Since the late 1980s, T.G.I. Friday's has held an international bartending championship for its own employees, granting the winner the no-surprise title of "Greatest T.G.I. Friday's Bartender in the World." This year, Colorado's own Brad Kaplan of Thornton took the Colorado/Texas regional title and will be headed to the World Championship, along with nine other finalists, early next year. "To win this division competition and be one of the finalists in the World Bartender Championship is overwhelming," said Kaplan, a four-year Friday's team member. "I have been performing flair for about five years. All the hours and hours of practicing and learning my craft has finally paid off."
Over 8,000 T.G.I.F bartenders from sixty countries competed in the contest last year, and only eight made it to the final round. That's a lot of candy-striped booze-slingers, which makes Brad's "flair" for bartending no small feat. Last year, the event raised $500,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and this year, all proceeds will be donated to the same charity.