Tag Archives: El Monte

Private Bartender Attends El Monte Quinceanera

31 Aug

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred, the private bartender service was honored to bartend at his first Quinceanera in El Monte. For some reason I thought I was going to bartend a wedding, but when I got there I discovered it was a Quinceanera. I was scheduled to arrive at four and arrived at 3:45 and there were already probably 100 people there. I panicked and thought that I had mixed up the times, but was informed that I wasn’t. It was hotter than blazes in the San Gabriel Valley and I set up my portable bar under a tent.

I started bartending immediately after setting up and I served Coronas, Modelos, and a variety of mixed drinks. Margaritas were the most popular, and I brought some of my special mix. I made many margaritas with that and then used regular margarita mix after that. I went through several bottles of tequila and served a lot of Jack Daniels. It was hot and we ran out of ice half way through. Somebody ran and got more ice.

I booked another Quinceanera for September on the spot and was given a deposit. That was my one remaining Saturday in September that wasn’t booked, so that worked out well. There were many people at the party that spoke only Spanish, and I know enough Spanish to get by. There were some men there playing guitars and singing. I asked them to play my favorite Spanish song, Cucaruca tu, and they happily obliged. I remember once being in Acapulco at a bar and the guitar player was pissed off because the American kept requesting “La Bamba.” I asked him to sing Cucaruca Cu, and he was so happy – he sang his heart out.

Today I am private bartender to a backyard party in Redondo Beach, a community where I have a lot of history. I was bar manager at Frascati Ristorante on PCH before it closed, and have worked off and on for Le Rive Gauche in Palos Verdes Estates. I am leaving tomorrow for Montana for a week vacation, then have a cocktail party the first day back in Beverly Hills. Autumn is my favorite time of the year and am looking forward to bartending many nice events.

Shots!

Shots!

Pinata at El Monte Quincinera

Pinata at El Monte Quincinera

Mobile Bartender Services Tehacapi Wedding

25 Aug

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles mobile bartender that travels all over Southern California, provided beverage service at a Tehacapi wedding in Kern County. The wedding was held at a new wedding venue at a very picturesque location outside of Tehacapi called the Rose Garden Estate. The weather and scenery couldn’t have been nicer. Once the sun went down, the sky was clearer and the stars were brighter than I have seen them in a long time. It is far enough away from LA for that.

Rose Garden Estate Wedding

Rose Garden Estate Wedding

First Dance

First Dance

Salud!

Salud!

I talked to owner who operates the venue and he said he built the business specifically to do weddings and events, and he also operates it as a bed and breakfast. He has all the tables, dance floor, lights, and almost everything else needed for a wedding right there. I brought my portable bar and set it up as people were rushing around preparing for the ceremony. I hope to bartend more events at that venue.

The ceremony was held outside on the lawn overlooking the valley. The reception and dinner was held in a big building there designed for that purpose. About seventy guests were in attendance. The bride wanted to limit the number of drinks each person had and she did that by issuing four tickets to each person. That way, theoretically each person’s limit would be four drinks. She did not wanting people getting drunk and out of control.

I told her there is almost no way to keep an alcoholic from getting drunk and out of control once they start drinking. They either have their own supply, or they beg other family members for extra tickets, etc. Well, fortunately, nobody seemed to be drunk and out of control. As a certified bartender it is my job to spot people who have had too much and cut them off accordingly. That rarely has to happen – I am happy to report that the vast majority of the people I serve at weddings and other events drink responsibly. There are usually a few that are a problem, but I know how to spot them.

We did run out of alcohol just as the party was ending, but there was a lot of beer left. I help my clients with their shopping lists and I am usually pretty accurate on how much they should by. Next weekend I have two weddings booked – one in Camarillo, and one in El Monte. The wedding season sows no signs of fading out, as I am continuing to book weddings into September, October, and November. The weather in Southern California is so nice, that there is plenty of work for a mobile bartender all year long.

Studio City Backyard Party

17 Aug

Last night I bartended a backyard party that served both as the host’s birthday party, and to celebrate the recent completion of landscaping to the backyard. It was another hot day in the San Fernando Valley and I couldn’t wait for the sun to go down as I set up my portable bar beside the pool. We were expecting around forty guests and I transferred the host’s liquor from his indoor bar to my portable bar by the pool. He had a pretty well staffed bar and we were able to cover almost all bases in the liquor department.

I made a batch of cucumber/mint syrup to try out at this party and it went over well. Several guests requested cucumber margarita over and over again. The cucumber syrup also mixes well with vodka and rum. It is very concentrated and I only put about an ounce of it into each drink. I can’t wait to try other concoctions, like peach, mango, and melon. Somebody else brought jalapeno syrup and I made her favorite drink with that. The second most popular drink of the night was the Malibu Bay Breeze.

The sun finally went down and there was some relief from the heat. Some of the guests brought their swimming trunks and dove into the pool, turning the backyard party into a pool party.  The host requested that I stay an hour longer than my scheduled time and I was glad to do it. I think it is foolish for a bartender to leave when a party is still going strong. I always stay later when requested and am glad to do so. When I schedule a party on a Saturday night, I have no other pressing business.

It was nice staying in my neighborhood doing parties for the last two weeks, but am going on the road again next weekend to do a wedding in Tehachapi. Then I have two more weddings to do the following weekend in Camarillo and El Monte. The wedding season obviously isn’t over because I have other weddings already booked in September and October.

People ask me how far in advance they should book me, and I say if you agree the price is right – do it now. About a week ago somebody was talking to me about a date in November and they said they would get back to me. The next day I booked a party on that same date and took a deposit. I always book with the first person who pays a deposit. Even if a better deal comes my way – I honor my agreements with those people who have paid me a deposit. You can follow me on Twitter here.

Portable bar on Studio City patio

Portable bar on Studio City patio

Guests mingling beside pool

Guests mingling beside pool

After sundown

After sundown

Studio City Wedding at “New York Street”

11 Aug

Saturday Shaken Not Stirred travelled all the way to New York Street

Mia bartending at New York Street

Mia bartending at New York Street

Real New Yorkers!

Real New Yorkers!

New York Street wedding

New York Street wedding

The toast...

The toast…

Shots!

Shots!

at CBS Studios in Studio City to bartend a wedding. It was a party of 200 people and I took another bartender, Mia, who has worked with me several times. This was my first event at the studio and I was nervous – big parties like this have the potential to go wrong in many different ways. My method of combating potential problems is to arrive early.

I did arrive one hour early and the first problem I noticed was that there weren’t enough cups. That was probably my fault because I had made a shopping list for the clients and they just followed it. Luckily, Mia had not arrived yet and was able to pick some more cups up. I recommend that people buy at least four times the number of cups as there are guests. Yes, a lot go to waste, but I don’t know how to remedy that.

The second problem was that the ice had not yet arrived when guests started arriving for the cocktail hour before dinner. People were waiting for 20 minutes before we had ice. This has happened at several weddings. I guess it’s just one of those details that slips through the cracks. Once the ice arrived, everything else went smoothly.

The host had chosen a speciality cocktail, the Cucumber Margarita. I volunteered to make the cucumber syrup, although I had never made it before. It turned out great! I made a gallon of it and it is very concentrated. I used fresh lemon/lime juice to mix with it. The cumber taste comes through loud and clear. It mixes well with vodka and tequila and I made myself a non-alcoholic drink with the syrup, lemon/lime and soda water that was really good.  Wow, I’m now a real “mixologist” though I hate that term and think it is pretentious.

The wedding was a really nice affair and the weather couldn’t have been nicer. We ran out of beer an hour before the party ended, but still had plenty of vodka and tequila left. This was a nearly eight hour party, and I guess I didn’t take into consideration it was two or three hours longer than most parties when I made the shopping list.  Next weekend, I have a birthday party in Studio City, and then I have three more weddings later this month in Tehachapi, Camarillo, and El Monte.

Hollywood Engagement Party and Stevenson Ranch Cocktail Party

6 Apr

April 5th was a busy day for Shaken Not Stirred. We had an engagement party in Hollywood, which was the second in a two part series, as we did the first one in Chatsworth awhile back. Two twins are going to be married and I was a glad to be a part of both of their engagement parties, and hopefully will be present at their weddings. Both of the girls, their finances, and their parents couldn’t be nicer people.

I brought two servers and a barback with me to the engagement party. The servers were there to just make sure plates and cups and bottles were kept cleaned up. They had a pizza truck come with a portable woodfired oven and make pizzas. I didn’t get the company’s name, but will try to get it and ad it later.  There were about 85 people at the party and it went on until 2:00 am. I served pink grapefruit martinis, cosmos, and margaritas. Coronas and St. Archer were the beers of choice.

Meanwhile, at Stevenson Ranch, I had another bartender, Jessica on the scene to do a cocktail party. I double booked that date but everything turned out great. I don’t know a lot of the details, but I guess there were a lot of kids at the party, and Jessica made a selection of virgin drinks for them. She is a very dependable and competent bartender. Dependability is 90 percent in this business. I have never cancelled or been late to an event, and in fact it is my policy to arrive ½ hour early to set up at no extra charge.

Next weekend I am doing a birthday party in El Monte, then another birthday party on Thursday in Woodland hills. I have a big wedding in Valencia later this month and am taking extra staff with me on that one. I have some dates booked in May and am doing a wedding in Fillmore, where I have never gone before. I have other dates booked in June, and as far out as September, but so far July is wide open and I hope to start filling that month up. I would like to do some reunions and pool parties and a Forth of July party

Back yard engagement party bar

Back yard engagement party bar

My crew in Hollywood

My crew in Hollywood

Hollywood engagement party heating up

Hollywood engagement party heating up

. It’s going to be a hot summer! You can now follow me on Twitter.

La Canada 40th Birthday Party

30 Mar

A person’s 40th birthday is an important milestone and certainly a cause for a huge celebration. I was a part of an epic celebration last night at an estate in La Canada. The property, as you can see in the pictures is made for throwing big parties. There was a brand new outside wet bar and another very nice formal bar inside the house, where I was stationed as the special martini bartender.

I was hired kind of last minute for this event and they also hired three additional bartenders for the outside bar. I was there just to make martinis. I had real martini glasses, which is always nice and I probably made over 100 martinis throughout the night. I made dirty martinis, Cosmopolitans, Lemon Drops, Gimlets, and margaritas. I went through five large bottles of Grey Goose. I was shaking all night long, which reminded me of my days at Frascati Ristorante in Redondo Beach.

Backyard before  the action started

Backyard before the action started

Inside "Martini" bar

Inside “Martini” bar

A great party atmosphere!

A great party atmosphere!

Street in La Canada outside event

Street in La Canada outside event

This is the kind of bartending I love to do.

There were supposed to be 200 people at the party and I think there were at least that many there. They had a dance floor set up in the back of the yard and at one point I walked outside and it was raging. The caterer put out a spread of traditional Armenian food and it was excellent. I finally had a chance to eat at around one AM. Celebrating Life by Dona coordinated the event and I hope to work with them again.

After one AM they released the outside bartenders and they had me stay on as the closing bartender. I was irritated by the condition the other bartenders left the outside bar. It was a total mess. They left all of the caps off of the liquor bottles and the mixers and I couldn’t find them. So, the mixers will probably have to be poured out, and what do you do with liquor bottles left half full with no caps on them? This is a sloppy, greedy attitude that is prevalent among many bartenders. They just want to make as much money as possible and split on the minute they were supposed to work until. I won’t have any bartenders working for me that are like that.

Next weekend I have a big engagement party scheduled in West Hollywood where I am taking a crew of three extra people. I am booked every Saturday in April and have a wedding in Valencia, and birthday parties in El Monte and Woodland Hills. I have also booked some gigs as far away as next October. Book your parties now – put down a 20 percent deposit and the day is yours.