Tag Archives: dinner party

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.

Private Bartender and Server in Beverly Hills

10 Sep

Last night I was the private bartender and server for a small dinner party at a Beverly Hills Estate. 12 people were in attendance. This was my third event for this particular client. I had done two cocktail parties previously where there were many more people in attendance and I had a bar set up in the backyard. This time, the host wanted me to set up my bar in the kitchen and to just ask guests what they wanted.

There were virtually no drinkers in the crowd, and I served several sparkling waters and a couple glasses of wine. I did make one of my special cucumber martinis for the host and she complimented me on it. I was starting to wonder why I was even there, so I switched into my fine dining server mode. I have worked for years as a server in fine dining restaurants, and I put that experience to use. You serve from the right hand side, pick up from the lefts, etc. You keep water and wine glasses refilled and anticipate the needs of the guests.

My point is that there is so much more to being a private bartender than just making drinks. I have had people ask me to hire them, and then it became clear talking to them, that they only wanted to make drinks a collect tips. That is such a short sighted attitude that many bartenders have. My philosophy is to be of maximum service and chances are I will be asked back time and time again.

Ella Freyinger was the private chef for this dinner party and she served up a great meal. She made an excellent mixed green salad and then served rosemary roasted chicken with cauliflower cous-cous with pomegranate and pine nuts, and then had pasta with kale pesto. An apple tart was the dessert, along with expresso. Ella said she has several private clients and also does catering for parties as big as 500 people. You can contact her at ebelle2385@gmail.com.

This weekend I will bartend a wedding in Westlake Village and am taking my son to help me. I have people contacting me every day to do parties and I am already booked two months in advance. I still have October 18th available and most Fridays and Sundays in October. I still have Friday October 31st available for a Halloween Party. I will dress up as Lloyd the Bartender again and still have the costume.

 

Wine bottles at Beverly  Hills dinner party

Wine bottles at Beverly
Hills dinner party

"I've always been the bartender"

“I’ve always been the bartender”

Beverly Hills Estate

Beverly Hills Estate

Special Price for Cocktail Hour

16 Feb

Rob bartending in Sherman Oaks

Rob bartending in Sherman Oaks

Shaken not Stirred is offering a special price for “cocktail hour”.

For $50, you get a bartender for 2 hours including setup and break down time.

You can host a cocktail hour with a professional bartender before your dinner party, screening, presentation, etc.

Due to distance, this offer is only good for the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica.

This offer is good every day except Saturday.

This is great opportunity for people to try a bartender out and not pay a lot of money. I can help you make a specialty drink menu and shopping list for your cocktail hour.

This will surely impress your guests and free you up to enjoy yourself, while Shaken not Stirred serves your guests and cleans up after them. If you have a home bar, great! If not, we can improvise something.

Here is an interesting article about hiring bartenders – I didn’t say it!

Woodland Hills Cocktail Hour and Dinner Party

16 Feb

A very nice woman called me and asked me if I would like to bartend for one hour at a dinner party in Woodland Hills. Since I did not have anything else scheduled, and since the party was in the San Fernando Valley, I agreed to do the party and forego my minimum charge. Of course, immediately after I took the job, someone else called and wanted me to do a big party in Anaheim the same night, and I had to decline that job.

First of all, we were having some kind of Carmageddon this weekend, so I really didn’t want to leave the valley. I was glad to get the job in Woodland Hills. But secondly, I will never cancel a gig once I have agreed to do it, or shift you off to another bartender because “better deal” comes up. I have seen other bartenders do that, and I think it is really sleazy. I know that because I get calls all the time from people because their original bartender cancelled on them last minute.

Bartenders tend to be greedy. I have seen it over my years in the industry. They are so worried about their tips, the tip jar, and how much money they are going to be paid. They watch the tip jar like a hawk and they give people attitude about tipping. They want to be paid for every minute of their time, and they complain like babies if something doesn’t go their way. I have never taken that attitude and realize that some jobs are better than others. I always make out very well in the long run, and people usually want me back. I don’t want these greedy bartenders working for me.

That being said, I was very happy doing the small ten person party in Woodland Hills. They also hired a harp player, Michelle Whitson Stone to play for an hour to add a nice atmosphere. I made a couple of Cosmos, poured a few glasses of wine, and helped a little bit with the dinner. I was in and out of there within two hours. The hostess, who couldn’t have been nicer, tipped me and that was very nice of her, but I didn’t expect it.

After doing the cocktail hour and having such a good experience, I think I will offer a special on weeknights, including Friday nights to do a cocktail hour. So here it is, $50 for two hours for a cocktail hour bartender, including setup and breakdown. This is for the San Fernando Valley, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywood, and West LA, Monday through Friday.

Formal dinner party setting

Formal dinner party setting

Michelle Witson Stone playing harp

Michelle Witson Stone playing harp

Nice home bar

Nice home bar