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.
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.
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.
Shaken Not Stirred provided bar service for two big events last week – a 50th birthday cocktail party, and a wedding at the Reptacular Ranch. On Friday I went to the Carthay Circle neighborhood of Los Angeles, which is south of Hollywood and bartended for a two hour cocktail party to celebrate the host’s 50th birthday. Then, on Saturday, I drove up into the mountains above Sylmar to the Reptacular Ranch to bartend a wedding (my second time at the venue).
I always like doing intimate cocktail parties and the hosts and guests usually like having me. The hosts like having a bartender because they can enjoy themselves and not have to make the drinks. The guests like it because they can get a variety of professionally made drinks. For this party I set up my portable bar in the kitchen and served drinks to five couple before they departed for a nice dinner in West Hollywood.
I served Moscow Mules, Margaritas, and Lemon Drops made with fresh lemons from my backyard lemon tree. Unfortunately, I think I used the last of the good lemons from the tree, and most that are left are over ripe. I created a new Elderberry Lemon drop using a dash of St. Germain, agave nectar, and fresh lemon juice, with a sugar rim. The guests had a couple of cocktails and left for dinner. Everyone was happy.
Reptacular Ranch Weddings
Petting zoo with exotic animals
Rustic secluded location
Bar with refrigerators
“Honey Wagon” style restrooms
Beautiful area for ceremony
Saturday was my second time working at the Reptacular Ranch. The first time was back in August and it was literally 110 degrees up there. All the ice melted within 2 hours, and I had to drive down to Sylmar and pick up more. They have since made improvements and have refrigerators and a ice cooler near their newly renovated bar area. They also have a very nice new area with seating for ceremonies. For this wedding, the groom works for an ice company, and the weather was unseasonably cool, so we did not have to worry about ice.
This coming week I have a cocktail party in Los Angeles on Friday night, a Summer Solstice party in Studio City on Saturday night, and then a birthday party in Beverly Hills, and a graduation party in Seal Beach on Sunday. That’s is the kind of week I like. Please follow us on Instagram.
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.
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.
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.
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
Los Angeles bartender for hire Shaken Not Stirred provided bar service at three big Los Angeles parties during the transition period into 2017. I served literally thousands of drinks over the three day period and met hundreds of new people.
Sherman Oaks Surprise Birthday Party
Friday I didn’t have to travel far to bartend a 50th surprise birthday party in Sherman Oaks. It was a potentially cold and rainy night and the rain threatened to ruin the backyard party, but luckily it only sprinkled a bit during the party. The birthday girl was genuinely surprised. I served margaritas and apple martinis to 50 or so guests. They had a taco cart on hand and I’m sorry I can’t find the guys card or I would have included him here, but he served great tacos.
The host commented that this was probably a boring party for me, because they weren’t really a hard drinking crowd. I didn’t mind at all because I knew I was going to work my ass off at the New Year’s Eve party the following night and that turned out to be true. The Sherman Oaks surprise birthday party was a perfect warm up for the whole weekend, and I was very happy to do it.
Downtown LA New Year’s Eve Party
The NYE bash that I bartended was held in a warehouse in a gritty section of downton Los Angeles close to Skid Row. I drove through Skid Row on my way to the location and it was raining. The conditions are beyond deplorable down there, and it is hard to believe places like that exist in the USA. I pulled up in front of the warehouse early and there was nobody around. I was curious as to what kind of setup there would be there. It just looked like a produce warehouse on the outside. Finally someone showed up and opened the big doors and I could see curtains hanging inside the warehouse and tables. A taco cart vendor, Tacos Estilo Michoacan, arrived about the same time and started setting up outside.
I went in a started setting up. They had cases and cases of beer, several handles of vodka, tequila, Jameson, Jack Daniels, and cases and cases of mixers. Shortly, the other bartender, aubrey arrived and it was my first time working with her. We spent two hours setting up and it took us all of that to get ready for 150 guests to arrive.
People started filtering in and soon we were hit with waves and waves of people. We handled it well, and the only mishap of the evening was when a patron bumped into the bar and knocked over several full bottles of liquor. They shattered all over the floor and flooded the back of the bar with booze and broken glass. I scrambled to clean the mess up and was careful not to cut myself and the shards of broken bottles. We got through it, and continued pouring drinks until two in the morning. Santiago y su Groupo, a sixteen piece latin band provided live music and they were fantastic. The taco cart operated until 1am and I had a second helping of tacos around that time, which really hit the spot. We cleaned up the bar area and were out of there by 2:30 am in 2017.
Bartender for Hire in Los Angeles
Provides portable bar if needed
Knows how to make a myriad of cocktails
Helps provide a drink menu and shopping list
Can provide multiple bartenders
Is ABC certified
Pre Rose Bowl/50th Birthday Party in Manhattan Beach
On Sunday, the Los angeles bartender for hire (me) went to Manhatten Beach to bartend a 50th birthday party/ Pre Rose Bowl party in Manhattan Beach. The birthday girl happened to be an alumni of Penn State, and Penn State happens to be playing against USC in the Rose Bowl this year. She had invited many Penn State alumni who have traveled here for the Rose Bowl. They were in town to party.
This party turned into a rager. DJ Logik provided the tunes, and people were break dancing and singing out loud at the top of their lungs. I was hustling, serving close to 100 people by myself. I served my spicy jalapeno margarita, which was once again, a hit. I heard one woman say, “These margaritas are so much better than the ones we had last night,” which made me feel good. Soho Taco served the food, and I have worked with them before at other events. January looks pretty light so far for Shaken Not Stirred. I have events scheduled for Redondo Beach and San Marcos later this month, and I am sure I will pick up some more business before it is all over. January is generally a slow month as people are all partied out after the holiday season. There will likely be a few corporate events and birthday parties. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.
Saturday Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Palm Springs to bartend a 50th birthday party at the fabulous Charles Farrell Estate. This was the second or third 50th birthday party I have served alcohol at in the Palm Springs area, and I must say – when a man turns 50 he pulls out all of the stops. Saturday’s party was a marathon event that last over 12 hours, and featured pools, hot tubs, taco carts, BIG SCREEN TV’s, a Sushi Chef, and fresh squeezed grapefruit drinks.
The weather couldn’t have been better and was in the eighties daytime, and cooled down nicely when the sun went down. It is a hard to plan parties in SoCal in February with El Nino looming, but that wild child made no appearance last weekend. People were walking around in swim suits no problemo. I had my bar set up in a nice shady spot just off to the side of the patio and didn’t have to fight the sun all day.
The best surprise find of the day was the grapefruit trees on the property. There were several grapefruit trees just loaded with fresh grapefruits. I squeezed one of them and it was just perfect – not bitter and so sweet even. I drank mine with club soda and it was fantastic. It mixed well with vodka, tequila, and rum. Just add a splash of soda. Excellente!
The Charles Farrell Estate
Pool and Hot tub
Formal dining room
Sleeps 16 plus
The Charles Farrell Estate is one of the several great properties available to rent in Palm Springs. I have bartended at several of the famous houses in the area, including the Cree estate in Cathedral City, and the Henry Mancini Estate in Palm Springs. The prices are surprising affordable compared to many other types of venues.
The guest of honor was certainly honored, and his wonderful wife did her best to make it a memorable and special day for him. He was also surrounded by some of his oldest friends, and many family members. The kids had a blast too. Goodfellas Tacos provided the taco cart. Fantastic sushi was done by Fresh Sushi Catering.
Sunday I had to get up early to rush over to Glendora to bartend a blowout Super Bowl Party.
Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles event bartender service, finished the month of November with two big events. The first event was a Monday cocktail party at a luxurious apartment on the 15th floor of a Wilshire Boulevard high rise in Westwood. The second event of the week was a 50th birthday party held at a very nice HOA community building at a housing development in Valencia.
An event bartender has many different types of jobs, and I have experience doing all kinds of different parties, in all kinds of situations. The cocktail party in Westwood, was more about being a waiter than mixing drinks. The event was held in a stunning apartment full of amazing artwork, with a 180 degree view of West LA, Century City, the Pacific Ocean and Catalina. There were only 12 guests and my job was to keep their drinks full, mostly wine, hand out appetizers and clean up. Invisible service is called for in these situations. Some clients want the bartender to be the entertainment, and this was not one of those situations. The host asked me if I could also be a waiter at dinner parties, and I told him I can, because I have many years of fine dining experience. Some event bartenders don’t want to do food serving gigs, but I will do them, especially on weekdays.
Duties of an Event Bartender
Help host plan drink menu and shopping list
Prepare garnishes, special mixers, etc.
Setup and maintain bar
Keep drinks iced and at proper temperatures
Suggest drinks for guests
Continuous cleanup of bar and surrounding areas
Leave bar area as it was before
By Wednesday of last week I had nothing scheduled for Saturday night after Thanksgiving, but picked a party up Thursday morning. I spent Thanksgiving with family in Bakersfield, and then returned to Los Angeles to bartend the Saturday night party in Valencia. The host did not consult with me at all about a shopping list and drink menu, so I showed up not knowing really anything about the party or what they wanted to serve.
I set up my portable bar and saw what they had to serve and acted accordingly. They had rum and Pina Collada mix, and tequila with various margarita mixes. So, it was a blended drink night. I had my blender and made many blended drinks for the 50th birthday party. It was not a hard drinking crowd, but I think a good time was had by all.
This week starts off the December season of holiday parties. On Thursday I will bartend for a good repeat client at their office in Rancho Mirage. On Saturday I will bartend a holiday party close to home in Valley Village, which is also a repeat customer. I have many more holiday parties scheduled and during one week of December have five in a row. I do still have some dates open, so please call me if you need a bartender.
Saturday night, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Newport Beach to bartend a 50th birthday party. This was my third party I have done in Newport Beach, and I am becoming familiar with the area. The birthday boy’s wife hired me and arranged the party. She wanted real glassware and I supplied white and red wine glasses, and beer glasses. I can provide most glassware rentals for $1 a glass.
I have done several 50th birthday parties. It is obviously an important milestone. I have said this before, any man or woman who has family throw a birthday party for them is truly blessed. This particular gentleman was very blessed and had a large nice group of friends and family surrounding him, and he was fortunate enough to have a great Orange County home to throw the party at.
I arrived early and set up my portable bar and table in the backyard. The host was serving Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Heineken, Blue moon, and Corona. They didn’t have much for soft drinks, and I was only serving iced tea and water. Many of the kids were upset that there was no soda. I understand that many people believe soda is a horrible thing, but I usually stress to people when I consult with them to have more non alcoholic drink choices. Some lemonade, cranberry juice, or something. They had nine different choices of alcoholic drinks available, and only 2 choices for non alcoholic drinks.
It is nice working with real glassware, but there is always breakage. I dropped one wine glass, and then had to stop service and clean that up. This is also why I don’t recommend anyone use real glassware in a pool area. If a glass breaks and broken glass gets into the pool it becomes a real problem. Especially now, while the drought is going on. People cannot drain their pools and refill them, even if they want to. Also, when using real glassware, it is important to have some disposable cups on hand to use when we run out of real glasses.
I got this job at the last minute; otherwise I would have had no event this weekend. I have two bartending events next weekend – one in downtown Los Angeles, and one in West Hollywood. Then I have events coming up in Desert Hot Springs, Temecula, Northridge, Coachella, and close to home in Sherman Oaks. I will be aggressively seeking to fill any open slots in the coming months. I had some very good news this week – I was notified by Thumbtack that I had been chosen as the #1 Bar Caterer in Los Angeles for 2015. I credit that to my habit of showing up early and trying to be of maximum service at all events I do. Also, I quickly respond to all correspondence from my clients. Being a good bar caterer is not brain surgery, but requires common sense.
Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled across the San Fernando Valley to Northridge to bartend a 60th birthday party. I have bartended almost every landmark birthday party, from the 40th, the 50th, to 21st. I was the bartender at a lady’s 90th birthday party. Her daughter hosted the party and hired a Hawaiian trio to play music and the birthday girl couldn’t have been happier. Last night, the birthday celebrant’s husband threw the 60th birthday party for his wife and the theme was back to the 60’s. Everyone dressed as either the mod, the square, or the hippie. The host spent all afternoon painstakingly putting together a playlist from the 60’s and 70’s.
I had corresponding specialty drinks the mod was the Belvedere martini, with a twist or an olive. The square was the Old Fashioned, and the hippie was the Dark and Stormy. I made the Dark and Stormy with the finest ingredients: Gosling’s Black Seal rum, with Gosling’s Ginger Beer, a dash of bitters, and fresh squeezed lime juice. I never had that drink when I was drinking and it certainly looks interesting. It was a hit at the Northridge party.
The host had contracted me to make a shopping list and then do the shopping. That is a service I provide for an extra fee. Many times the people who hire me don’t have time to do the shopping themselves. This time I bought all of the liquor and wine on the Bevmo website. It was great, because when I went in to pick it up it was all ready and they had a specific person in charge of internet orders take care of me. I was in and out of there within five minutes. I buy everything else at Smart and Final, which has the best deals on cups, sodas, and everything else.
The party was a success, and I hope that they hire me again. February was kind of slow for me, but I have several events lined up this month. I have five events scheduled in Palm Springs in March, and all on weekdays, so I still have two Saturdays open. Next Friday I am doing a wedding rehearsal in Palm Springs, and then have a birthday party to bartend on Saturday night in Wilmington, in the South Bay.
I have other news that I want to share with my readers here. Last week I launched my first novel, Palm Avenue, and here is the blog for that, with a link to Facebook page. I am giving free books away for certain milestones on the Facebook page. Here is the link to buy the paperback book on Amazon. The ebook version will be available in near future.
The day before Labor Day I bartended a 50th birthday/End of Summer party at a home in Redondo Beach. The house was on the hill almost on the border of Palos Verdes Estates, where there is one of the most fantastic views of the South Bay and the Santa Monica Bay. As I have mentioned before, I have a lot of history in this area. There were about 40 guests at this backyard party and they had tables set up in the yard, along with a taco cart, and stage for a live band.
One of the guests brought her Margaritaville brand margarita mixer and premade margarita mix that already had the tequila added. That made it easy for me. She showed me how to operate the machine, and I made many pitchers of blended margaritas. I walked through the crowd and refilled margaritas, as the crowd and band warmed up. I also served Coronas, red wine, and made a few Blue Hawaiians, and Sea Breezes. The South Bay weather was perfect as it always is.
As the sun went down and the band got into full swing, many of the guests got out on the dance floor. I even saw an elderly lady in a wheel chair roll up to the dance floor and then get up and dance. I admired her tenacity. She refuses to quit living. What is everyone else’s excuse? The host told me that most of the people at the party didn’t know each other, but everyone was getting along great. Good food, good drinks, and excellent atmosphere make for a great party. I have done many 50th birthday parties and it really is an important milestone in anyone’s life.
The South Bay is my favorite area in the Los Angeles basin, and I know there must be hundreds of people needing bartenders for all kinds of parties and events. I love going down there and hope to do many more birthday parties, weddings, fundraisers and other events. I am late writing this blog because I went to Montana on Labor Day and stayed for a week. It was a nice escape for a week, and now it is back to business. I had a cocktail party scheduled in Beverly Hills the first day back, and then have a wedding in Westlake Village this coming Saturday.
It was another busy week for Shaken Not Stirred as we did corporate events in downtown LA on Thursday and Friday, and then traveled to Palm Springs on Saturday. In addition, a former client in Beverly Hills need someone on Friday night and I sent one of my other bartenders. Everything turned out very well, and I believe we have some more satisfied clients.
in downtown Los Angeles as they had one of their quarterly sales events that attract hundreds of buyers. We set up stations in the morning to serve Mimosas, and then again in the afternoon to serve wine. People look at the mimosa station and roll their eyes – “This early?” they say, but we ended up serving all of the champagne budgeted. This kind of bartending is so easy, that it is almost embarrassing, yet however one of the bartenders pre-opened every single bottle of wine at his station, and much of that wine had to be poured out. That is something that comes with experience – you pre open a few only. Wine goes bad quickly once it is opened.
The Palm Springs event was a 50th birthday party and went from 1pm until 10pm. I made dirty martinis, cosmos, bay breeze, and many margaritas. I make good margaritas and I always add fresh squeezed lime juice to them with a salt rim. There was a lime tree in the backyard, so I had no shortage of limes. There was also a grapefruit tree and I made Salty Dog martinis with the fresh grapefruits.
This birthday party was one of the most memorable I’ve done. Friends and family members of the birthday celebrant came from all over the country and Canada for the event. They rented a very nice home in Palm Springs just north of downtown. They arranged for two separate tours for the guests to see the movie stars homes in Palm Springs. Crayons of Palm Springs provided the catering and they were fantastic. They had two different types of paninis, heirloom tomatoes, pasta, and other goodies. Their strawberry salad was out of this world, and I was reluctant to try it because I don’t normally like salads with fruit in them. Truly a unique choice in catering and I highly recommend.
The highlight of the evening and it really was an incredible moment, was when the doorbell rang, and in came a troupe of mariachis blasting their trumpets and it was completely unexpected. Some friends of the birthday boy had hired the mariachis as a surprise and they ended up playing for an hour. It really blasted the party into the fourth dimension. Mariachi Jalisco provided the mariachis and their phone number is (760) 333-0991.
Next weekend I will be doing a big event in Encino as a law office throws a big anniversary party and is expecting almost 200 guests.