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Three Labor Day Weekend Events For Shaken Not Stirred

5 Sep
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Pre Wedding Party in Winnetka

Labor Day Weekend was a busy for Shaken Not Stirred, as I did three great events around Los Angeles. On Friday I bartended a pre-wedding party in Winnetka, on Saturday did a rehearsal dinner in Hancock Park, and then wrapped up the weekend with 40th birthday party in Valley Village. I served hundreds of drinks and met hundreds of new people.

The pre-wedding party in Winnetka was a traditional Lebanese affair, and they have a name for it, but I can’t remember what it is. The groom’s family was of Lebanese descent and they had a DJ play Lebanese music. I set up my portable bar in the backyard and served drinks to nearly 100 guests. The Mediterranean Bistro of Porter Ranch catered the event and they served a fantastic variety of Mediterranean favorites. I love Mediterranean food, and particularly Lebanese food and two of my favorite restaurants in LA are Lebanese.

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105 degrees in Hollywood Labor Day Weekend

Shaken Not Stirred in LA

  • Top Pro on Thumbtack: 91 5 star reviews
  • Established, December 2013
  • 15 five star reviews on Yelp
  • Top performer on Gig Salad
  • Done over 400 events

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    Guests mingle at Hancock Park Rehearsal Dinner

On Saturday it was deathly hot in Los Angeles. It was at least 105 in the SFV, and I thought it would be cooler in Hancock Park. I was wrong. When I arrived to set up, I instantly was soaked with sweat when I got out of the car. There was no breeze at all and it was like a sauna even in the shade. As the sun went down it eventually cooled off a little. I served margaritas and other drinks to a crowd of 60 people. The party took place in the backyard of a very nice Hancock Park home.

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Guests enjoy home movie in Valley Village

On Sunday, the day before Labor Day, I drove only five minutes away to a home in Valley Village to bartend a 40th birthday party. The host had told me her friends were heavy drinkers. She told me how much alcohol she had purchased and I thought it would be enough. I was wrong. We ran almost completely out an hour and a half before the end of the party. Some of the guests ran out to get more. DJ Richie Rich provided the jams.

This coming weekend I have a wedding scheduled in Fillmore, and nothing lese so fa, but that will probably change. I have events scheduled in San Diego, Valley Village, Culver City, La Verne, Villa Park, and Burbank. Please follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram.  

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Rolling Hills Fourth of July Party

5 Jul
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My first customers at the bar

Yesterday I bartended a Fourth of July party in Rolling Hills on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I was excited to do this party because the host told me they had a great view of the whole Long Beach and San Pedro area from their backyard and could see several fireworks shows from there. I love Independence Day – it is my favorite holiday, and I love fireworks, and I love bartending.

I got this job from another job I did last month in Rolling Hills. There is nothing better than getting a referral, or getting a job from handing out a business card. That is the best kind of business for me, because I have to pay for leads and advertising for everything else. I had to start my business from scratch, and now after four years, I am getting a lot of repeat business and referrals.

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Me at Bukowski’s grave

I got down to area early and had some time to kill. I was right by the Green Hills Cemetery and I remembered that Charles Bukowski,one of my favorite writers is buried there. People often visit his grave and pour bottles of beer and whiskey into the ground as a tribute. I figured it shouldn’t be too hard to find the gravesite. I walked into the cemetery and quickly realized it would be like finding a needle in a haystack. I saw a cemetery employee driving a golf cart and I stopped her and asked he where the grave site was. She was kind enough to drive me right to it. It had some beer bottles on it and cigarettes. I was unprepared and had nothing to offer. I hope I am not jinxed!

The party went very well and I served Mojitos. Old Fashioneds, beer, and wine to approximately 50 guests. It was a very nice relaxed party with a great group of people. When the sun went down the fireworks started and they lit up the whole harbor area and Southbay. I think that this year there were way more “illegal” fireworks than I have ever seen before. Even as I was driving home on the 405 they were lighting up the sky at midnight. I love it – allow us our freedom once a year!

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Guests enjoying great food and view of Harbor area

Friday I am bartending a wedding in San Diego, and then on Sunday I am doing a wedding at an exotic animal ranch in Sylmar. On Monday I leave for Montana and Wyoming for a week. The summer will be gone before we know it.

A Bunch of Events, New Orleans, and Fractured Ribs

27 May
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Famous Maple Leaf Bar, New Orleans

Today is the first day I have felt like sitting at a desk and writing since returning from my trip from New Orleans and recovering from fractured ribs. I visited New Orleans for the first time last week and had an accident falling out of the hotel shower where I fractured my ribs. I returned to LA and have been laid up in severe pain this entire week – I finally feel much better today, but am not 100 percent. Shaken Not Stirred was very busy the week before I left on my trip, and I have even done a couple events since I’ve been back and haven’t written about any of them on this blog.

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Interior, Maple Leaf Bar

The week before I left on my trip I did five big events. I bartended an alumni event in Burbank, did a bris celebration in Studio City, traveled to Indian Wells to bartend a rehearsal dinner for Goodfella’s Tacos, drove back to Castaic to bartend a graduation party, and then on Sunday bartended a Mother’s Day party in Woodland Hills. I left for New Orleans the next morning. That was one of my busiest weeks since I started the company.

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Alumni event, Burbank

I went to New Orleans to attend the wedding of my friend, Jason Ricci. He is one of the best harmonica players in the world today. My accident happened on the day before the wedding. I was able to attend the wedding ceremony, but was in so much pain, had to leave shortly after and missed the big jam session at the famous Maple Leaf Bar where the wedding party was held. I was very disappointed about that. Despite my accident, I loved the city and people of New Orleans, and will return for sure. The food is incredible, and we Yankees could all learn a thing or two about Southern hospitality.

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Indian Wells Rehearsal Dinner 

The flight back was excruciating with broken ribs, and had not the nice lady sitting next to me given me a Vicodin, I can imagine the plane having to land in Nashville or somewhere because I was moaning so much. I returned on Thursday and had two upcoming gigs on Saturday and Sunday that I had no idea how I was going to complete. I could not bend down, turn my body, or lift anything above four pounds without wincing in pain.

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Mariachis perform at Castaic graduation party

I called some other bartenders and tried to get somebody to take my gigs, but could not find anybody on short notice. I decided to get a friend to help me and I could sit on a stool and mix drinks. I will never cancel a gig I have taken a deposit for, and will to the best of my ability get the job done. My friend drove me to Fontana and we got the job done and I bartended a birthday party for 60 people. It was painful, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

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Shots!

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Irvine Graduation Party 

The next day we turned around and drove to Irvine to bartend a graduation party of 100 people. Once again, we got the job done, and I couldn’t have done it without my friend, Steve, who had no previous bartending experience. While we were doing that gig, I had three other bartenders doing a fundraiser event in Beverly Hills, which came off very well I have heard.

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Guests enjoy cigars at Fontana birthday party

I spend all of last week laying around letter my ribs heal. I went to the doctor and got xrays and at least three ribs are fractured. I have several events already scheduled for this month, but am not taking on any new ones until I am completely healed. Tonight I am bartending a birthday party in Santa Monica, and my friend is coming along to help me. Next week I am doing a birthday party close to home in Van Nuys. Hopefully, by next month I will be fully recovered and ready to roll for the summer party and wedding season.

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Injured bartender in Fontana

Two South Orange County Events

3 Apr

Last weekend Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for two South Orange County events in Dana Point and a few miles away in Laguna Niguel. It is a beautiful area and a great time of the year to visit and experience outdoor events there. On Friday night I bartended a rehearsal dinner and served approximately 80 guests, and then on Saturday I provided service at a birthday party at a fantastic home overlooking the coast in Laguna Niguel.

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Dana Point Harbor

When I arrived to the rehearsal dinner on Friday night there were already many guests self serving themselves at the bar and I immediately got the sinking feeling I had somehow got the time wrong and I was late. I am phobic about being late and am always on time and even way early. I was not late, the party just started early in this case. I scrambled to get prepared, but it was easy because the wedding planner had already prepped the bar for me.

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Friends share a drink at Dana Point Rehearsal Party

They held the event at a rental house from Air B&B that had a very nice back yard perfect for events. Many of the Air B&B rentals allow guests to have parties as long as they pay large deposits and adhere to all of the guidelines. Many of the people at this event traveled from different parts of the country.

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Shots!

South Orange County

  • Laguna Niguel
  • Dana Point
  • San Clemente
  • Mission Viejo
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • Laguna Beach

I made margaritas and other simple mixed drinks and served wine and beer. It was a good warm up for the wedding, which was being held at a hotel the following night. I had also helped the bride and groom make a shopping list for supplies for their wedding. I hope that worked out for them.

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Sunset Laguna Niguel

I stayed in the area and the next night I went to a fantastic home up on the hill in Laguna Niguel to bartend a birthday party. The view from the backyard was incredible. To the north you could see Laguna Beach, to the south, Dana Point, and then of course due west was the Pacific Ocean, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and Catalina Island. The backyard bar was the perfect perch for all of that.

I brought my jalapeno margarita mix and also made Pisco Sours for the specialty drinks. About thirty guests were in attendance. Diverse DJ Events provided the music, and Taquero Juan Celio (714) 687-6825, provided the tacos. It was a great evening in a killer location. Next weekend I have potential job in Palm Desert on Friday, and then a birthday party in Sherman Oaks on Saturday. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

 

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!

Bartender to the Rescue in Studio City

27 Feb
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Amigos!

Saturday night I was sitting at home for the first Saturday night in a long time when a call came out for a “bartender to the rescue” in Studio City. Another bartender cancelled at the last minute and they needed somebody right away. I put on my bartender cape and was at their door in fifteen minutes. Luckily, Studio City is only three miles away. Shaken Not Stirred is located in Valley Glen.

When I walked in the usual chaos was ensuing at the bar as guests fumbled trying to open bottles and pour their own drinks. One guy brought a full drink and set it down in front of me. “I don’t want this – it’s the worst drink I’ve ever had,” he said. One of the guests had made it for him. It took me a few minutes to get acclimated, but had the bar running smoothly in no time. The party was a pajama party of 20 to 30 year olds, and they were playing some kind of trivia game. A food truck outside was serving the food.

I made mostly simple drinks like Jack and Coke, and Tequila Sodas. A lot of the younger people drink either vodka/soda, or tequila/soda with lime, because those drinks have less calories. I have noticed that is the drink of choice among Millennials in LA. It seems that you don’t really need a bartender to make those drinks, but obviously you do, because most people don’t know how much to pour. That is the problem when you don’t hire a bartender – a lot of alcohol gets wasted and thrown away because the drinks are awful, or worse yet – bottles of alcohol “walk away.” I have confronted guests at wedding that I was bartending who tried to steal bottles of alcohol.

Last Minute Bartender to the Rescue

  • Original bartender cancels last minute
  • Bartender no show/no call
  • Bartender shows up drunk or high
  • Host realizes last minute a bartender is needed
  • Bartender doesn’t know what he or she is doing

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    Guests playing trivia game

When I am bartending, I am often not busy making drinks the whole time. That is when I take the time to clean up the area. People leave plates, cups, and napkins on the tables and countertops and I take a moment to clean them up. People are always amazed when I do this. Well, a bartender in a bar or restaurant is expected to keep their area clean, and I take that same philosophy into the homes and venues where I do private parties. Sometimes I am just to busy behind the bar to do it, but I try to keep the area clean when I can. The host of this party was very happy with me and wrote me a nice 5 star review.

This coming weekend I have a surprise birthday party scheduled in Hermosa Beach on Friday, and then a wedding in Palm Springs on Saturday. I will return to Palm Springs the following weekend and then have other events scheduled in the City of Walnut, Tarzana, and Indian Wells later in the month.

Private Bartender at La Canada Christmas Party

22 Dec
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Private bartender selfie

 

Last night, for the third year in a row I served as the private bartender for a company Christmas party at a very nice home in La Canada. The host is a very successful real estate agent in the area and has a fantastic home for entertaining. He has a very nice little bar inside the house, and he has a great one outside as well, where we hold parties in the summer.

About 90 guests were in attendance and I served drinks that had real estate terms for names like the “Pocket Listing,” “Multiple Offers,” and “Just Sold.” I made my spicy jalapeno margarita mix and that was a hit as it usually is. I also served a lot of Johnny Walker Black, and made a holiday cranberry Old Fashioned. As a private bartender I have manned the bar at over 400 events, so by now I am comfortable behind any bar.

I can make a variety of cocktails with a few simple mixers. It is always good to have cranberry juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, Coke, Diet Coke, Seven Up, and bitters. For garnishes it is good to have limes, lemons, cherries, and olives. Mint, oranges, cranberries, cucumbers, and other garnishes are usually for specialty drinks. As a private bartender, I consult with hosts about the drink menu and shopping list. I can do all the shopping also, but charge an extra fee for that.

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La Canada on a cloudy day

Advantages of Hiring a Private Bartender

  • The hosts can enjoy themselves at the party
  • Bartender makes consistently good drinks
  • Guests are impressed
  • Bartender can monitor guests intoxication level
  • Host saves money on shopping list

Unless I book something else next week, this was my last holiday party of the season until New Year’s Eve. I am booked for NYE at a warehouse party in Downtown LA that should be interesting. On New Year’s Day I will return to Manhattan Beach to provide bartending service for a pre Rose Bowl/birthday party. I think 2017 is going to be a record year for Shaken Not Stirred, and look forward to serving many of my repeat customers and gaining a bunch of new ones.

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Shots!

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