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Diamond Bar Center Wedding, Part Four

22 Nov
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Outdoor Cocktail area at Diamond Bar Center

Last Friday Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services at the Diamond Bar Center, and it was the fourth time I have been there. It is a great venue for weddings, or any other kind of large events. The extensive grounds around the Diamond Bar Center are also known as the Diamond Bar Kajukenbo, and it is an excellent place to walk dogs, take photos, or just enjoy nature. Since then, I booked another wedding at the center next summer.

Since the wedding party was held on the weekend before Thanksgiving the traffic in the LA area was horrible – way worse than usual. It took me two solid hours to get there, and it is only 35 miles from my home. The bride and groom were even late coming from the church, as were most of the guests. We were supposed to start serving at 5:30, but most of the guests didn’t arrive until six.

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Photo ops at the Diamond Bar Center

There were 200 guests in attendance, and that requires two bartenders. I brought a trainee with me who had no experience bartending with cocktails. She did fantastic. She picked it up very well, and once all the guests finally arrived we were busy for five solid hours. We served out of beer a half hour before last call, and when we were finished we had a half a bottle of vodka left and two bottles of tequila. That was it.

Diamond Bar Center Wedding Parties

  • Sweeping views of the San Gabriel Valley
  • Outdoor space for cocktail hour
  • Large space for wedding ceremonies
  • Large dining room can fit over 300 guests
  • Large kitchen and ice machine

The Diamond Bar Center has a strict protocol on how bartending service must be executed. It is no big deal, really. Basically the alcohol has to be locked up in the kitchen until one half hour before the cocktail hour. Security then unlocks everything and escorts the bartender to the bar. Alcohol service is limited to five hours, at which time security escorts the bartender back to the kitchen with remaining supplies. It’s a good policy I think and then gives some of the guests some time to sober up during the last hour or two of the reception.

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Shots!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m going to spend time with family, rather than do a bartending job. There were inquiries, but declined them. I have spent too many holidays away from my family over the years working. Next month will be extremely busy. I have another wedding party this coming weekend in Fontana, and then after that the December holiday parties start. Please follow us on Instagram.   

 

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December Backyard Wedding Party in Northridge

20 Dec
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Bride and her companion

 

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering service for a backyard wedding party in Northridge. This was my only December wedding this year. It is of course, risky to have a backyard party in December in Los Angeles, because there is always a chance of rain, but luckily that didn’t happen this time. On the same day, there was a terrible freak accident at an outdoor wedding in Whittier – the mother of the bride was killed when a tree fell over and a toddler was severely injured. You just don’t know what is going to happen when you wake up in the morning.

The Northridge wedding party went off very well. I served Palomas, margaritas, and a few other simple drinks. Cafe N’ Stuff Catering provided the food, and they had some very good beef and mushroom chicken. The DJ was a family friend and he spun some really good old school and latin favorites. The only problem I saw all night was that one of the patio heaters didn’t work. There is always one of those that cause problems.

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Backyard wedding party in Northridge

Backyard Wedding Party Advantages

  • Save lot’s of money
  • Avoid insurance, security and related costs
  • Create an interesting space
  • More intimate setting
  • Hire your own vendors

It was kind of nice to bartend a wedding right in the middle of Christmas party season. I did many holiday parties this season, and will be bartending at a company holiday party in La Canada tomorrow. Then I have a New Year’s Eve party in downtown Los Angeles, and a New Year’s day party in Manhattan Beach scheduled.

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Shots!

Next month is looking kind of light for the bar catering business, and it usually is. I will probably bartend a few birthday parties and a corporate event or two. It has been awhile since I have been out to Palm Springs, so I will probably try to get some parties out there. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

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More shots!

Three Bartending Events Halloween Weekend

4 Nov
Lloyd the Bartender costume

Lloyd the Bartender costume

Shaken Not Stirred was contracted to bartend at three consecutive events last Halloween weekend. I usually write the blogs for my events on Monday morning, but was so exhausted after doing three events in a row, I am now writing the blog today on Wednesday. Friday night I bartended a Halloween costume party in Marina Del Rey, on Saturday I bartended a wedding in Northridge, and then on Sunday I bartended a birthday party in Silverlake.

For the costume party in Marina Del Rey, I broke out my Lloyd the bartender costume. The theme of the party was undead celebrities, and many of the guests really did it up. The host of the party dressed as Marilyn Monroe, and she looked uncannily like that statue that used to stand in downtown Palm Springs. I don’t know what happened to that statue, but it would be cool to make a movie where the statue of Marilyn Monroe goes berserk and terrorizes Palm Springs.

Undead guests at party

Undead guests at party

More undead patrons

More undead patrons

For the Costume party I made some specialty drinks that the host wanted used fresh ingredients. I can do craft cocktails that for smaller parties, but they become problematic at large weddings. Many of the guests didn’t get my costume, and I was surprised to learn that many of them (in their 20’s) had never seen the “Shining.”

On Saturday I bartended a wedding at the Rancho Cordillera Del Norte in Northridge that I had booked months ago.  My associate bartender Mia Martini helped. We served Margaritas, Micheladas, and Palomas to approximately 120 guests. La Fogata Catering provided the food, and they did an excellent job. Mole was on the menu, and I must say was excellent. Mrdraxx was the DJ and he kept the crowd moving all night long.

Bride and groom share first dance

Bride and groom share first dance

Mariachis at Halloween wedding

Mariachis at Halloween wedding

Shots!

Shots!

On Sunday, I traveled to Silverlake to bartend a birthday/retirement party. I was exhausted after doing to two other events, and didn’t really feel up to par. They didn’t have a lot of room for me to set up, so they set up a bar in the home office. I made a specialty drink, “Shady Pines,” which was named after the retirement home on the “Golden Girls.” The Shady Pines was basically a Vodka Mojito with muddled cucumber, and seemed to be a big hit. I was really dragging by the end of the party, but I helped clean up as much as I could, and for me that is how I got through it, rather than just sitting there like a lot of bartenders do.

View from Silverlake

View from Silverlake

This week I have a fundraiser to do in Oak Park on Thursday, and then a birthday party for a repeat customer in Lancaster on Saturday night, and then another party in Northridge on Sunday.  So another busy weekend for Shaken Not Stirred, and many more to come during the holiday season.

 

 

Torrance and Coachella Wedding Parties

26 Oct
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Bride and Groom in Torrance

Last weekend Shaken Not Stirred was on hand to bartend to great wedding parties, in Torrance and Coachella. The Torrance party was held at a zumba studio on Carson Street, but it converted to an event venue quite nicely, and I even had a bar to work behind. The Coachella wedding party was held at the Corona Yacht Club, and that was second time I have worked that venue in two months.

I booked the Friday night party on Thursday night. Everything worked out fine on short notice. Most people book their wedding parties months in advance, but it doesn’t have to be doesn’t have to be done that was. I provided the host with a shopping list of what he needed to buy based on the number of people. He did that, and everything came off fine. The danger of booking last minute is that there won’t be anybody available. Fortunately, I was available, so it was a great deal for me, and the host.

The fathers share a drink

The fathers share a drink

The Coachella event was booked months in advance. It was actually booked by my associate bartender, Mia Martini, and it was the fifth of six events we have booked to together in the past two months. We will be doing another wedding party together on Halloween night in Northridge. At the Coachella event we served Mojitos, Moscow Mules, and Margaritas – the three M’s. Another successful party went down.

I finally booked a Halloween party for Friday in Marina Del Rey, and will be once again dressing as Loyd the bartender (from the Shining). It is not a big stretch for me.  Then on Saturday, Halloween, I will be bartending the wedding party in Northridge, and then on Sunday, I will be bartending a birthday party in Los Angeles. November is shaping up to be one of my busiest months every, and I already have many weekdays and Sundays booked, as well as all but one Saturday.

The lagoon in Coachella

The lagoon in Coachella

Studio City Wedding at “New York Street”

11 Aug

Saturday Shaken Not Stirred travelled all the way to New York Street

Mia bartending at New York Street

Mia bartending at New York Street

Real New Yorkers!

Real New Yorkers!

New York Street wedding

New York Street wedding

The toast...

The toast…

Shots!

Shots!

at CBS Studios in Studio City to bartend a wedding. It was a party of 200 people and I took another bartender, Mia, who has worked with me several times. This was my first event at the studio and I was nervous – big parties like this have the potential to go wrong in many different ways. My method of combating potential problems is to arrive early.

I did arrive one hour early and the first problem I noticed was that there weren’t enough cups. That was probably my fault because I had made a shopping list for the clients and they just followed it. Luckily, Mia had not arrived yet and was able to pick some more cups up. I recommend that people buy at least four times the number of cups as there are guests. Yes, a lot go to waste, but I don’t know how to remedy that.

The second problem was that the ice had not yet arrived when guests started arriving for the cocktail hour before dinner. People were waiting for 20 minutes before we had ice. This has happened at several weddings. I guess it’s just one of those details that slips through the cracks. Once the ice arrived, everything else went smoothly.

The host had chosen a speciality cocktail, the Cucumber Margarita. I volunteered to make the cucumber syrup, although I had never made it before. It turned out great! I made a gallon of it and it is very concentrated. I used fresh lemon/lime juice to mix with it. The cumber taste comes through loud and clear. It mixes well with vodka and tequila and I made myself a non-alcoholic drink with the syrup, lemon/lime and soda water that was really good.  Wow, I’m now a real “mixologist” though I hate that term and think it is pretentious.

The wedding was a really nice affair and the weather couldn’t have been nicer. We ran out of beer an hour before the party ended, but still had plenty of vodka and tequila left. This was a nearly eight hour party, and I guess I didn’t take into consideration it was two or three hours longer than most parties when I made the shopping list.  Next weekend, I have a birthday party in Studio City, and then I have three more weddings later this month in Tehachapi, Camarillo, and El Monte.

Mira Loma Wedding

16 Mar

Last night I bartended a backyard wedding at a home in Mira Loma in the Inland Empire. I do all kinds of weddings from very fancy affairs to small backyard weddings. This one had about 75 people in attendance and was very nice. They had a a DJ, a live band, a caricature artist, and me, the bartender. I think the family put the food together, which was very good. The large backyard was perfect for hosting a wedding of this size. The important thing is that the people in attendance seemed to have a great time.

It is already getting hotter, so I want to remind everybody to get plenty of ice for their parties, because it melts fast. I think we had seven twenty pound bags for this party and we used every bit of it. I had tubs of Modelo, Tecate, Corona, Bud Light, and Coors. I served Tequila, Malibu, Jack Daniels, and Seagram’s Seven. I had made a shopping list for the host and I think we used up most of the booze.

One of the guests brought two kegs and people were pouring that beer for themselves. When he left the keg was still three quarters full. A lot of people were drinking bottled beer, so that was part of it. I usually tell people not to get keg beer for this reason – most of it goes to waste, and it is very problematic. Kegs are hard to keep cold and difficult to pour. This beer was donated, so free beer is good beer.

This was a traditional Mexican wedding, and they had a live band, Conjunto Norteno (714) 979-9369, which played all of the traditional favorites. I do many Mexican weddings and am right at home there. I speak some Spanish, and even though I am a gringo, I love the music and the culture, so don’t be afraid of hiring me. Many of the Mexican weddings remind me of country weddings I attended when I was younger in Wyoming.

Conjunto Norteno

Conjunto Norteno

 

The bride and groom have first dance

The bride and groom have first dance

 

Full bottles waiting to be emptied

Full bottles waiting to be emptied

 

Time for shots!

Time for shots!

 

Next weekend I am doing a birthday party in the city of Los Angeles. I get to stay close to home for a change. I have several dates already filled in April and May. I am looking forward to doing many weddings this summer and hope to pick up some graduation parties and reunions, and of course, pool parties. I would like to fill some Sunday dates in.