to as the casual dining industry.

From that moment on, lunch, dinner and drinks took on a whole new meaning. His restaurant quickly turned into the place to be for a helluva good time on any day, but especially on Friday’s.

The first T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant was an overnight sensation. What began as the ultimate “singles” bar became a destination synonymous with FUN for couples, co-workers and buddies. Friday’s was different and it became THE place to see and be seen.

Stillman’s ideas fashioned the legacy that exists in all Friday’s restaurants to this day. The décor, music, lights and staff continue to provide a lively, eclectic and engaging atmosphere. (Just the thing to scare off wallflowers and still-lifes.) It’s the perfect place for celebrating virtually anything among super-social butterflies.

So come in, catch the big game over beers, mingle, gossip with the girls, connect with friends or make new ones, all while enjoying fantastic food you can’t find anywhere else, like our signature Jack Daniel’s Grill®.

Today, T.G.I. Friday’s offers a casual dining experience unlike any other, where you can expect great food, drinks and plenty of fun to go around at 928 locations in 44 states and 61 countries. Just don’t expect a dull moment at any of them.


The trademark JACK DANIEL’S is used under license to TGI Friday’s Inc.
©2009 Jack Daniel’s — All rights reserved.