JUST LIKE YOU
Born in Buenos Aires in February, 1977, Christian Delpech never dreamed of becoming one of the world's most famous and successful bartenders. In fact, as a teenager, he was far more interested in advertising and marketing than any other career. But in 1995, while he was working at a friend's bar in Buenos Aires, he saw the movie “Cocktail” (in which Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown portrayed a couple of charismatic, bottle-flipping bartenders who became hotshots of the New York City nightlife scene), and the movie changed his life forever.
“Cocktail” inspired him to pursue flair bartending. "Flair" (the art of bottle-flipping and bar tricks) wasn’t popular in Argentina at the time, so he was forced to practice guided only by the moves he learned through the movie. Christian continued to practice diligently, absorbing anything he could to use behind the bar. It was a difficult process for him, since there were very few flair bartenders in Buenos Aires.
Completely infatuated with the art of flair, Christian realized he had to move quickly to improve his skills and go on developing his vocation. So, in 1998 and with just 400 dollars in his pocket, he moved to Spain.
He first lived in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, then moved to Madrid, Spain where he started practicing magic. Magic had as great of an impact on Christian as flair. He began practicing magic more than he was practicing flair.
It wasn’t long before Christian moved to Ibiza (the party island). He practiced magic and flair religiously until he was given the opportunity to start exposing flair at bars and restaurants. But even there, with nightclubs open 24 hours a day, he had trouble finding other bartenders to talk to, or learn from.
It wasn’t until December of 1999, when Christian was on vacation in Miami, that he stumbled upon a contest organized by the Flair Bartender's Association (FBA) to choose the best bartender in the world.
Unfortunately, it was too late for Christian to participate in the competition. At this point in Christian’s career, he found himself at a crossroad: should he continue to divide his focus between flair and magic, or should he commit himself fully to flair bartending? He chose flair.
A few months later he found and entered a bartending competition back in his home country of Argentina.
He competed in his first flair competition ever at the Hard Rock café, Buenos Aires. Christian took second place overall (even though he won the Exhibition Flair round).
That same year he competed in other international competitions like Universal Summit (Orlando) and Road House (London).
He lost those as well.
He returned to Florida (Orlando) and entered the competition that he had initially stumbled upon the year before: “Quest for the Best.” All of Christian's years of dedication finally got him a reward: he won first place in the semi-pro category. And because of his unexpected victory and outstanding performance, Christian was invited by World Champion Flair Bartender Ken Hall to participate in the most prestigious, invite-only, competition: Legends of Bartending. It was a dream come true for Christian, and he excitedly accepted.
He moved to Cancun, Mexico, to prepare for the biggest competition of his life while still performing as a bartender. After three months of non-stop work and practice, Christian traveled to Las Vegas to compete in Legends.
After a grueling four-event, two-day struggle, the competition nailed down to Christian and another more experienced bartender (who had scored more in three of the four events: Speed Round, Working Flair, and Pour Test). With one final event (the Exhibition Flair Round) to go, Christian knew he would have to dazzle the judges in order to win. And dazzle he did. Christian blew the judges away with his exhibition flair routine and managed to come from behind and win First Place in the largest and most prestigious bartending contest in the world.
Passion and determination lead him to victory. The flow of his routine, combining style with smoothness (which he achieved in part through his study of magic), would become his trademark.
Needless to say, it had been an unexpected victory. With the help of the prize money he had just won, Christian entered the next four big competitions, three of which he won, including the Roadhouse Grand Final. The same year, while in Las Vegas, he heard of Sin City's nascent flair industry: The Voodoo Lounge at the Rio Hotel & Casino Suites, and Carnaval Court at Harrah’s. He went to visit these bars and got blown away by the beauty of a true Flair Bar.
Christian heard rumors of another Flair Bar opening in Caesars Palace called “Shadow Bar," and decided to try to get a job there.
A month later, after coming back to Las Vegas and being hired by Shadow Bar, Christian had even more chances to improve his art by working in a bona fide Flair Bar. He stayed there for a year, at which time he won his second consecutive Legends title. It was at this time that Carnaval Court, known by flair bartenders as the "Number One Flair bar in the globe”, contacted him and offered him a spot. Christian gladly accepted.
Nowadays, several years later, with 19 first place world championship titles and more than 50 first places from competitions around the world, you can still find him at the Carnaval Court bar. He works four days a week and spends the rest of his time with his son, and working on his company ChristianDelpech.com LLC, doing events, demos, training staff, seminars, judging Flair Comps, etc.
Christian credits his success to staying determined and focused, and continuing to practice every chance he gets.
When asked about his amazing career, Christian simply iterates an adage he remembers seeing at a hotel in Los Cabos: “Find a job that you love, then you’ll never have to work again.”