The Loolapaloosa World Finals: The last Grand slam of 2016

Loolapaloosa was born 3 years ago deep in the sartorial and fashion capital of Italy, Milan. Milan has long been recognised for its successful football teams, contributions to the world of fashion and now, flair bartending. Taking place at the Loolapaloosa club, where the competition took its name, Loolapaloosa is the largest bartender competition in Italy and the last World Flair Association Grand slam for 2016.

There are a number of WFA grand slams each year, the WFA personally organises two of these in the Roadhouse World Finals and the World Series in the UK and individual organisations such as Flair Academy with Loolapaloosa, put on the other grand slams around the world. All of these grand slam tournaments use the WFA grading and scoring system and the same scoring system to ensure a level playing field.

Winning a grand slam will award the competitor with a certain number of points, these go into a league table. The WFA grand slam competitions are part of a larger Worldwide Championship that plays out throughout the calendar year via this league table. Whoever is top of the table after Loolapaloosa (the final grand slam of the year), will receive the WFA Gold Level (the highest accolade in the World Flair Association) and of course the Grand Slam World Champion title and trophy! In 8 grand slam years the WFA has only had 4 Grand Slam World Champions, could this year see another new name added to this distinguished shortlist?


This year things are a little different for Loolapaloosa as the organisers look to tweak the format, ensuring that the competition remains highly competitive and better achieves its aim of pushing the art of flair bartending and the overall bartender skill-set forward. Those of you who entered any part of Loolapaloosa in the past two years will know that there are usually 8 qualification rounds, all of which take place in Italy. This year however, the organisers opted for 4 qualification rounds – one of which took place in Ibiza. The qualification rounds tend to be very popular, Loolapaloosa decided to hold one of the qualification competitions in Ibiza not only to provide the competitors with a new setting but also raise awareness for Loolapaloosa as an international bartender competition, the WFA and flair bartending as a discipline and a form of entertainment.

How do I enter?

The Loolapaloosa qualification rounds, which often take place in Italy, are open to everyone. Entry is free and there is a chance to take home €750 for first place as well as a place at the Loolapaloosa World Finals. The top 8 from each of the 4 qualification rounds held throughout the year are awarded a place at the World Finals. This year we have competitors from all over the world taking part in the finals from countries such as Italy, Romania, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Japan, Spain, Ukraine, UK, Belgium, Slovakia and others.


The Loolapaloosa World Finals

The Loolapaloosa World Finals will be taking place on the 16th December, 2016 at the Loolapaloosa club in Milan, Italy. Throughout the year the qualification rounds have been slowly building a roster of highly talented flair bartenders, all of which will have their chance to compete in the Loolapaloosa World Finals. There is expected to be as many as 30 different male and female bartenders that will be going head to head in the grand final.

The format of the competition is quite similar to other World Finals in the sense that there is more than one round and what the competitors are fighting for initially is the opportunity to show their stuff in the final round, only reserved for the top 10. In order to reach the final round the bartenders first have to prove their all around bartender skill with a working flair performance and an exhibition flair performance. And as already stated, the 10 with the highest scores after these two rounds will have the opportunity to perform for 7 minutes in the final round and of course have a chance to win their share of the €7000 prize fund!


However, Loolapaloosa is not just a flair bartender competition. Also on the panel are 2 tasting judges, their sole purpose is to taste the cocktail creations of the top 10 competitors in the final round. This brings in the purer side of bartending, focussing on the core competencies every professional bartender should contain – the ability to make a perfectly balanced cocktail. Loolapaloosa isn’t just about identifying the best exhibition flair bartender but the best all round bartender, testing mixology skills as well as flair.

The world finals go down on the 16th December 2016 at Loolapaloosa in Milan, Italy. You can find out more about the Loolapaloosa World Finals here on their Facebook page:, where you will also be able to find the Live Stream link for the competition. Who will be crowned Grand Slam World Champion for 2016?