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Two Days, Two Birthday Parties for Shaken Not Stirred

29 Aug
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Backyard bar in Mission Viejo

On Friday I traveled south to Mission Viejo to bartend a going away/birthday party, and then on Saturday traveled south again to bartend a 50th birthday party in Hawthorne. I had done a previous party for the hosts at Mission Viejo, and it was the only time I have ever been late to an event. There was an accident on the freeway and I ending up arriving thirty minutes late. Driving south into Orange County on a Friday can be brutal, so I leave hours in advance. I work out at LA Fitness if I have time to kill, and they have two really nice clubs in Mission Viejo.

The hosts at Mission Viejo are moving to Nashville, and I am sorry to see them go. I jokingly said for them to book me on a party in Nashville. The host who is British and very blunt said, “Ok, but you buy your own f#$%^g ticket!” I will buy my ticket, because I want to see Nashville and have never been there. They say that it is booming.

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Friends hang at the bar in Mission Viejo

The talk of the party was of the upcoming Mayweather/McGregor fight. The overwhelming opinion was that McGregor was going down. My British friend predicted a first round knock out. Someone else said it would go longer because people would be pissed otherwise, after paying to watch it. I agreed with that, but there have been a few of those pay-per-view fights that have ended in the first couple of rounds.

The next morning I finished the shopping for my clients in Hidden Hills – they were having a party for the fight night. I bought all of the supplies for them. It is an extra service I provide for a fee. I had to send another bartender to bartend the fight night party because I had previously booked the 50th birthday party in Hawthorne. So I dropped the supplies off and set up the bar, and then turned around and drove to Hawthorne to do the birthday party.  

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50th “White” birthday party

50th birthday parties tend to be kind of wild for some reason. I guess people suddenly realize that they are a half century old and they let loose, rebelling against the idea of middle age. This party was no different – I poured a lot of shots. Good Cop/ Bad Cop provided the live music and they were great. They had the fight on toward the end. Yes, McGregor would have gone down if the ref didn’t stop it, but it went ten rounds and people got their money’s worth.

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Cucumber/jalapeno margarita made with fresh vegetables from host’s garden

This weekend I get to stick close to home. I have one event in Winnetka, here in the SFV, and another near Hancock Park.  Later this month I have events in Fillmore, San Diego, Mission Viejo

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Shaken Not Stirred Bartends Northridge Double Birthday Party

14 Aug
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Mariachis perform at double birthday party

 

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service at a Northridge double birthday party that lasted until the wee hours. The party included a taco cart, mariachis, a portable bar provided by me, and a self DJ machine. Seventy five guests enjoyed themselves under the tent setup in the backyard.

When I arrived to setup, the sun was still high in the sky, and it was one of those scorching hot San Fernando Valley days in August. I at least had a spot in the shade, but the taco caterer was not so lucky as she had to setup in the direct sunlight. I often see caterers doing this and then they have to cook on the hot stove. As they say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” The food was very good and the caterer, Taquito Y Mas did an excellent job. Most of these taco caterers put a special spin on their tacos, and in this case it was the grilled veggies that really added to the mix.

The hosts had a portable PA system, QFX brand that served as the DJ. I was quite impressed with this unit. It is one piece and puts out amazing sound. It is wifi operational and the host programmed all of the songs ahead of time. I am going to buy one and offer it to my clients for an extra charge. This is not going to make DJ’s happy. It also has a jack for a microphone. I left at 1am and the guests were still dancing to the music that was preprogrammed.

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Jameson shots with pickle back

Double Birthday Ideas

  • Hire  a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Serve great food
  • Plan entertainment
  • Invite a mixed crowd

This double birthday party was memorable to me because I was impressed at how the crowd kept dancing and dancing. I thought they were going to run out of gas but they kept going. I served margaritas, Micheladas, Palomas, and made many Jameson shots with pickle back chasers. I also made some Flaming Dr. Pepper shots.

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Friends enjoy double birthday party

This coming weekend I will drive to San Diego to bartend a wedding on Saturday, and then back to Irvine for a baby shower. I have a another bartender doing a rehearsal dinner in Tujunga. Later this month I have events scheduled in Hawthorne, and Hidden Hills. I have many evnts already scheduled in September, October, and November, then comes the busy Holiday season. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

Chino Sweet 16 Party and Channel Islands 70th Birthday Party

3 Jul
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Tables set up in Chino for Sweet 16 Party

Shaken Not Stirred traveled all over Southern California last weekend and provided bartending service for two important milestone birthdays. On Friday I drove to Chino to bartend for a sweet 16 birthday party, and then on Saturday I drove the opposite direction to bartend a 70th birthday party at Channel Islands Harbor. I had another bartender do an event in Villa Park as well. It was the start of the Fourth of July weekend and traffic in Socal was a bear.

The host in Chino rented tables and chairs and set up for over 100 people in the backyard of his home. I served alcoholic beverages to approximately 40 guests, and there were about 60 minors who I served soft drinks to. Johnny Walker Black was the number one drink of choice, and the thing about that is people either drink it on the rocks, or with soda. No fancy mixology involved.

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Adults mingle at Sweet 16 Party

The hosts and all of the guests were of Indian heritage and the food served was 100 percent vegetarian. Raul’s Catering of Rialto provided the tacos and burritos and he told me that he specializes in vegetarian food for Indian themed parties. I am not a vegetarian myself, and am reluctant to try vegetarian food, but Raul’s vegetarian chorizo burritos were spicy and excellent. Had he not told me they were vegetarian, I would not have known.

It took me over two hours to drive to Chino, and an hour to drive home. On Saturday, it took two hours to drive to Oxnard as well. Fourth of July weekend is a terrible time to drive anywhere in Southern California. I always leave way early. The party at Channel Islands Harbor was originally going to have 80 guests, and then two weeks before the event, the host bumped it t0 150 guests. I needed to hire an extra bartender, but could not find anyone last minute in Los Angeles, so I turned to Craigslist.

I have had mixed luck hiring people on Craigslist in the past. I usually ask for a picture and resume. I want to see if the people look presentable. I got a few responses, but most of the people can barely write a legible response. They write things like, sup, how much in tips will I make, and they don’t include a picture. One guy wrote a very intelligent response and included a picture, so I hired him over the phone.

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Channel Islands Harbor

On the day of the event, I texted the guy in the morning to confirm he would be there. He responded yes, so I felt I had nothing to worry about. I got to the location at the harbor and started setting up and one half hour before the bar back was supposed to be there, I got a text from him saying he was being pulled over by the police and that he had warrants and was probably going to be arrested. I had to scramble to find somebody else. I asked one of the servers there if she knew anybody and she did! Her brother could do it.

I started serving the guests at 4pm and the replacement barback showed up just in time at 5pm. We did not stop serving drinks for six hours straight. I must have made 600 drinks myself, and thank God the other guy showed up to help me. The party was to celebrate the 70th bithday party of a very revered man and former fire captain of Oxnard, and many of the guests were firemen that worked for him. It was a great event and they had a live band and Polynesian dancers for entertainment, but I was too busy making drinks to even pay attention.

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Guests having a ball at 70th Birthday Party

Tomorrow is Independence Day and I am bartending a party in Rolling Hills, at a home that has excellent views of the San Pedro fireworks show, and the Long Beach fireworks, so I am looking forward to that. Friday I am going to San Diego to do a wedding, and then on Saturday I am doing a wedding at an exotic animal ranch in Sylmar. Please follow me on Instagram.

 

Two June Birthday Parties

5 Jun
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Van Nuys poolside bar

 

Saturday and Sunday stayed within the borders of the San Fernando Valley and bartended two birthday parties. On Saturday I only had to drive five minutes from my house to bartend a birthday party in Van Nuys, and then on Sunday I drove out to Hidden Hills on the western edge of the valley to do another one. Two incredible parties and I me some great people and I think gained some new customers.

Two weeks ago I thought I was out for the count for at least a month with a broken rib. My recovery was much speedier than I anticipated. My rib still hurts, but I am able to work on my own again now. I just need to get the momentum back that I had before I went to New Orleans. I did five events in the week prior to my trip.

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“Shaken Not Stirred”

For the Saturday birthday party, the host has a nice little bar setup in his backyard by the pool. I made blended drinks including Pina Colladas and Margaritas. The host and many of his guests are musicians, and they had quite a jam session going on in Van Nuys. They had tacos catered in. Van Nuys gets a bad rap for a variety of reasons, but the host had quite a nice little oasis in his backyard. There are nice neighborhoods and houses in Van Nuys, believe it or not! I know, because I live in Van Nuys too, even though they are trying to call it “Valley Glen,” it is Van Nuys.

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Shots!

Ideas for Birthday Parties

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Play great music
  • Serve great food
  • Invite a mix of people

Hidden Hills is a world away from Van Nuys, but only a 25 minute drive. Hidden Hills is where people go when they have arrived. Self actualization is right around the corner. The hosts of the Hidden Hills birthday party have a great spot up on a hill with great views of the surrounding hills and properties. I set up my portable bar and once again served blended drinks to about 60 guests. The hostess made some incredible appetizers and they also had a taco cart on hand.

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Paradise on the hill

Two more successful parties under my belt – I have done over 400 since I started Shaken Not Stirred. I was afraid to book too many parties this month because of my rib, so I only have one event scheduled for this weekend in Rolling Hills Estates – another beautiful Southern California location. It is a graduation party and this is the season for those, along with weddings, and of course birthday parties.

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Shots waiting for drinkers

Santa Monica 40th Birthday

30 May
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Guests arrive to Santa Monica 40th Birthday party

On Saturday I bartended a 40th birthday party in Santa Monica as I am still recovering from a fractured rib. I took a friend to help me, and am grateful to have the help, but feel like I am recovered enough to do jobs myself now. It is amazing how quickly this has gotten better, because just a week ago, I couldn’t even drive a car. I realize I am not 100 percent yet, and I am only doing the events I already have scheduled for the next few weeks.

The birthday party in Santa Monica took place on the courtyard of an apartment complex. Many apartment complexes around town have common areas or club houses where people can have parties. I set up my bar in one corner of the courtyard, and the caterer, Hampton’s Catering, set up his station right next to me.

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Barback Steve sits behind portable bar

I made Moscow Mules, Old Fashioneds, Dirty martinis, and Margaritas for about 50 guests. The way I like to make margaritas now is by using tequila, organic fresh lime juice, and a shot of agave nectar. I rim the glass with salt, and I had many fans of this simple margarita. The classic Old Fashioned was the second most popular drink of the night.

40th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Provide good music
  • Hire a caterer
  • Backyard or courtyard party

I think parties like this are so much nicer than meeting in a restaurant to celebrate. Even with caterer, bartender, and supplies, a person can put on a party like this for under $1000. What is $1000 when it comes to celebrating such an important milestone. Of course, you can go bigger and hire a DJ or even live entertainment.

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Hampton’s Catering sets up

This weekend I believe I will be bartendting another 40th birthday party right here in Van Nuys, and then the following week I will be doing events in Orange County, and in Rolling Hills Estates. Hopefully by next month I will be back at 100 percent and fully recovered.  

Los Feliz Birthday Party Complete With Bartender

17 Apr
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Los Feliz Party Pad

Saturday night a Los Feliz birthday party took place in a hip fourplex just off of Hillhurst and was complete with a pro bartender. That pro bartender was me. Yes, I can call myself a pro because I have literally bartended hundreds of private parties, was a bar manager at a hot Redondo Beach Italian joint, and have bartended at several other Los Angeles establishments. My company, Shaken Not Stirred has 80 five star reviews on Thumbtack, several five star reviews on Yelp and Gig Salad – so put that in your pipe and smoke it! No, just hire me for your next event, party, or wedding.

Seriously, the host of the Los Feliz birthday party told me she had never hired a bartender at her previous parties, so she didn’t know what to expect from me. By the end of the night, she was very happy she had hired me and assured me that she would hire me in the future. Most of my clients who have never hired a bartender before say that they will never go without one again, after hiring me.

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Danger ahead!

Why Hire a Pro Bartender?

  • The host can enjoy the party
  • The bar does not become a disaster area
  • The bartender can cut off unruly guests
  • The bartender monitors the liquor
  • Guests are impressed

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    Los Feliz bar crowd

The Los Feliz birthday party had a good mix of people, but invariably there was some drama. Good parties usually have a diverse mix of people, and that makes the party more interesting. Sometimes, people who were not actually invited show up and create drama. I think that happened in this case, but nobody got shot. There were no drivebyes – which was a good thing. Captain Barnacle, the long haired Dachshund was my assistant. 

On Wednesday I will be doing a corporate event in Burbank. The host assured me if I do a good job on this one, she will hire me for several more. I have faith in myself, because I am a pro, and I don’t say that to be bragging. I know what I’m doing. Later this week I will be doing a martini party in Rancho Cucamonga, and then a fundraiser in Sherman Oaks on Sunday. Next month, I will be slipping away to New Orleans for a few days – maybe I can learn some new tricks from the bartenders over there. I will be attending a wedding at the famous Maple Leaf Bar, so I am excited about that.

Palm Springs Pool Party Season Kicks Off in March

13 Mar
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Palm Springs Pool Party toys

The Palm Springs pool party season has officially kicked off after a rainy winter here in Southern California. Palm Springs looks greener as I have ever seen it and beautiful wild flowers are popping up all over the desert – you had better enjoy them now, because they won’t be around long, as temperatures are already heading into the nineties with winter not even officially over. Last weekend I rolled into the Palm Springs to bartend my first pool party of the season.

Palm Springs is the favorite spot for people from LA to party. There are rental houses all over the Coachella Valley that have pools, that can sleep multiple people and are perfect for partying. Often several people go in on a house together and it is less expensive than staying in a hotel, and much better. For this party, which was a birthday party, the hosts owned their Palm Springs party pad as a second home.

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Guests mingle at Palm Springs Pool Party

I didn’t really consult with the hosts before the party about their shopping list, etc., so I just showed up and did my thing. They had a well stocked bar, so I was able to make a variety of different drinks, from Manhattans, Mai Tais, I brought my spicy jalapeno margarita mix. It is warm enough now to run around in swimming suits after dark in Palm Springs. I’m sure I will be doing many more pool parties out there this year, and bachelorette parties. Palm Springs is the favorite spot for bachelorette parties for women all over Southern California.

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“Deadly”

Palm Springs Pool Party Must Haves

  • Large and crazy pool toys
  • Professional bartender
  • Great food and drink
  • Plenty of sunblock
  • Great friends

The host told me that she and her husband had just recently started hiring bartenders and now they would never have a party without one. She said the party is so much more enjoyable for them, as they don’t have to worry about making drinks for guests. Many people have told me that, and it only makes sense. Guests can spill as much alcohol making their own drinks than what I charge. This week I am doing a cocktail party in San Diego mid week, and then will be bartending another birthday party in Walnut on Saturday. Later this month I will provide bartending service at functions in Glendora, Oak Park, Indian Wells, and Dana Point. If you have not followed Shaken Not Stirred on Facebook, please do.

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Shots!