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T.G.I. Bartender Champion chosen in Budapest
Bottles juggling, limes flying, shakers balancing on hands, forearms and forehead: the 22nd annual World Bartender Championship's Central European finals took place in Budapest, at TGI Friday's Oktogon restaurant.
Best of Budapest online | October 1, 2012

Originators of the now-famous, trend-setting, bottle tossing "flair" style of bartending, Friday's bartenders are world renowned for their accuracy and precision, their larger than life personalities and their award-winning ability to entertain guests around the world. During a regional competition, held recently in Hungary at TGI Friday's Oktogon restaurant, bartenders competed in a variety of skills tests, compulsory and speed rounds, showing their mastery of bar mechanics, including technical knowledge and accuracy. In the end, Maris Gerans from Latvia was chosen best. He will now go forward to the European championships in Manchester later this month. If successful in the European contest, he could be representing Europe as a finalist in the T.G.I Friday's World Championship in Dallas, U.S. Hungarian entrant of the competition István Guttyán (TGI Friday's Fashion Street) came 5th, while István Németh (TGI Friday's Oktogon) finished 7th.
About T.G.I. Friday’s
The Friday's restaurant chain was founded by Alan Stillman in 1965. The bachelor perfume salesman lived in a neighborhood with many airline stewardesses, fashion models, secretaries, and other single people on the East Side of Manhattan near the Queensboro Bridge, and hoped that opening a bar would help him meet women. At the time, Stillman's choices for socializing were non-public cocktail parties, or "guys' beer-drinking hangout" bars that women usually did not visit; he recalled that "there was no public place for people between, say, twenty-three to thirty-seven years old, to meet." He sought to recreate the comfortable cocktail-party atmosphere in public despite having no experience in the restaurant business. With USD 5,000 of his own money and USD 5,000 borrowed from his mother, Stillman purchased a bar he often visited, The Good Tavern at the corner of 63rd Street and First Avenue, and renamed it T.G.I. Friday's after the expression "Thank God! It's Friday!" from his years at Bucknell University. The new restaurant, which opened on March 15, 1965, served standard American cuisine, bar food, and alcoholic beverages. The exterior featured a red-and-white striped awning and blue paint, the Gay Nineties interior included fake Tiffany lamps, wooden floors, Bentwood chairs, and striped tablecloths, and the bar area added brass rails and stained glass. The employees were young and wore red-and-white striped soccer shirts, and every time someone had a birthday, the entire restaurant crew came around with a cake and sang Friday's traditional birthday song.