'I'm a self-professed pro.' An ex-bartender's 8 tricks for mastering the art of flirting.

For the first five years of my adult life, I worked in cocktail bars. It was something I'd recommend all young people do for at least a portion of their early twenties.

The late-night lock-ins drinking ridiculously expensive bottles of champagne, devouring oysters at 4am, kissing people who truly aren't your type in broad daylight, learning all about the world of consumable indulgence, meeting people from all different walks of life - it's an unforgettable experience and shaped me as a human in ways that words won't do justice.

Plus, it gave me some pretty damn good people skills. Nothing phases me when it comes to interacting with humans in uncomfortable situations, because I've done it all. And one of the most useful? The art of flirting.

Because it really is an art form. First, you've got to be able to read people and the situation. Then, you've got to be confident enough to take the risk. But once you get the hang of it, flirting is one of the most fun interactions you can have with another human - whether you want to date them or not.

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Flirting is such a part of my DNA - thanks to my years in cocktail bars - that I don't think I'll ever be able to live without it. But I think that's okay. A healthy dose of flirtatious banter is necessary to keep life interesting, have new interactions and remember to feel yourself on a regular basis.


So, as a self-professed pro at flirting, I've popped my top tips below. I owe them all to my years in cocktail bars and to the countless people I've practised them on.

1. Be sassy.

Most of the flirting I learnt to do in cocktail bars was born out of sass. Dealing with my fair share of difficult customers (mostly men, TBH) encouraged me to find a way to take control without being rude. So I found sass. 

Sassiness is super sexy because it simultaneously shows confidence and vulnerability. You can be fun and playful while also remaining true to yourself. It's also a great way to show your sense of humour and figure out if the person you're flirting with is on the same page as you.

Be cheeky with them. Poke a little bit of playful fun. Create some sassy banter. You might find that you bounce off each other and voilà! You're flirting!

2. Looking into their eyes is everything.

When you're saying something flirtatious, sassy, cheeky or even a little bit cringe (but cute) - look them in the eye. Trust me, it works. It might feel a little daunting at first - it's a dead giveaway that you're into them - but it sets the tone for the interaction.

A common misconception with flirting is that you have to be subtle. And yes, sometimes that works. But through my experiences of working in cocktail bars, when you feel a flirty vibe with someone it's worth just going for it. 


Plus, eye contact can help you gauge whether or not you're reading the vibe correctly. If they give you eye contact back and you get that little fluttery feeling; you're onto something.

Image: Supplied.

3. Be confidently cultured.

It's hot to know what you like when it comes to literally everything. But on a date, knowing what you like or want to eat and drink is a huge vibe.

Working in bars allowed me to up my knowledge about all things drinkable. Not only did I get to learn what I like but also about the history behind different drinks, spirits and wine - which to this day comes handy on a date and when flirting.


Knowledge breeds confidence, so embrace your power and go after what you want (when it comes to dating and also drinks). Some of the best dates I ever witnessed at cocktail bars were ones where the pair of flirters could talk about what they liked on the menu and why. Culture and confidence is so hot.

4. Use touch to your advantage.

Touch is so flirty. Nothing out of the blue or intense, just a hand on their arm when you're laughing about something funny together or a touch on their hand to show you're listening and engaged with what they're saying. 

And, if it feels right, a light hand on their thigh can be a vibe. Like if you're sitting up at the bar and you need to go to the bathroom or something - use their knee to help you down from the bar stool. Or tap their leg in agreement to something they said. Or to accompany a flirty comment.

It's super important to gauge the situation and make sure everyone is comfy and consenting when touch is involved, but a lighthearted touch can be a great way to reassure someone of your interest and to solidify your flirtation.

5. Address the flirtation.

"Are we... flirting?"

If you feel a vibe, just pose the question outright. And if you weren't already flirting, you soon will be.

6. Wear a flirty outfit.

Trust me, it helps. Flirting can be a little intimidating, especially if you like the person and you feel a little nervous. In moments like these, it's important that we lean on things like fashion to help us.


Wear something that makes you feel flirty. I used to get dressed up in my flirtiest outfits each night at the cocktail bar and put on a character that felt fitting for the kind of flirting I was in the mood for. If you're feeling yourself, the flirting will happen without you even having to think about it.

7. Flirt with yourself, first.

Think about how you like to be flirted with. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with dressing for the occasion. Before work, I'd always look at myself in the mirror and say or think something flirty. Sometimes, I'd give myself a wink or a twirl. 

If you feel comfortable enough to flirt with yourself, you'll be much more open to flirting with others - and you'll have a better idea of how to do so.

8. Be open-minded.

Flirting, at its core, is really just an openness to interact (in a sexy way) with others, and it requires a level of openness. If you're closed off, people are less likely to flirt with you.

If I'm feeling flirty, I find that existing in an open, warm and inviting way allows for people to approach you with flirtatious banter. Which then, gives you an opportunity to respond accordingly, if you like. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

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