Tag Archives: engagement party

Mobile Bartending a 60th Birthday Party in Long Beach

26 Jul
Shaken Not Stirred in the house

Shaken Not Stirred in the house

Saturday night Shaken Not Stirred mobile bartending service traveled to Long Beach to bartend a 60th birthday party for a repeat customer.  I took another bartender/server with me, and she had worked a previous party at the same location. A year earlier, I had fallen halfway into the pool at a previous party, and many of the guests didn’t let me forget about it. This time, there were nearly 100 guests and my helper and I had our work cut out for us.

The host prepares very well for her guests, and we had quite a well stocked bar to work with. We had five kinds of beer, red and white wine, and a full array of liquor. The host received a Maragaritaville margarita maker as a gift and she wanted to use it at the party. I have used one before, but couldn’t remember how to use it. Luckily, my assistant knows how to read directions and we figured it out. We made blended margaritas, daquiries, and pina colladas with the machine.

Looks intimidating doesn't it?

Looks intimidating doesn’t it?

As the night went on we served many shots, including Patron shots, fireball shots, Jaeger shots, and vodka. A few people “fell” into the pool, but fortunately this time I didn’t.  Falling into the pool becomes an inexpensive proposition when most people are carrying $400 I-phones. It was a pretty fun group of people, and one of the guests may book a party with me next month in Thousand Oaks.

Next week, I will be doing a large wedding in Malibu, then I have a rooftop birthday party scheduled in Marina Dell Rey later in the month, and a wedding in Hesperia. As I said before, the summer is slipping away. I still have some dates available, and always am available on the weekdays and nights to bartend corporate events.

Faster than a speeding bullet

Faster than a speeding bullet

Shaken Not Stirred Mobile Bartending

  • Birthday parties
  • Pool parties, barbecues
  • Anniversaries
  • Corporate events
  • Openings
  • Weddings, engagement parties
  • Quincianeras
  • Cocktail parties

    Shots!

    Shots!

If you have a need for a bartender last minute, don’t hesitate to call me. I am tired today after two events this weekend, but if somebody calls me today, I will go out. Somebody called me yesterday last minute because their bartender cancelled, and I was unable to help her, but sometimes I can, will be happy to do so. Shaken Not Stirred mobile bartending service covers the entire Southern California region.

Porter Ranch Engagement Party and Los Angeles Sip and See

29 Jun
Guests arriving to Porter Ranch engagement party

Guests arriving to Porter Ranch engagement party

This past weekend Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services at two events – the first being an engagement party in Porter Ranch, and then a daytime party in Los Angeles, as new parents celebrated the birth of their daughter.  Summer is here and so is the heat, the backyard parties, pool parties, large wedding and barbecues. Each type of party has its own kinds of challenges.

The engagement party at Porter Ranch was a backyard event that had two bars, and I provided two bartenders to serve 100 guests.  The future bride was of Persian heritage, and engagement parties are a big part of the Persian wedding tradition. I have done several Persian themed engagement parties and they have all been quite large and elaborate affairs.  For this event, I took my long time associate Mia to help me. She is always dependable and always a pro.

We set up two bars from scratch and that is all part of the preparation. The engagement party is structured similar to a wedding, and there is a program where certain things have to happen at certain times. The future bride’s brother acted as the MC of the event and he did an excellent job.  We served lots of Jack Daniels, Bacardi, and Kettle one.  The party went until midnight and the people were still dancing and having a great time as we broke the bars down.

Shots!

Shots!

I had a quick turnaround, because I didn’t get home until after one am, then had to be in mid-city Los Angeles to bartend the “sip and see” Sunday morning. The Cathay neighborhood of Los Angeles near Olympic and Fairfax is where I lived when I first came to LA, over twenty years ago. The nice thing about that neighborhood is that they get a nice ocean breeze, and it is typically 20 degrees cooler than the San Fernando Valley in the summer. The “Sip and See,” was a party organized by the parents so friends and family could see their one month old daughter. They did not have a baby shower, and instead chose to do it this way.

I set up my portable bar on the patio and we served Bloody Marys, Mimosas,  and Ginger Peach Bellinis. We always served  Bellinis for Sunday bruch when I worked at the former Frascati Ristorante in Redondo Beach, so I was quite familiar with them. I made the Bellini mix with ginger syrup and peach puree. All you need to do is pour in champagne.  It was a fun event and many of the guests sat out by the bar socializing. Simple Things of Los Angeles provided the food and I highly recommend it. They had the most amazing breakfast sandwiches and unique finger foods.

Urban garden in Los Angeles

Urban garden in Los Angeles

The Fourth of July is coming up next Saturday and I will be traveling to Orange County to bartend in the community of Villa Park. I am still available for Friday and Sunday parties, if anyone in the Los Angeles or Orange County is interested.

Shots!

Shots!

Santa Clarita Engagement Party

11 May
Live band at the party

Live band at the party

Saturday Night, Shaken Not Stirred was the bartending service on hand at a Santa Clarita engagement party. I have bartended several engagement parties since I started Shaken Not Stirred, but have yet to bartend a wedding of one of the engaged couples. I hope to get to do that with this particular couple, because I had great experience working for them.

They hired a live band for the engagement party and they were very good. I had the card from the band, but now can’t find it. I will get the name and insert a link here as soon as I get it. Live bands really add a lot to any party.

Shots!

Shots!

The future groom likes Old Fashioneds, as did many of his friends. I don’t think I have never made so many Old Fashioneds in one night.  I remember when I first started bartending at a restaurant, somebody would order an Old Fashioned every once in awhile, and I would have to refer to the bartender’s guide to remember how to make them. Now, everybody is drinking Old Fashioneds again because of the show, “Mad Men,” likewise Manhattans, Rob Roys, Tom Collins, are trending again.

At the Santa Clarita engagement party I set up my portable bar in the gazebo of the host’s backyard.  We used Bulleit Rye whiskey for the Old Fashioneds and went through a whole handle of that. I also made Cucumber margaritas, that came in second for the most popular drink. Stone IPA was the most popular beer of the night.

I want to do Hurricanes, Bahama Mamas, and Pisco Sours at some future party. I have a feeling, some tropical party is on the horizon with a Jimmy Buffet theme. I see they are making Margaritaville tequila now, so Jimmy Buffet is getting richer from his trademark. Not bad, for a guy who used to sing for dollar bills on the streets of New Orleans. Good for him. Sammy Hagar is also a tequila mogul.

Future bride and friends

Future bride and friends

I have some fancy cocktail parties coming up in Beverly Hills and Hancock Park later this month, and then a birthday party in Orange County.  I also have a graduation party to bartend in Castaic on the 23rd. I am still available for this weekend, so I wonder where in Southern California Shaken Not Stirred will end up?

Mission Viejo Company Party

9 May
Portable bar setup in Mission Viejo

Portable bar setup in Mission Viejo

Shaken Not Stirred was hired to bartend a Mission Viejo company party last night. The host had the party at her parent’s Mission Viejo home and invited about thirty guests, who were on her team at work. I didn’t realize it until I got there, but I had met the host’s parents at another event and they had recommended me to bartend. That is always nice. I love getting referrals and repeat business.

The host had asked me to bring some pear syrup to make pear martinis, and I did that. Her husband had also made some pear puree, cucumber puree, strawberry puree, and lime puree with a juicer he had. I must say that those fresh purees really added something to the drinks. I made the pear martinis with vodka, pear syrup that I made, and a dash of the fresh pear puree that the host’s husband made. That was the ticket. The fresh lime puree really added something to the Cadillac Margaritas, and Moscow Mules. I am going to look into buying one of those juicers.

Dog guarding the taco stand

Dog guarding the taco stand

I bartend a few parties in Orange County each year. I left the San Fernando Valley two hours ahead of time to drive to Mission Viejo, and realized I had not left early enough. On a Friday afternoon in Los Angeles, it might take two hours just to get to LAX from the Valley.  I ended up being forty minutes late from the agreed upon time. I always give myself at least one hour to set up and prepare, and I often need every bit of my time. Fortunately, the guests arrived about forty minutes late as well, so it worked out. This was my first time being late to a party.

I sold two of my books, “Palm Avenue,” at the party. I was not trying to hawk my book there, but was talking to one of the guests and he was asking me what else I do. I told him about my book and he wanted one. I just happened to have some copies in my car and so I sold him a signed copy. Some other people saw the book and they wanted one too. That was a nice addition to my bartending job there.

Shots!

Shots!

Tonight I will bartend an engagement party at a home in Santa Clarita. I will be making cumber margaritas, Old Fashioneds, and Bay Breezes as specialty drinks. I have a few corporate events in Los Angeles later this month that are repeat business and referrals. It is always nice to get new customers, but it is very nice to get business through word of mouth and referrals.

San Diego Engagement Party

30 Nov
Pretty girls in traditional dresses

Pretty girls in traditional dresses

Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services at an Engagement party in San Diego last night. I book some parties in San Diego, if I feel they are worth traveling that far, and this one definitely was.  This was my first Vietnamese American party and the hosts and guests couldn’t have been nicer. Operating a bartending service in Southern California, I do events for all kinds of ethnic groups, and it is always interesting. I have bartended at Armenian parties, Mexican parties, Russian parties, African American, Italian, and Salvadoran parties.  The language barrier doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

This particular event was an engagement party and it seemed to be done in a traditional way. The women were dressed in their traditional dresses, and the men wore suits. This is a very important part of Vietnamese culture where the two families come together for the first time. The party was held at the family of the future bride, and the family of the future groom all arrived at once. They brought a number of gifts and roasted pig.

I served Long Island Ice teas, Remy Martin cognac, and Heinekens. There were over 100 guests and that will keep one bartender busy. When I serve a drink like the Long Island Ice Tea, I usually make a big batch of it. If you don’t know already the Long Island is a potent drink and contains vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and triple sec, topped of with a bit of sweet and sour and Coke. The funny thing is that it tastes a little bit like iced tea. It will sneak up on you.

Traditional Vietnamese engagement party

Traditional Vietnamese engagement party

Some party crashers showed up and I thought they were neighbors and served them. The hosts did not want them there and told them to leave. They flat out refused to leave and I thought it was going to be an issue. This can get a little dicey in Southern California, since I hear about shootings at neighborhood parties all the time when party crashers are turned away.

The Christmas party season starts in full swing next weekend. I am bartending two parties. I will stay close to home on Friday night and am bartending a birthday party in Studio city. On Saturday I will travel to Yorba Linda in Orange County to serve drinks at the first Christmas party of the season. I some others booked, but still have many dates left available in December. Call me and let’s talk about it.

Shots!

Shots!

Cerritos Sweet 16 Party

16 Nov
Blackjack table at Sweet 16 party

Blackjack table at Sweet 16 party

The Sky Room

The Sky Room

Portable bar on the terrace

Portable bar on the terrace

Saturday night, Shaken Not Stirred was hired to provide bartending service for a Sweet 16 party in the city of Cerritos. This was my first purely non-alcoholic party. The theme, was the “Great Gatsby,” and the décor of the venue was reminiscent of the 1920’2, and many of the guests wore costumes from the era. If I had been thinking, I would have worn my Lloyd the bartender costume. It was a very nice party for a girl’s 16th birthday party and it made me wish I could have done something like that for my daughter.

I came up with a non-alcoholic drink menu for the party that included virgin Pina Colladas, Mai Tais, Shirly Temples, and a mint sparkling lemonade. The Pina Colladas are always popular and I like seeing the looks on the kids face when they taste one for the first time. The Pina Collada is one drink that tastes good without alcohol – the Mai Tai and other drinks, probably not so much.

This was the second party this week where I brought my portable bar and table. The portable bar has served me well and I charge customers only $25 to bring it. It isn’t much, but it works and it is easily portable and I can set it up and break it down quickly. In the future, I hope to have something better that I can transport in my car. The party was held at the Cerritos Library Sky Room and Terrace, which is a very nice venue on the fourth floor of the Cerritos Public Library.

The Sweet 16 party had a caterer, DJ, photo booth, photographer, and blackjack table with dealer as well. The blackjack table was very popular and I got the dealer’s card. I’m sure people would love that at almost any party. There was a group of people gathered around that table the entire night. Pulchini Entertainment provided the blackjack table and dealer and it looks like they do all kinds of other gambling games as well.

I just booked a birthday party in Simi Valley for next weekend and an engagement party in San Diego for the Black Friday weekend. I bartend parties in San Diego occasionally if it is worth my while. I am getting many inquiries for Christmas parties and office parties next month and I think it it is going to be very busy, but so far there are many open dates. New Year’s Eve is also still open, so book your party now.

Palmdale Engagement Party Bartender

19 Oct

Last night I was the party bartender at a Palmdale backyard engagement party. I have worked many backyard engagement parties, weddings, Christenings, and birthday parties that were very nice. The party rental companies come out and set up a tent and all of the tables. For last night’s party I used my portable bar and set up in one corner of the yard next to the photo booth. The DJ sets up in another area, and the caterer in another. I forgot to bring my camera and had to take pictures with my phone that didn’t come out so good, but you get the idea what it looks like.

As a party bartender, I tend to always be loaded for bear – meaning that I prepare for the busiest possible circumstances. The engagement party last night had 125 guests in attendance, and I was bartending by myself, so I had to make sure I had everything I needed at my disposal. Unlike many other parties I have bartended recently, the guests at this event were drinkers and I served out of all of the alcohol and most of the beer by the time I finished at eleven.

To give you an idea, that was three 1.75 bottles of vodka, five 750ml bottles of Ciroc vodka, eight cases of beer, and seven bottles of wine. So, I by myself served hundred of drinks. I had a steady flow of customers coming to the bar for five hours straight. I am not complaining, I like it that way. I enjoy bartending, and going to new places every weekend, and meeting a whole new group of people. One of my customers said it – “Everybody loves a party bartender.” It’s true, I have had mostly positive experiences on every job I have done.

This was the third event I have bartended in the Palmdale/Lancaster, Antelope

Mariachis at Palmdale engagement party

Mariachis at Palmdale engagement party

Portable bar set up

Portable bar set up

Backyard engagement party

Backyard engagement party

Mongols on the loose!

Mongols on the loose!

Valley area. I don’t mid driving out there, but the road at night can be a little dicey. For some reason, and this doesn’t happen often in California, but people like to drive the speed limit in the fast lane on Highway 14. It creates a dangerous situation as cars driving faster try to get around the slow moving cars. Last night I passed on the right hand side four members of the Mongol’s Motorcycle “club” driving in the fast lane. That was a little unnerving.

I had many calls to do Halloween parties next weekend, but I had to turn them down, because I am bartending a wedding in the Inland Empire. I am still available on Friday, October 31 for a Halloween party and will probably get one. Next month I have several birthday parties booked and a corporate event. I was thinking that November might be the lull before the Holiday season. The fact is that Los Angeles and Southern California is home to millions of people, and thousands of them are going to be hiring bartenders on any given month.

Los Angeles Bartending Service Goes Mobile for Three Events

13 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles bartending service went mobile this weekend and did three fantastic events in Encino, Temecula, and San Diego.  This was the second weekend in a row where I have done three events, and I am truly grateful.  I am getting calls from Google searches, which is the reason I write this blog. My Yelp page is also very helpful.

My first event was a surprise 30th birthday party in Encino. The host called me on Wednesday and asked if I was available for Friday. He called from my Yelp profile. I love getting last minute calls and if I am available I will most likely do them. I brought my martini glasses for the party and people drank dirty vodka martinis, Cosmos, and Cucumber martinis. The guest of honor was truly surprised and seemed to be elated by the party her husband arranged. I have said this before, but it is kind of cool to be present at important milestones in people’s lives.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and didn’t get any good

Future brides at Temecula wedding

Future brides at Temecula wedding

Crowded dance floor in Temecula

Crowded dance floor in Temecula

Shots!

Shots!

pictures.

On Saturday I had to drive out to Temecula to do a wedding that I booked months ago. When I booked the job, I didn’t realize that getting to Temecula is quite a journey. I had to transition on about five different freeways. The traffic was very heavy and I arrived right on time. Mia helped me with this one, and as always did a fantastic job. The signature cocktail was the Ciaprioska, which is like the Caipriana, but uses vodka instead of rum. The recipe requires muddling brown sugar with limes and pouring over vodka and ice, and then adding a splash of soda. They provided regular granulated sugar which is not quite the same, but we made it work. We operated two separate bars, inside and outside the house. In the end, I think the bride and groom were very happy.

On Sunday I booked a last minute gig in San Diego. I normally don’t do events in San Diego, but since it is quite close to Temecula I decided to do it. The event was held in a sukkah, which is a traditional tent constructed for the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. I did a presentation and gin tasting for forty men in the sukkah. It was a great experience. I researched the four gins we served, Bombay Sapphire, Old Tom, Hendricks, and Plymouth Navy Strength, and gave a brief presentation on the history of gin.  Everybody seemed to have a great time.  So, this was a weekend where mobile was the key word in mobile Los Angeles bartending service.

Next weekend I go mobile again and am doing an engagement party in Palmdale. I have a wedding to do on the 25th in the Inland Empire, and then a birthday party to do in Palm Springs on November 1. I am still available to do a Halloween party on October 31. I have had calls to do Halloween parties on October 25, but was not available.

 

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.