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10 Person 50th Birthday Party at Northridge Women’s Club

12 Mar

Banquet Hall before the party

Last Saturday Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a multi-person 50th birthday party at the Northridge Women’s Club. Ten guys who went to high school together teamed up to have a big celebration of their mid century milestone, and invited 300 guests. My son helped me and we were busy the entire time. I didn’t get many good photos for that reason.

Portable Bar outside

Some of the guys who put on the party met with me months in advance to plan the event. I helped them make a shopping list and I guess I missed the mark, because we ran out of booze two hours before the party was over (we still had beer). The hosts went out and bought more vodka and tequila. Vodka is what usually runs out first if anything does.

50th Birthday Party in progress

Lorraine’s Catering of Sylmar did the food and it was excellent. I met Lorraine and her husband Joe at an event years ago and I have done many events for them, and they have referred me to many, as they did this one. I hope to return the favor. Lorraine and Joe and some of their kids showed up at 5pm, set up in the kitchen, served 200 people and were cleaned up and out of there by 8pm. That’s how efficient they are. The Northridge Women’s club has a large, well equipped kitchen, which makes it easy.

50th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Plan a multi person birthday party
  • Hire a bartender
  • Invite a diverse mix of people
  • Serve great food
  • Rent a hall

My son and I set up out portable bar outside, but it got cold and dark out there, so after the caterer left we moved into the kitchen, which also easily serves as a bar. We went through at least 15 cases of beer, and many handles of vodka and tequila. The security guard from the Northridge Women’s Club came and told us at 11pm that we would have to stop serving at 11:45pm sharp. Some kind of fight broke out outside at 11:15, so that ended the party prematurely. Unfortunately, there are usually one or two troublemakers at every event.
This week I will be bartending at a Residential center in Huntington Beach on Thursday, and then doing a cocktail party in Redondo Beach the next day. So far I am still open for Saturday night. Later this month I will be doing a wedding in Desert Hot Springs, and a pool party in Palm Springs. I’m hoping I will get to see the wildflower bloom in the desert. Please follow us on Instagram.

Bartenders Portrayed in Cinema

6 Mar
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Chuckles the Bartender

I watching an old episode of Gunsmoke with the sound turned off and I realized that bartenders are often not portrayed very well on film and television. In this particular episode of Gunsmoke the bartender was corrupt and dastardly – willing to sell information or favor to the highest bidder. In may of the old westerns the bartenders are that way. They are the guys who work for bad guys and will shoot a hero in the back with a shotgun as soon as he turns his back. The bartenders usually get mowed down in a hail of bullets before they can pull the trigger.

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Dawdling bartender gets his comeuppance

Bartenders in film noir are often portrayed as cynical, heartless, corrupt, or lazy. They sell information about their clients, or are surly and withhold important information from the good guys. Then, there are the womanizer bartenders, and the alcoholic creeps who get high on their own supply and facilitate affairs and sex trade. Bartenders in the outback or sleepy beach towns know all of the locals and are hostile to outsiders.

Famous Bartenders in Film

  • Eddy the Bartender (Frank Stallone in Barfly)
  • Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise in Cocktail)
  • Chuckles the Bartender (William Conrad in Dial 1119)
  • Dawdling bartender (Richard Halliday in Lonesome Dove)
  • Lloyd the Bartender (Joe Turkel in The Shining)

Frank Stallone played a bartender in the movie, Barfly who was a perfect example. He was a womanizer hothead, who was the nemesis of the Mickey Rourke protagonist.  Rourke, playing Henry Chinaski (the fictional Charles Bukowski), constantly goads the Stallone character, and in the end kicks his ass in a fight out behind the bar. The lowlife bartender gets his comeuppance again. There appears to be some serious animus toward bartenders in fiction.

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Frank Stallone as Eddy the Bartender

Don’t forget Lloyd the bartender, one of the most memorable bartenders in cinema history. Lloyd is an actual ghost in the movie, but reminds us of a lurking, sinister service employee with a heart of ice. Someone who observes everything and subtly encourages bad behavior. Someone who probably resents his customers so much he wishes them dead.

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Lloyd the Bartender

In film, bartenders are often the guys who will steal your wife and then plot to kill you for the insurance money. Bartenders are the racists who refuse service to ethnic characters of various races. Bartenders are the guys that will drop a dime on you for $50, or are dealing drugs and stealing from the till. Many people who watch films have had bad experiences with lazy, rude, and insolent bartenders, so it is not surprising they love seeing bartenders get their asses kicked or even killed in movies.

Two Weddings and a Brazilian Themed Birthday Party

17 Oct
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San Clemente State Beach

 

Last week Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering for two big weddings and a Brazilian themed birthday party. Thursday I traveled to San Clemente to bartend a wedding at the Historic Cottage located at the San Clemente State Park. On Friday I bartended a birthday party with a Brazilian theme in the Venice Beach area, and then on Saturday drove to Palm Springs to provide bartending service at the Palm Springs air museum. It was a very successful week for Shaken Not Stirred.

The Historic Cottage

The Historic Cottage at the San Clemente State Park overlooks the ocean and is a fantastic venue for a wedding. This venue reminded me very much of The Pointe Vicente Interperative Center in Rancho Palos Verdes. The Historic Cottage only allows wine and beer service, and drink service stops at 10pm.

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Guests mingle during cocktail hour

For this wedding, the ceremony was held on the bluff overlooking the ocean, and then the guests came for the cocktail hour held in the front yard of the Historic Cottage. I had my portable bar setup there and a had a barback from Orange County helping me there. We served approximately 150 guests. After the cocktail hour, the guests moved to the backyard area of the cottage for dinner and dancing.

Brazilian Themed Birthday Party

A chef that I know, Ella Freyinger, referred me to bartend for one of her friend’s birthday party. The client and her husband were very British, but they wanted to do a Brazilian themed birthday party. I would be serving Caipirinhas, the Brazilian cocktails and they would be serving food popular in Brazil. Caipirinhas are made with Brazilian cane liquor, Cachaca, brown sugar, and lime. They are somewhat labor intensive drinks that require much muddling, so I kept busy making them for four hours for 30 guests.

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Cachaca and Brazilian soda

 

At first, I didn’t think the guests liked them, because they were drinking them slowly, but that changed quickly. Guests brought more bottles of different brands of Cachaca, and I was making drinks with at least four different brands, including Pitu, Cachaca 51, Novo Fogo, and Avua. The owner of the Avua brand was actually at the party, and provided a lot of insight about the various types. I must mention that Caipirinhas are deadly drinks that go down smooth, but can bite like a rattlesnake.

Palm Springs Air Museum

I have done weddings and parties at venues all over the Coachella Valley, but this was my first wedding at the Palm Springs Air Museum. It is a truly fantastic museum located in a hangar at the Palm Springs airport. It is full of vintage planes and displays, which I didn’t really have time to look out because I had to hustle and prepare for a 230 guest wedding party. I had another bartender and barback there to help me. Unlike many wedding parties I do the ceremony for this one was done somewhere else, so the guests trickled in, rather than arriving in a line all at once. It can be daunting to serve a line a 230 people.

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Myself, barback Teresa, and bartender Thomas

We served margaritas, and mojitos, and various other drinks. The highlight is when they opened the hangar door and we could see a dramatic sunset over the mountains of Palm Springs, as well as vintage planes outside the hangar and commercial jets taking off nearby. It was a great event and hope to return there soon.

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Shots!

 

Shaken Not Stirred Provides Bar Catering for Two September Weddings

14 Sep
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Picturesque, but hot!

 

Last weekend Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering service for two fantastic weddings. Weddings like these take months of planning, and many different vendors are involved, including the wedding coordinator, the caterer, the bartending service, the DJ, insurance companies, the photographer, the florist, and the venue. I am happy to be part of that process, and spend much time writing emails back and forth, and on the phone with grooms, brides, and wedding planners. It is also always nice to see a wedding executed as planned.

When I arrived in Indio at the Desert Ridge Estate, I got out of my car and was surprised how blazing hot it was. I had done a wedding in Joshua Tree the weekend before and it was a pleasant 90F. I had not checked the weather report, and it was a sweltering 116F in Indio. The bar was set up outside in the direct sunlight. The DJ was rolling with sweat as he set up his equipment. I wondered how I was going to make it with several hours of sunlight left.

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The sun finally goes down

The guests and wedding party were just as shocked by the high temperatures. Almost all of the guests were from Canada and not used to such extreme hot weather. Well, we got through it somehow, and I have never been so happy to see the sun go down. I served one signature drink, a prohibition era cocktail called Bee’s Knees, and it is made with gin, lemon juice, and honey. The drink was a hit and I served completely out of it.

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Shots!

Bar Catering Tips

  • Hire a licensed bar caterer
  • Let the bar caterer make you a shopping list
  • Choose specialty drinks that can be served quickly
  • Hire more than one bartender for weddings over 100
  • Always make sure to buy plenty of ice

The next morning, I got up and prepared to drive from Indio to Palmdale for the second wedding of the weekend. The heat from the day before had taken a lot of out of me and I was dragging. I drove up the 15 and took the back road to Palmdale across the high desert. It is a scenic drive, and I was feeling much better by the time I arrived in Palmdale.

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Man and wife take their first walk together

The wedding was held at Hacienda Reyes, a very nice venue in the hills above Palmdale. I set up my portable bar in a small gazebo on the property. The weather was much nicer than the day before – a chilly 92F. I made simple drinks and served beer to approximately 75 guests. I think everyone was happy.

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Shots!

This weekend I will be returning to the Desert to the Cree Estate to do another wedding, then I have a Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar in the morning at Rancho Palos Verdes, and then that afternoon I am doing bar catering for a wedding reception in Irvine. Please follow us on Instagram.

Event Bartender Marathon Week: Seven Events, Three Counties

5 Sep

Event Bartender company, Shaken Not Stirred had a record week leading into Labor Day, completing seven big events in three Southern California Counties. I myself worked six of the events and I sent another bartender to do another one for a repeat customer.

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Max Joseph at Catfish going away party

Wednesday:

I drove to Burbank to do a very special event for a television production company. The show, “Catfish,” on MTV has had seven successful seasons, but one of the show’s top hosts is moving on to other endeavors, so it was a going away party for him. I made margaritas and served beer and wine, while the cast and crew watched the final episode with Max Joseph. I avoided a near disaster when I noticed my table with several bottles on it was about to collapse. I caught it just in time and a caterer walking by helped me. It would have been a major disaster if that table collapsed right during the screening. Needless to say, that table is being retired.

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Groom and groomsmen at Ruby Street

Thursday:

I drove to a funky little venue in Highland Park called 6408 Ruby Street to bartend a wedding. The Ruby Street venue is a former church and a historic building in Los Angeles. I had a trainee meet me there and she was a lot of help. We served two different specialty drinks, and beer and wine to the guests. We don’t get many weddings on Thursdays, but we welcome them. On the same night I sent another event bartender, Melanie, to do a corporate event in West Hollywood.

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70th Birthday Party in Orange County

Friday:

I drove to Orange County, to Lake Forest to bartend a 70th birthday party. It was held at a very nice community clubhouse, and I set up my portable bar outside. The weather was perfect and there was a cool breeze blowing. They had a live band and friends and family members poured in. When it comes to a 70th birthday party, many of the people have been friends for decades. Everyone had a nice time. I stayed a hotel in Irvine because I had to be in Joshua Tree the next day for another wedding.

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Groom watching Bride dance with Father

Saturday:

I drove from Orange County to Joshua Tree to do a wedding at a cool little venue called the Mohave Sands Motel – it was my second time there. Another event bartender, actually named Joshua lives out there and he helped me. Once again, the weather was perfect and we served approximately 75 guests throughout the evening. I got up the next morning and had to drive back to North Hollywood to do a Quinceanera. There was a bad accident on the 10 Freeway, and the trip took me four hours.

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Quinceanera at Memories Banquet Hall

Sunday:

I met another bartender who works for me, Edie, at the Memories Banquet Hall in North Hollywood to bartend the Quinceanera. There were over 100 guests. We served Palomas and other classic drinks until midnight. Luckily, the venue was only minutes from my home. I had served hundreds of drinks by this point.

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Volunteer shot girl at pool party on Mulholland Drive

Monday, Labor Day:

My final event of the holiday weekend was held at a rental house on Mulholland Drive overlooking the San Fernando Valley.  An online company was having a Labor Day pool party for their influencers and investors. I set up my portable bar by the pool and served drinks throughout the afternoon and evening. Once again, the weather was perfect. This is my favorite time of the year. I finished at 9 pm and my event bartender marathon was a complete, and I think a total success. This coming weekend I have events in Indio, Hawthorne, and Venice Beach. Follow us on Instagram.

Diamond Bar Center Wedding, 2018

14 Aug
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Notice Groomsmen in the Background

Saturday Night, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to the Diamond Bar Center to provide bartending service for the fifth time at the venue. Diamond Bar Center is maintained by the City of Diamond Bar and is an excellent venue with scenic views and smart landscaping. I am always happy to go back there and like working with the system they have there for vendors.

The bride and I had done much planning for this wedding, as we went back and forth on the drink menu and shopping list in the months prior to the wedding. It is always nice that after much planning, everything comes together and is over with in a few hours, just as planned. For this particular wedding, the lighting and color coordination in the ballroom looked especially nice. I credit the wedding planner, DreamsComeTrueWedding.

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Storybook Wedding at Diamond Bar Center

For this wedding we had a two bar setup, with one bar outside the dining room for the cocktail hour, and then we moved inside to another bar for the main reception. The Diamond Bar Center has two very nice portable bars, and the staff and security there helped us move everything. Within 15 minutes we were able to break down the first bar and move it into the second dining room bar.

Diamond Bar Center Venue

  • Dining Room can accommodate over 300 people
  • Bar service is limited from 6pm until 10pm
  • Scenic views of San Gabriel Valley
  • Large outdoor patio area
  • Two portable bars available

We made several different easy cocktails for the guests, including Jameson and Ginger, Cactus Coolers, and Cosmos. Many of the guests were not drinking alcohol, and we had plenty of options for them, including Mango juice, orange juice and sodas. Part of bartending wedding is making Shirley Temples for the kids, and we made plenty of those at this wedding. Another successful wedding for Shaken Not Stirred at the Diamond Bar Center.

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Large Dining Room at Diamond Bar Center

The next three weekends in a row I will be going to the Palm Springs area to bartend a couple of birthday parties, and a wedding. I also have a baby shower and a corporate event to do in Los Angeles, and a going away party in Lake Forest. There was a slight chill in the air this morning, which signals fall is coming. My favorite time a year for doing events. Please follow us on Instagram.

Shaken Not Stirred Provides Bartending Service at 8 Big Events

8 Aug
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The View from 17th Floor

Last week was one of the busiest weeks ever for Shaken Not Stirred – my staff and I provided bartending service at 8 great events. I started off the week doing two corporate events in Downtown LA and Venice, and then on Saturday we had a baby shower, a going away brunch, and two birthday parties. Sunday I drove to Palm Springs to bartend a bachelorette party, while another bartender did an anniversary party in Manhattan Beach.

I picked up a new corporate client and they say they will be doing as many as two events a month, all on the weekdays. I love these kind of events. I did the first one on thursday night in downtown Los Angeles, and it was held at the 17th floor pool area of a luxury condo building. I brought all the supplies, and hustled them up to the 17th floor. It is an extra service I provide for an extra fee, and many of my clients do not want the hassle of shopping for their supplies. I am glad to do it.

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New Favorite Mode of Transportation in Venice

On Friday, I once again traveled to Venice to do a mixer that coincides with the First Friday Food truck event on Abbot Kinney. This was my third time doing this event. Once again, I shopped for and brought all the supplies. I served wine, beer, and soft drinks to 30 or so people. Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon.

Hire a Bartending Service

  • Craft cocktails and professional quality drinks
  • We can do the shopping for you
  • Professional consultation
  • Multiple bartenders available
  • ABC certified

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    Fullerton Baby Shower

Saturday was the big day that I was worried about because I had four different events staffed by four bartenders, plus myself. I had a baby shower to do with another bartender in Fullerton. One bartender did a daytime event in Sylmar, and then a birthday party later that night in Santa Clarita. Two other bartenders headed out to Pacoima to do a birthday party. Fortunately, everyone was on time and everything went great.

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Palm Springs Bachelorette Party

This weekend I have a wedding at the Diamond Bar Center on Saturday, and a birthday party in Studio City on Sunday. The month of august is flying by, and it won’t be too much longer that I will be booking Christmas parties. Like last year, I am saving all dates in December for my existing customers. Please follow us on Instagram.