Tag Archives: barback

Chino Sweet 16 Party and Channel Islands 70th Birthday Party

3 Jul
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Tables set up in Chino for Sweet 16 Party

Shaken Not Stirred traveled all over Southern California last weekend and provided bartending service for two important milestone birthdays. On Friday I drove to Chino to bartend for a sweet 16 birthday party, and then on Saturday I drove the opposite direction to bartend a 70th birthday party at Channel Islands Harbor. I had another bartender do an event in Villa Park as well. It was the start of the Fourth of July weekend and traffic in Socal was a bear.

The host in Chino rented tables and chairs and set up for over 100 people in the backyard of his home. I served alcoholic beverages to approximately 40 guests, and there were about 60 minors who I served soft drinks to. Johnny Walker Black was the number one drink of choice, and the thing about that is people either drink it on the rocks, or with soda. No fancy mixology involved.

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Adults mingle at Sweet 16 Party

The hosts and all of the guests were of Indian heritage and the food served was 100 percent vegetarian. Raul’s Catering of Rialto provided the tacos and burritos and he told me that he specializes in vegetarian food for Indian themed parties. I am not a vegetarian myself, and am reluctant to try vegetarian food, but Raul’s vegetarian chorizo burritos were spicy and excellent. Had he not told me they were vegetarian, I would not have known.

It took me over two hours to drive to Chino, and an hour to drive home. On Saturday, it took two hours to drive to Oxnard as well. Fourth of July weekend is a terrible time to drive anywhere in Southern California. I always leave way early. The party at Channel Islands Harbor was originally going to have 80 guests, and then two weeks before the event, the host bumped it t0 150 guests. I needed to hire an extra bartender, but could not find anyone last minute in Los Angeles, so I turned to Craigslist.

I have had mixed luck hiring people on Craigslist in the past. I usually ask for a picture and resume. I want to see if the people look presentable. I got a few responses, but most of the people can barely write a legible response. They write things like, sup, how much in tips will I make, and they don’t include a picture. One guy wrote a very intelligent response and included a picture, so I hired him over the phone.

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Channel Islands Harbor

On the day of the event, I texted the guy in the morning to confirm he would be there. He responded yes, so I felt I had nothing to worry about. I got to the location at the harbor and started setting up and one half hour before the bar back was supposed to be there, I got a text from him saying he was being pulled over by the police and that he had warrants and was probably going to be arrested. I had to scramble to find somebody else. I asked one of the servers there if she knew anybody and she did! Her brother could do it.

I started serving the guests at 4pm and the replacement barback showed up just in time at 5pm. We did not stop serving drinks for six hours straight. I must have made 600 drinks myself, and thank God the other guy showed up to help me. The party was to celebrate the 70th bithday party of a very revered man and former fire captain of Oxnard, and many of the guests were firemen that worked for him. It was a great event and they had a live band and Polynesian dancers for entertainment, but I was too busy making drinks to even pay attention.

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Guests having a ball at 70th Birthday Party

Tomorrow is Independence Day and I am bartending a party in Rolling Hills, at a home that has excellent views of the San Pedro fireworks show, and the Long Beach fireworks, so I am looking forward to that. Friday I am going to San Diego to do a wedding, and then on Saturday I am doing a wedding at an exotic animal ranch in Sylmar. Please follow me on Instagram.

 

Venice Beach Corporate Event

19 Nov
Corporate event before the madness

Corporate event before the madness

Wednesday Shaken Not Stirred provided bartenders for a large corporate event in Venice Beach. This was the first of many holiday company parties Shaken Not Stirred has contracted to do in the next month and a half. The Venice event required two bartenders and two barbacks to provide service for approximately 300 guests.  ‘

I worked extensively with the company party planner developing a drink menu and shopping list. She wanted Thanksgiving themed cocktails and chose a Cranberry Old Fashioned, an Apple Cider Moscow Mule, and an Apple Pie sparkler as a mocktail. Now, how to serve these moderately complex drinks to 300 people in three hours.

Guests mingle in Venice Beach

Guests mingle in Venice Beach

I normally don’t recommend serving drinks that require any muddling, fresh fruit, or four different ingredients to large crowds. We worked it out. Otto, a veteran Hollywood nightclub bartender was working with me and he showed me how to muddle fruit, sugar, and bitters in masses, so all we had to do was add a spoonful to each Old Fashioned and mix the drink.

Corporate Event Bartenders

  • Company holiday parties
  • Client appreciation
  • Grand Openings
  • Screenings
  • Product launches
  • Conferences

I had my barback putting ice into glasses and booze and then I mixed the drink. I saw the line circulating three or four times throughout the night. Only one bottle of whiskey was left at the end and about a case of wine. My shopping list was pretty accurate for 300 people for three hours.

Off the hook in Venice

Off the hook in Venice

On Saturday I will stay in the San Fernando Valley and bartend a birthday party in Reseda. On Monday I will bartend a cocktail party in Westwood, and then on Thursday I will spend Thanksgiving with my family. I had requests for bartending gigs on Thanksgiving, but I am sorry – I worked too many holidays when I worked in the restaurant industry. This Thanksgiving I will be with family.

Shaken Not Stirred Crew

Shaken Not Stirred Crew

 

Altadena Surprise Party and Bakersfield Wedding

23 Jun
Getting "surprised"

Getting “surprised”

Friday started the weekend in Altadena for Shaken Not Stirred, where I traveled to bartend for a surprise party. The father hired me for his son’s 35th birthday surprise birthday, and it was martini themed party.  Friends and family gathered in the backyard, while the one of the birthday boy’s friends took him out to distract him long enough for us to get ready. I think he was truly surprised and overwhelmed when he did arrive.

I made Manhattans, dirty vodka martinis, gin martinis, and Lemon Drops. I brought my own martini glasses and they had several. It is always a pleasure for me to make martinis and serve them in real glassware. The presentation is just so much nicer. The birthday boy’s father manned the barbeque and made some killer trip tip.

Guests enjoying martinis in Altadena

Guests enjoying martinis in Altadena

For this job, I did all the shopping . It is a service I offer for a fee. I will buy everything you need, including all the alcohol, mixers, cups, straws, napkins and ice. I require an up front deposit for this, plus the service charge. People have trusted me with hundreds of dollars for this and I have never done them wrong. I have an excellent reputation and don’t want to jeopardize it one bit.

Saturday, I traveled to Bakersfield for my second wedding in Kern County. I also did the shopping for this wedding, and spent most of my day Saturday getting all the supplies together for a 100 person wedding. The wedding was held at the Junior League of Bakersfield. It is a historic building in downtown Bakersfield. I set up my portable bar in the corner of the dining room.

I served Mojitos, Margaritas, and various vodka drinks to the guests.  When serving Mojitos to a large crowd like this, I make a large batch, and serve them that way. I also get several drinks ready as the ceremony is taking place, so that when everybody rushes in afterward, I can make the line go fast. It is ideal to have a barback, but I handled the 100 person  Bakersfield wedding by myself just fine.

Junior League of Bakersfield wedding

Junior League of Bakersfield wedding

Everything went pretty well until the last five minutes, when friends and family were cleaning up the dining room. Some drama broke out among some of the guests outside. The bride looked at me and rolled her eyes, “We almost made it without something like that happening. We almost made it,” she said.  It seems that machismo and alcohol don’t always mix. Believe me, nobody knows that better than me. Kevin Rush was the DJ and he helped to diffuse the situation. I can see that he is a true pro and dealing with situations like that, and also did a very good job of DJing and running the wedding program for the night.

This weekend I have an engagement party in Porter Ranch, and then a Fourth of July party coming up in Orange County.  I still have a few dates open in July, so book your parties now.

Shots!

Shots!

North Hollywood MMA Exhibition Event

26 Apr

I did an event yesterday close to home in North Hollywood at a boxing/MMA gym. My client hosted an event to showcase a particular style of stick fighting that is certain to become popular. He contacted me after seeing my Yelp profile, which was my first job via Yelp. I have a couple of Yelp reviews, which I am very appreciative that the people took time to write. People often say that they will write reviews and then they get busy and forget about it. Fortunately, I have no bad reviews – those people always take time to write.

My purpose at this particular event was to serve the people who were invited to event beer and wine. We set up in the parking lot and set up the portable bar and a tent for the appetizers. My client purchased appetizers from Le Pain Quotidien of Larchmont Village, (which I don’t know how to pronounce) that were very classy. I served Heineken, Stella Artois, Bud Light, and Estancia wine. Estancia is a very good wine that you can purchase for about $10 a bottle. We once did a wine tasting with Estancia wines at a restaurant I worked at, and we used it as a house wine.

Portable bar set up in North Hollywood

Portable bar set up in North Hollywood

Appetizer spread from Le Pain Quotidien

Appetizer spread from Le Pain Quotidien

Guests mingling after exhibition

Guests mingling after exhibition

The event was very easy and I assume it was a success for my client, and it was definitely a success for Shaken Not Stirred. Today I am preparing for a wedding in Valencia. The wedding was booked months ago and is finally happening today. I am taking two servers with me. The catering at these events is usually buffet style and self serve, but people want extra servers on hand to clear tables and help with the cake, etc. I will bartend and one of the servers will probably assist me as a barback during the initial drink rush just after the ceremony. My philosophy is to be of maximum service to whoever hires me, so they can enjoy themselves and not worry about the minute details.

I booked a birthday party/Cinco De Mayo next weekend in Sherman Oaks, also close to home. It is very nice driving five or ten minutes to an event, but I love going to Palm Springs, Orange County, the far reaches of Los Angeles County, and Santa Barbara also. I will get the chance later this summer because I have weddings and events booked in all of those places. Later this month I will be bartending a wedding in Fillmore, where I have never been. The cool thing about being a mobile bartender is that I get to go to new places all the time and meet new people. Never a dull moment in the event bartender business!

So far the month of August is still pretty open, so I am going to aggressively try to get some gigs for that month. I have the portable bar now and will make that available for a very reasonable rate. I need some reunions, pool parties, and graduation parties to round out the summer.

 

Woodland Hills 50th Birthday Party

18 Apr

Last night was a rare occasion that I did a  party on a Thursday night – it was the host’s 50th birthday party and his office was closed the following day, Good Friday. A crowd of around fifty people arrived for the backyard event and even though it was Thursday, they partied like it was 1999. The host had set up a makeshift bar in his backyard using two folding tables with table clothes. This works just fine and saves people the expense of renting a bar. The tables just sit a little lower than a normal bar.  I have purchased a portable bar and can provide that for a minimal extra charge.

I consulted with the host about a drink menu and shopping list. He printed out a very nice list with all the wines and beers mentioned and the various drinks. He served some nice wines, including J Lohr Cabernet, and La Crema Chardonnay. Once again, the Cadillac Margarita was the big hit of the night. You just can’t go wrong with those, especially when you use a good tequila. The host was serving Gran Centenario Anejo tequila, which is a very good tequila and won’t break the bank. The tequila that I am also seeing a lot of now that is really good is Casadores Reposado. It is so much smoother than say, Cuervo gold. It really makes a big difference in the drinks.

I had a an assistant with me and she made drinks also. Whenever I bring an extra server, they are trained bartenders too, so they can jump in and help when needed. She made as many Cadillacs as I did. Taqueria El Tapatio

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My barback behind the makeshift bar

The crowd mingling

The crowd mingling

Shaken Not Stirred crew with incognito birthday boy

Shaken Not Stirred crew with incognito birthday boy

of Woodland Hills provided the catering, and they put out some pretty good tacos. Woodland Hills is my old stomping grounds and I have a lot of history in the San Fernando Valley, so it is always nice to go back there.  The host found Shaken Not Served through a Google search, which shows me that this blog is working.

I don’t have anything booked for this Saturday night, which will be the first times in months if I don’t get a last minute gig. Next week I have two events scheduled so far, a North Hollywood event at a local boxing gym very close to my house, and a wedding in Valencia that I am also providing two servers for. Next month, I have events scheduled in Torrance, Filmore, and Palos Verdes. I need more likes on my Facebook Page, and please follow us on Twitter.

 

 

Idyllwild Wedding Turned into an Upland Wedding

22 Jul

Early last week I heard reports of a fire burning out of control near Idyllwild, California. I was scheduled to bartend a wedding on Saturday at the Quiet Creek Inn at Idyllwild Pine Cove. On Wednesday my client emailed me and informed me that the wedding had been moved to the bride’s parent’s house in Upland. I was just happy that the wedding was going to happen and quickly switched my plans. The girl I had hired to help me actually lived in Upland, so she was happy.

I guess the family and friends of the bride and groom came together and scrambled to make the wedding happen on schedule. I must say it was a great save, and if the married couple is this adaptable throughout their marriage, they should do fantastic. The wedding came off well with around 80 guests in Upland on Saturday, July 20th. As the festivities were starting it began raining, making us wonder if the universe was not in line with this wedding, but the rain subsided and the ceremony went on.

My client requested that two specialty drinks be on the menu: the Pink Penny, which consisted of Gin, Rose syrup, peach juice, grapefruit juice, and lemon juice, and the Clementine Fizzy, which was sparkling wine, St. Germaine, peach juice and a dash of lemon juice. Interesting drinks I had never made before and I think they came off well. As a result of having the St. Germaine, which is an Elderflower liqueur, I created two new drinks. The first being what I call a G&G tonic, which is a Gin and tonic with a splash of St. Germaine. The other is a V&G tonic, which is the same thing, except made with vodka. People just loved it!

Beers for the night included Model Especial, and Negro, Hanger Wheat Ale, and Pyramid Hefeweizen. The groom provided several nice bottles of red and white wine but nobody drank any wine – I have found that to be the case on most summer events. We did go through a case of champagne, though. I used probably three cases of Arrowhead water and we were completely out by the end of the night. My suggestion is to buy plenty of water and it may be less expensive and more eco-friendly to buy gallons of water and have the bartender pour it into cups.

Catering was provided by Guerrilla Tacos. I have done many events with taco carts, but I must say these were very unique. He had some of the best salsa I have ever tasted. By the time my barback and I were able to grab something all the meat was gone. The caterer made me some vegetarian tacos that were just excellent, and I don’t have a vegetarian bone in my body. The caterer was also supposed to go to Idyllwild, but changed his plans as well. Everyone was flexible and everything worked out great.

I have had events nearly every weekend this month but don’t have much yet booked for next month, so make your plans for August now. I have not yet done any class reunions this year and would love to do some. Shaken Not Stirred services the entire Southern California area, including the LA Basin, The San Fernando Valley, The Inland Empire, Palm Springs, Ventura County and Santa Barbara to the west.

Fire burning near Idyllwild, California

Fire burning near Idyllwild, California

Need a Bartender for Your Engagement Party?

14 Jun

Tables set up for formal engagement party in Encino

Guests enjoy traditional Persian cuisine at Encino party.

Rob bartending at Encino engagement party.

Recently, I have bartended at two engagement parties in the Los Angeles area. I worked a Mexican American engagement party in Norwalk last month and I worked a Persian American engagement party in Encino two weeks ago. It is nice to see families honoring their children and throwing formal engagement parties for the families to get acquainted before the wedding. Both events where held in back yards and included catering and live entertainment.

The Norwalk engagement party hosted approximately 50 people and featured Mariachis, barbequed goat meat, chicken, and beef. The most popular drink was the Cadillac Margarita with a salt rim, with Jack and Coke coming in second. Corona and Pacifico were the beers of choice. The party wound down at 11 pm and was attended by grand parents, grand children, and everyone in between.  This was a non-formal event, done very nicely and great fun seemed to be had by all.

The Encino event was held in the backyard of the the future bride’s parents. It was a semi formal event catering, white table cloths, and live traditional Persian entertainment. The engagement party had nearly one hundred invitees in attendance. I was hustling bartending for that many people – (I recommend a barback or second bartender for maximum service for parties that large).  The drink of the night was the Pomegranate Cosmo, with Scotch and Soda coming in second. The guests dined on chicken kabobs and rice and enjoyed traditional Persian dancing.  I didn’t leave the party until nearly two AM.

Summer is the season for a myriad of celebrations – including engagement parties, quincineras, weddings, and all kinds of ethnic events. Shaken Not Stirred realizes that LA’s culture is widely diverse and looks forward to serving all kinds of people and cultural events. We also do pool parties, barbeques, corporate parties, grand openings, art shows, screening events, and after parties. Shaken Not Stirred serves the entire LA area including Los Angeles, Orange,Ventura, and Riverside Counties. Please call us at (310) 280-6103 to let us help you plan your next event.