Tag Archives: bartending services

Shaken Not Stirred Wraps up September with Two Events

2 Oct
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New bartender, Siaka behind double portable bars

The end of September ended with a bang for Shaken Not Stirred as we provided bartending service for two big events. Friday night we returned to Culver City to bartend an end of summer party for a successful tech company. It was the second event I have done there. Then on Saturday, I did a 20 year class reunion at a Burbank private high school. It was a great weekend for Shaken Not Stirred.

Culver City Company Party

The event was held in the parking lot of the company headquarters in Culver City. I arrived early and set up my portable bar in the parking lot. I had another new bartender join me. It was my first time working with him, and he did an excellent job. There were over 100 guests, so we kept pretty busy. We had premixed Margaritas, Pimm’s Cup, and sangria in beverage dispensers. That definitely sped the service up.

The employees at these tech companies tend to be younger, and single, so they are ready to party. We served out of margaritas, and went through a lot of beer and wine. At eleven pm somebody in the neighborhood complained about noise, so we had to pack up the bar and move indoors. The company also hired a band and DJ for the event, but I didn’t get their names.

Burbank 20 Year Class Reunion

I did much planning with one of the organizers of the class reunion, and I purchased all of the alcohol and supplies and delivered them to the event. It is a service I offer for a nominal fee to my clients. Unfortunately, I can only offer that service to my Los Angeles clients, because I don’t have a truck, and sometimes have to make two trips.

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20 year class reunion held at the actual school

For this party, I served margaritas, which I also premixed and served from a beverage dispenser. I served out of red wine quickly, and was embarrassed that recommended four bottles. Red wine is not popular at summer parties, but as soon as the weather starts cooling down, it becomes popular. One of the organizers ran out a bought more.

20 year class reunions are fun, because they often awkward at first, but as soon as the guests loosen up with drinks, everyone has a great time. This was a fairly small class with only 90 in their graduating class, and 60 guests showed up. They played songs from 1997, and it just doesn’t seem that long ago, but it was 20 years. I think everybody had a good time.

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Shots!

This coming weekend I will be traveling to Rosamond with another bartender to bartend a 150 guest wedding, and then on Sunday will drive to Orange County to do an event in Villa Park. Later this month I have events scheduled in San Marino, Yucca Valley, Newport Beach, and Highland. Follow us on Instagram if you haven’t done so already.

San Marcos Martini Party

23 Jan
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Portable bar set up in San Marcos home

 

On Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred drove to San Marcos in San Diego County to provide bartending service at an annual martini party. The hosts have put on this annual martini party in January for over ten years. The difference this year is that they hired a bartender. In the past, the guests made their own drinks, but this year they decided to bring a pro in to bartend.

The host provided me with a list of martinis four pages long that the guests could choose from. There were at least twenty different ingredients needed for the various drinks. I don’t usually recommend that people use a drink menu this diverse, mainly to keep costs down. In this case the host had all of the ingredients – many left over from other parties.

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Guest enjoys a “Dirty Martini”

I made lemon drops, appletinis, pom cosmos, dirty martinis, fireball martinis, Key Lime martinis, among others. I am able to do drinks quickly I have never done before if I have the recipe. I think the hosts were happy to have a bartender. It gave them more time to enjoy the party and not worry about restocking the bar. Etc.

Martini Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Use real martini glasses
  • Use fresh ingredients
  • Provide a drink menu
  • Choose a theme

The host had plenty of martini glasses, and it is always nice to work with real glassware. I like to shake the drinks long enough that there is a layer of ice floating on top of the drink. I made a lot of martinis when I was a bartender at an Italian restaurant in Redondo Beach. I tend to believe that good martinis are mostly alcohol, and I like to keep the mixers to a minimum. I think there is nothing worse than a syrupy martini. I think I brought my expertise at making martinis to the martini party in San Marcos. Here is the customer’s review of me on Thumbtack: Best bartender possible!

“Rob was amazing! Guests glasses were never empty. Very professional, polite and conscientious! Would highly recommend him for any event.”

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Guests mingle at martini party

This coming weekend I will be bartending a surprise birthday party in Burbank, and then at the beginning of February I will be doing parties in Palm Springs, Glendora, and Sherman Oaks. I am looking forward to servicing weddings, birthday parties, corporate events, and doing the occasional martini party. I am still available for Super Bowl parties. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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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Villa Park Dinner Party

14 Oct
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Guests mingle for cocktail hour

One of my best clients called me to provide bartending service for a Wednesday night dinner party she and her husband were hosting at their home in Villa Park. Villa Park is a very nice upscale community near the city of Orange in Orange County. The dinner was a business event and 25 guests were invited. I was there to make cocktails before dinner and assist with serving the dinner.

I have said this before, but these clients have the best backyard bar I have ever worked at. It is well stocked with top shelf liquor, and is better equipped than many restaurant bars. It is a real pleasure to work from. I was serving Veuve Clicquot champagne and many of the guests drank that at cocktail hour. It is an exceptional brand of champagne. I made a few cocktails and the catering service, Jillian Fae Chef Services, put out some amazing appetizers, including oysters on the half shell, fresh scallops, and a wonderful spread of cheeses.

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Oysters on the halfshell at Villa Park dinner party

After the cocktail party the guests moved to their tables for a four course dinner. I poured wine and kept the cocktails coming, while a waiter from the catering company started serving the dinner. When I wasn’t busy pouring wine and making drinks, I helped the waiter serve the food and clear the plates. It is something I have quite a bit of experience doing, because I worked in fine dining for years. The chef put out an excellent dinner that included a pear salad, short ribs, and many other goodies.

Dinner Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Find a caterer to go with theme
  • Invite interesting guests

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    No cheap wine served in Villa Park

The dinner party in Villa Park was a big success because it was well planned and executed. Hopefully I will return there many more times. Tomorrow I will travel to Woodland Hills to bartend a birthday party, and then next weekend I am going to Sylmar to make drinks for a 70th surprise birthday party. Call are starting to come in for the holiday season and I booked two repeat holiday parties in November yesterday. There are still many dates left in December, but they will go fast.

40th Birthday Party at Versailles at Indian Wells

4 Oct
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Beautiful Indian Wells landscape

Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services for a two day 40th birthday party at the fabulous Versailles compound at Indian Wells. The hosts wanted to throw a birthday bash to end all birthday bashes and they wanted to invite 25 of their closest friends for a weekend in the beautiful Coachella Valley. I was there to make the drinks, and I made a bunch of them.

Most of the guests flew in from the San Francisco area, and I guess there are direct flights from San Francisco to Palm Springs on United, American, and Alaska. The host told me that when they were thinking about this party, they wanted to rent a place that was big enough so that all of their friends would have their own room. They would have gone anywhere in the country, but Versailles at Indian wells was one of the few places that could accommodate that. Versailles has 26,000 square feet, 14 bedrooms, and 19 bathrooms.

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Big Chill at Versailles, Indian Wells

The host wanted me to make some craft cocktails for the event. We decided on a spicy Jalapeno/cucumber margarita, a Dalmatian, and cucumber coolers. I made the spicy jalapeno/cucumber margarita mix in advance with all fresh ingredients. I also made a black peppercorn simple syrup for the Dalmatian cocktail, and brought fresh grapefruit juice. The drinks were a hit, and I ran out of the spicy marg mix the first day and had to make another batch the following day.

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Craft Cocktails at Versailles

Versailles Rental Compound Amenities

  • 26,000 square feet, 14 bedrooms, 19 bathrooms
  • Sleeps up to 30 people
  • Large pool, two jacuzzis
  • Tennis court
  • Private 2 acres
  • Detached casitas
  • Game room, media room, formal dining room
  • Inside and outside bars

I think almost anyone would only dream to have a “Big Chill” experience like with 25 of their closest friends at a stunning property like this. I am sure it a was a fantastic 40th birthday party for the host and a memorable experience for his guests. I had a great time bartending for them. I got to know a few of the guests a little bit over the course of the weekend and it was a great experience. The first day they had a taco caterer come in, and then on the second day it was pizza for dinner.

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It’s a Bloody Mary Morning…

This coming weekend is the only weekend in October where I don’t have anything scheduled. I am sure I will pick something up by Saturday. I wouldn’t even mind going back to Palm Springs again. I love going out there this time of the year, and the season is only beginning as the snowbirds start flocking south. .

 

West Covina Baby Shower

19 Sep
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“Mancave” bar

On Saturday Shaken Not Stirred traveled to West Covina to bartend a baby shower. The expectant father has twins on the way and his surrogate mother was also in attendance. Approximately 70 guests showed up and the host put on a quite a party with contests, great food, and he hired me to make the cocktails.

The condo had a very nice home bar set up in one of the bedrooms. The host called it his “mancave,” and it has a foosball table, a poker table, and even an old style video arcave game. 90’s hiphop videos were playing on the television above the bar. The host made a honey vodka lemonade punch which was very popular, and I made a variety of drinks, including Margaritas, Mai Tais, and Appletinis. As the baby shower wrapped up, I handed out Fireball shots to all that wanted them.

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Contestants of baby contest

Baby Shower Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Create a theme
  • Have fun contests
  • Serve great food

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    Guests enjoy entertainment at West Covina baby shower

On Sunday, I returned to a Sherman Oaks house to bartend a pool party. I bartended there a year ago and was asked to return. I made Moscow Mules, Margaritas, and various other drinks for about 80 guests. It was a three hour party and I kept pretty busy. Last year she had a band at her Labor Day party and this year she hired a different band, called “Weekend Celebrity.” They do top 40 hits and a few original songs. They were pretty good and their lead singer is from Ireland and actually won Ireland’s version of “The Voice.”

On Wednesday I will be providing bartending service for a wedding on the Esplanade in Redondo Beach, and then on Saturday will be returning to Villa Park in Orange County to bartend a birthday/pool party. Summer may be over in some parts of the country, but it is still going strong here. The holiday season is just around the corner and I am trying to hold the December dates for my repeat customers. I have one Saturday in December booked so far, December 10th,but all other December dates are open.   

 

Off the Hook Bash in Wilmington

8 Mar
Port of Los Angeles in Wilmington

Port of Los Angeles in Wilmington

Saturday Night, Shaken Not Stirred was contracted to provide bartending services at a party in Wilmington, just adjacent to the docks of the Port of Los Angeles.  This was my first event in Wilmington, and I hope the first of many. Wilmington gets a bad wrap around town as a tough area, but I must say the neighborhood where the party was held was quite charming, and tucked away from the chaos of Los Angeles.  At this particular party four bands performed until two in the morning.

I set up my portable bar in the back yard and was open for business. I served the usual vodka drinks, including Screwdrivers, Cape Cods, Sea Breeze. I also served whiskey drinks, wine and they had a half keg on hand. By the end of the night there was literally nothing left, except for a couple bottles of Riesling.   One guy walked up to me with a half cup full of whisky and coke, and asked if there was anything left. I had a half bottle of red wine open, and he told me to pour it on – on top of the whiskey and coke.

As I was breaking down, the South Bay band, June Holiday was still playing. Gary Dayton Hill of Malibu warmed up the crowd with some country songs, he was followed by South Gate band,  The Night Times played a few numbers, then another band was on, that I didn’t get the name of because I was so busy. A DJ spun a great mix between sets, and I must say the entertainment was top notch all evening. This had to be the most memorable party I have ever done.

Gary Dayton Hill and company perform

Gary Dayton Hill and company perform

I am a very busy mobile bartender this month of March. I have events in Palm Springs, and Brentwood next weekend, and then am returning to Palm Springs again on Monday to do a special event for Torani, the Italian Syrup company.  I am getting some of these events because I have excellent reviews on Thumbtack, Yelp, and Gig Salad.  I have made some mistakes as a party planner and bartender, but have never been late or cancelled a gig, and I have always gotten the job done.

In other news, I will put in a plug for my novel, “Palm Avenue,” and I need some likes on the Facebook page. The 200th person to like the page will receive a free book. The spring party and wedding season is booking up quickly, so I suggest you book your event now.

Hood Rat poses with Dos Once

Hood Rat poses with Dos Once

Scenesters in Wilmington

Scenesters in Wilmington

Party heats up

Party heats up

Good times!

Good times!

Porter Ranch Christening Party

6 Oct

Sunday night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services for the third time in the weekend at a Christening party at a home in Porter Ranch. I never know what to expect when I show up to an event. I have to assume that people are going to drink a lot and I am going to be very busy for seven hours straight and I have to prepare for that. There were over 100 people at this party and I was working by myself, so I had the potential to be very busy. I did have an initial rush of people at the beginning and was steadily busy for awhile, then it dropped off. This was a Sunday party.

People have events and they serve alcohol. Most people drink responsibly and not all parties are huge blow outs, where we have to go for more booze. This was a very mellow event on a Sunday night and I must say was just what I needed to end up a busy weekend. Somebody asked me how my night was going and I said “perfect”. I mean, who can complain when you are listening to good music, seeing and meeting beautiful people who are all dressed up, making money, and eating wonderful food? Not me.

Speaking of food, the meal they served at this party was excellent. I have eaten all kinds of food at all kinds of events and some of it is mediocre. This meal, was catered by the host’s father. He owns an Italian Deli in Thousand Oaks called Benvenuti

Mirrored bar and drink menu at Porter Ranch

Mirrored bar and drink menu at Porter Ranch

Friends and family celebrate

Friends and family celebrate

Shots!

Shots!

. The Chicken Marsala they served at the party was out of this world, it was so tender. They also had lasagna which was very good and pasta salad and veggies. I highly recommend them, if you are having a party anywhere in the San Fernando or Conejo Valleys.

I served a case of Prosecco, and had to pour half of the last bottle out at the end of the night. That is what I call a successful party. We had just enough. The signature drink the host chose in honor of her daughter’s christening was the Madras. Vodka, cranberry juice, and a splash of orange juice. I also served a lot of Johnny Walker Black Label, and Stella Artois beer.

When I’m not busy behind the bar I try to help keep the tables cleared of cups and bottles. This is something I have just been trained to do over the years working at fine dining establishments. The hosts and guests always seem to appreciate that. Next weekend I have a wedding to bartend in Temecula, and am in negotiations to bartend an anniversary party the following weekend in Palmdale. I’m coming up on a year anniversary myself of when I quit my full time job, and I must say I am loving every minute of it.