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Maxwell House Wedding

12 Mar

Historic Maxwell House in Pasadena

Last month I provided bartending service at a Maxwell House wedding in Pasadena. I am delayed in writing this blog post, but thought that I should because it is such a nice venue. The Maxwell House is a historic building in an old neighborhood in Pasadena, and you couldn’t find a more picturesque setting for a wedding. I hope to return to the Maxwell House many more times in the future.

The groom who hired me was the brother of another client we provided bartending services for. It is always nice to get repeat business.  My son actually bartended the first wedding party, so this was my first time meeting the brothers and the family. I spoke to the groom many times by email and phone planning the bar menu and shopping list.


Bride and Groom enter reception

I served a variety of drinks including a cucumber gin and tonic, the classic, Fleur di Paradis cocktail, and a rum hot toddy. Surprisingly, the Maxwell House does not have a fixed bar in place, so I set up my portable bar and table in the library of the historic home.

Maxwell House Wedding Pluses

  • Close to the 210 and 134 freeways
  • Picturesque and private setting
  • Large kitchen and dining room
  • Beautiful main room for ceremony
  • Nice courtyard


    Bride and bridesmaids

I usually like to give props to the caterers, but I misplaced the caterers card and can’t recall their name, but they did a fantastic job. The Maxwell House has a great kitchen and two large dining room areas. They also have a great courtyard, which I’m sure gets utilized more in the summer.


Maxwell House dining room

I have been remiss in updating this blog, but I have done many events recently including weddings, birthday parties, and rehearsal dinners.  It is the season for many events in the Palm Springs area, and I am doing several weddings out there in the coming weeks. Late this week I am doing a large corporate event in Culver City, a cocktail party in Huntington Beach, and a cocktail party in Palm Desert. Please follow us on Instagram.



Mission Hills 40th Birthday Party

21 Feb

A Bay Breeze waits to go out

Saturday night I bartended a 40th birthday party in Mission Hills. This was the third party I have provided bartending service for this large family. It is always nice to have repeat business and referrals. This was just the kind of party I love to do – around 60 guests in the backyard.

I set up my portable bar and table next to the garage. I served Margaritas, Palomas, and the Bay Breeze, and Moscow Mules. We had a good selection of beers, also, including Blue Moon, 805, Stella, Corona, and Pacifico. I think 805 won the battle of the beers at this party. It is always nice to have two or three beer choices.

I didn’t get the name of the taco vendors, but they had a great selection of tacos, tortas, and burritos. Many taco vendors don’t offer the option of tortas, and burritos, so that is always nice. The weather was perfect for a backyard 40th birthday party, and it was the last nice night before this current cold snap.


Birthday girl and family at 40th Birthday Party

40th Birthday Party Ideas:

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Make a photo backdrop
  • Play great music
  • Invite a cross section of people



February has been somewhat slow for Shaken Not Stirred, as it usually is, so I am glad that March is looking to be very busy. Wedding season kicks into high gear and I already have three weddings scheduled in March. This weekend I’m going to Palm Springs on Friday for a cocktail party, return to Redondo Beach on Saturday for a birthday party, and then to Tarzana on Sunday for another birthday party. If you haven’t already followed us on Instagram, please do.


Sisters and friends


West Hills Surprise Birthday Party

13 Feb

West Hills, CA

Saturday night I traveled across the San Fernando Valley to bartend a surprise birthday party in West Hills. A proud father planned the event for his son’s 25th birthday party, and I think the event went off exactly as planned – the son was genuinely surprised and touched, and everybody had a great time. I always like doing surprise parties, and as I have said before anybody who gets one thrown for them, is truly blessed.


Guests anxiously waiting

I have been neglecting this blog since the busy holiday season, and it’s time to get back to basics. I built my business up with internet marketing and now that I am getting many referrals and much repeat business, I have gotten lazy about doing the things that made my business successful in the first place. Since I started Shaken Not Stirred, I have completed close to 500 private events.

This surprise birthday party was held at the family’s brand new home in West Hills at the far northwest corner of the San Fernando Valley. The house was located at the end of a cul de sac and my first comment to the host was, “He’s going to see all these cars here and will immediately know what’s going on.” Naturally the host had already thought of that. I unloaded my portable and bar and moved my car back up the street, as all the guests were instructed to do.


Don Julio 1942

Surprise Birthday Party Ideas

  • Plan a diversion to fool the guest of honor
  • Invite a wide range of people
  • Hire a bartender
  • Serve great food
  • Play great music

I set up my portable bar in the backyard and the guests started arriving about 5pm. The guest of honor was due to arrive at 5:30. He was told they were going to dinner in Beverly Hills. Everyone got into place and the birthday boy arrived right on time and got the surprise of his life. By the way, the guest of honor is a pro football player for the Arizona Cardinals. He was truly touched, and his father was so proud. I served simple mixed drinks to around fifty drinks and everybody had a good time.



February tends to be my slowest month of the year.  So far I only have one event scheduled for this week on Saturday in Mission Hills. Next week I will go to Palm Springs on Friday, and then turn right around to do a birthday party in Redondo Beach on Saturday. March is very busy with several weddings already scheduled all over the place. I will be doing a lot of traveling in March. Please follow us on Instagram.

Shaken Not Stirred Shows up Strong for 2017 Holiday Season

29 Dec

Venice Corporate Event

Shaken Not Stirred had its best holiday season to date and so far in December we have completed 21 events, with two parties still to go. When I first started doing this blog, I would write one blog post for every event I did and that has gotten harder and harder to do as I do multiple events in one week. It has a been a hectic season, and I am a little relieved that it is over, but as far as I know, all of our clients were happy and there were no major problems.


My son bartending in Hollywood

My goal this year for the month of December was that I would save as many dates as possible for repeat customers and referrals. For the most part I did that. I had great repeat customers book parties in Valley Village, Hollywood, Venice, San Clemente, Silver Lake, Van Nuys, Reseda, Santa Monica, and Simi Valley. I didn’t have to travel too far, with San Clemente being the furthest I went during the month of December. I picked up some great new clients in Simi Valley, Hermosa Beach, Santa Clarita, and Moorpark. I am probably forgetting someone, but will remember them later.


Casino themed holiday party 

I had multiple bartenders, including, Tanner, Edie, Matt, Melanie, Thomas, and Will helping me. Some of the bartenders went out and completed gigs on their own and I got great feedback from all of my clients. We literally served thousands of cocktails over the course of the month. We went through gallons and gallons of vodka, whiskey, and tequila. We emptied cases and cases of wine and beer.


Reseda Christmas party

Highlights included the big casino night in Venice, the annual Christmas party in Hollywood for the Better Call Saul production company, the Spacex launch, and numerous wonderful home parties, food, drink, and music. I sampled all kinds of fantastic food, from tacos, prime rib, pork belly, steaks, and many ethnic delicacies.


Venice Christmas Party

This weekend marks the final chapter for Shaken Not Stirred in 2017. Saturday I will drive to Huntington Beach to bartend a 40th birthday party/whiskey tasting. On Sunday, I get to stay in the San Fernando Valley for New Year’s Eve – I will be doing a NYE party in Sherman Oaks. Looking forward to a great New Year and already have several dates booked in January, February, and March.


Simi Valley Christmas Party


SpaceX test over Moorpark

First Three Holiday Parties in December

6 Dec

Vine Street in December

I have 25 holiday parties scheduled so far for December, and still have some open dates available. The Christmas decorations are up and Santa even made an appearance at a December 1, company party. So, far, so good for the first three and only 22 more to go and I’m sure I will pick up more. New Year’s eve is still available and I’m holding off trying to book that, and am waiting to see if one of my repeat customers wants to do a party that night.

Woodland Hills Company Party

An engineering firm in Warner Center had their company Christmas party on December first at their company office. They had an island in the center of the office that worked perfectly as a makeshift bar. I provided glassware rentals. I can get any kind of glassware rentals my clients want. One thing that I have found, is that the guests attending parties don’t really care and are perfectly fine drinking out of plastic cups. It is nice to have real wine glasses on occasion and especially real martini glasses.


Santa sitting on my lap

I made cucumber mint Moscow mules, and cranberry Old Fashioneds for the guests at this party. They hired a taco caterer to come and make tacos, but one thing they didn’t think about is that you can’t make tacos for 40 people inside an enclosed office space. The smoke will set the sprinklers off. They quickly came to a solution and the taco man setup on the roof of the building and brought the finished product down to serve.

Simi Valley Christmas Party

The second of December found me in Simi Valley at the home of a repeat client. They really go all out for Christmas and put up extensive decorations. They have a very nice bar inside their home and it is a pleasure to work from. I served martinis and other holiday themed cocktails to approximately 80 guests. They had a DJ and the hosts and guests danced up a storm. They brought in food from Simi Valley restaurant, Viva La Pasta.


Christmas decorations on Simi Valley home

The host told me they may have another party before the month if over. I still have the 22cnd of the 23rd available. I am booked on Christmas Eve. December is always my busiest month and it usually slows down considerably in January. All the bartending companies will be competing for morsels until the wedding season starts again in March.

Hollywood Holiday Party

Last night I traveled to Hollywood for the third annual company holiday party of a television production company. This company has a hit television series going on its fourth season, so they have much to celebrate. They usually have over two hundred guests so that keeps two bartenders very busy for four hours.


Hollywood company party

Pink Taquiza catered the tacos. My son helped me and we served a Pomegranate Moscow Mule. I premixed a big batch to save time serving and that worked out well. The signature cocktail was a hit and we served out of it by the end of the night. Tomorrow I have a corporate holiday event in Culver City. Friday night I am sending multiple bartenders out to locations in Hermosa Beach, and Silverlake, while I bartend a party in San Clemente. One Saturday I return to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a holiday party, and then on Sunday I go to Manhattan Beach to bartend a party for the Christmas fireworks show. Please follow us on Instagram.


Fontana White Wedding

29 Nov

DJ dancing with kids

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a White Wedding in Fontana. I did much planning with the bride over the past few weeks about the drink menu and the shopping list. This is all a part of my service, and weddings go much smoother when the hosts take advantage of this. Saturday’s wedding went well because it was well planned, and well executed.

The wedding in Fontana was the first “white wedding” I have participated in and the bride requested that I wear all white also. All the guests were dressed in white and the decor was mostly white. This creates a very nice atmosphere, and the bride’s mother said that it represented purity. The bride and groom were of Nigerian heritage, so the customs that apply to that culture were in place.


Guests dressed in white

I served Margaritas and simple mixed drinks to approximately 60 guests. The DJ played a lot of African music and it was a nice departure from the usual played out tunes that are played at almost every wedding. I swear, I do not want to ever hear “YMCA” played again, but I’m sure I will probably hear it again at the next wedding I do.


Bride and groom at white wedding

White Wedding Characteristics

  • Bride and groom dress in white
  • Groomsmen and bridesmaids dress in white
  • Guests and vendors are suggested to dress in white
  • Flowers, linens, and decor in white

I do many events in the Inland Empire and this is the fourth time I have been out there in two months. I like going out to the IE and the people are always super friendly. November is almost over and the busiest month of the year for a bartending service is December. So far I have 22 events scheduled for the month of December, and I’m sure I will pick up a few more. I saved the month for my repeat clients, and most of the jobs I have scheduled are for repeat clients and referrals, which make me feel very good.  New Year’s Eve is still available. Please follow us on Instagram, if you haven’t already.


Guests pose for a picture

Diamond Bar Center Wedding, Part Four

22 Nov

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.


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.



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.