Tag Archives: fundraiser

Southern California Event Business is Booming

8 Nov

The Southern California event business is really taking off as the economy heats up. There are actually more events than there are bartenders. When I first started doing this as my own business – the competition was fierce. I had to scrap for every event that I got. Now, it seems there are way more events coming up than there are bartenders to do them. 

I used to write a blog post about every event that I did. Now, I do so many events that it is hard to keep up with the blog posts. Shaken Not Stirred has provided bartending service recently at corporate events in West Hollywood recently, a fundraiser in Mid City LA, a huge Halloween party in San Bernardino, and a very nice wedding in Coachella. I will recap the bigger events here.

San Bernardino Halloween Party

Saturday, October 28th was probably the biggest party night of the whole year in Southern California. I had so many requests for Halloween parties, but this one I booked months in advance. The hosts of this party do it up big. They literally spend months decorating their workshop into a Halloween extravaganza. Guests come in from all over the country to attend.

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Shots!

This was the first year that the host hired professional bartenders, and I think he was quite pleased with us. We served all kinds of drinks and shots and managed the liquor inventory. Guests self served themselves beer and frozen margaritas, but we kept busy from 9pm until 4:30 am. Great party and I hope we are asked to return next year.

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Fellow bartender, Thomas

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More shots

Mid City LA Fundraiser

I was referred to the hosts of this event from another client, which is always nice. They wanted me to purchase all of the alcohol, and that is a service I provide in some cases. They were expecting 125 guests, so I recommended they have two bartenders, and I made a list of alcohol and supplies they would need.

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Live music at Gallery 38

The event was held at Gallery 38 on West Adams Boulevard, mid city. Gallery 38 is a somewhat small space and will not really accommodate 125 people. So, only about 75 showed up and that was just right. I felt bad that there was so much alcohol left over, but they can use that at another event.

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Friends gather for a drink

The fundraiser was to benefit Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit that helps former gang members transition back into society after serving time in prison. Artists donated art works to the cause and they were on display on the walls of Gallery 38. They also had poetry readings and live music. It was a fantastic event and I was happy to be present for it.

Coachella Wedding

This was my third wedding at the Corona Yacht Club in Coachella. It is a great venue on a secluded ranch just south of the ten freeway. This venue has everything a couple could want for a private wedding. The photo opportunities alone at the venue make it worthwhile.

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The wedding party

For this wedding, they had us set up a bar on the lawn near the ceremony for the cocktail hour. We served beer and wine to the guests for an hour or so, and then moved it to the main bar where we served cocktails for the rest of the night. I hired a bartender local to the area, and he worked out great helping me, and I will be sure to use him again.

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Newly married couple

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shots!

This weekend so far I have an eighties themed party in Studio City, and a birthday party in Porter Ranch scheduled. Please follow us on Instagram.

A Bunch of Events, New Orleans, and Fractured Ribs

27 May
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Famous Maple Leaf Bar, New Orleans

Today is the first day I have felt like sitting at a desk and writing since returning from my trip from New Orleans and recovering from fractured ribs. I visited New Orleans for the first time last week and had an accident falling out of the hotel shower where I fractured my ribs. I returned to LA and have been laid up in severe pain this entire week – I finally feel much better today, but am not 100 percent. Shaken Not Stirred was very busy the week before I left on my trip, and I have even done a couple events since I’ve been back and haven’t written about any of them on this blog.

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Interior, Maple Leaf Bar

The week before I left on my trip I did five big events. I bartended an alumni event in Burbank, did a bris celebration in Studio City, traveled to Indian Wells to bartend a rehearsal dinner for Goodfella’s Tacos, drove back to Castaic to bartend a graduation party, and then on Sunday bartended a Mother’s Day party in Woodland Hills. I left for New Orleans the next morning. That was one of my busiest weeks since I started the company.

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Alumni event, Burbank

I went to New Orleans to attend the wedding of my friend, Jason Ricci. He is one of the best harmonica players in the world today. My accident happened on the day before the wedding. I was able to attend the wedding ceremony, but was in so much pain, had to leave shortly after and missed the big jam session at the famous Maple Leaf Bar where the wedding party was held. I was very disappointed about that. Despite my accident, I loved the city and people of New Orleans, and will return for sure. The food is incredible, and we Yankees could all learn a thing or two about Southern hospitality.

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Indian Wells Rehearsal Dinner 

The flight back was excruciating with broken ribs, and had not the nice lady sitting next to me given me a Vicodin, I can imagine the plane having to land in Nashville or somewhere because I was moaning so much. I returned on Thursday and had two upcoming gigs on Saturday and Sunday that I had no idea how I was going to complete. I could not bend down, turn my body, or lift anything above four pounds without wincing in pain.

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Mariachis perform at Castaic graduation party

I called some other bartenders and tried to get somebody to take my gigs, but could not find anybody on short notice. I decided to get a friend to help me and I could sit on a stool and mix drinks. I will never cancel a gig I have taken a deposit for, and will to the best of my ability get the job done. My friend drove me to Fontana and we got the job done and I bartended a birthday party for 60 people. It was painful, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

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Shots!

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Irvine Graduation Party 

The next day we turned around and drove to Irvine to bartend a graduation party of 100 people. Once again, we got the job done, and I couldn’t have done it without my friend, Steve, who had no previous bartending experience. While we were doing that gig, I had three other bartenders doing a fundraiser event in Beverly Hills, which came off very well I have heard.

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Guests enjoy cigars at Fontana birthday party

I spend all of last week laying around letter my ribs heal. I went to the doctor and got xrays and at least three ribs are fractured. I have several events already scheduled for this month, but am not taking on any new ones until I am completely healed. Tonight I am bartending a birthday party in Santa Monica, and my friend is coming along to help me. Next week I am doing a birthday party close to home in Van Nuys. Hopefully, by next month I will be fully recovered and ready to roll for the summer party and wedding season.

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Injured bartender in Fontana

Three April Events For Los Angeles Bartending Service

26 Apr

Last week, Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles bartending service did three big events throughout Southern California. On Wednesday, I did a corporate event in Burbank, and then on Saturday I did an afternoon martini party in Rancho Cucamonga, and then hustled back to LA to bartend a Silverlake birthday party.

Burbank Corporate Event

Much planning went into putting on the evening event at the Arri location in Burbank. I arranged for a rental bar and glassware to be delivered. The host wanted an LED bar that illuminated the corporate color blue. I had not used that particular bar before, but it was cool. I think the darker the event space is, the better this bar will look.

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Blue LED Bar Rental

I served beer and wine while the camera professionals at Arri demonstrated some of their new cameras and steady cam gear. Rise and Shine Catering provided the food. The host told me that Arri has more events coming up, so I hope they will call me back for those.

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Camera Demos at Burbank Event

Rancho Cucamonga Martini Party

On Saturday I drove out to Rancho Cucamonga to bartend a ladies only martini party. I helped the host make a cute martini menu with sexy and fun drinks. The lady’s husbands were having a cook off and barbecue contest at another house during the same time. I made variations of the Cosmo, Appletini, Lemon drop and others for the ladies. The most popular was the Rasberry Lemon Drop, which I made with fresh lemon juice. D&B’s Brazillian Soul Food provided the catering, and they had some delicious empanandas, chicken wings, and other goodies on hand.

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Sexy Bar Menu

My job ended when the male stripper arrived, and I had to quickly pack up and head back to LA to bartend a Silverlake birthday party. Luckily, the traffic on the 210 cooperated with me. As a Los Angeles bartending service I must navigate a ribbon of freeways and river of never ending traffic.

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Ladies enjoy martinis without husbands

Silverlake 40th Birthday Party

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California Feetwarmers perform in Silverlake

I arrived right on time for the Silverlake 40th birthday party. The house from the street was very unassuming, but they had an incredible backyard that was perfect for entertaining. I set up my portable bar in a corner of the yard, and a full New Orleans jazz band, the California Feetwarmers, set up in another corner. They put on a quite impressive show and was quite different than you usually see in Southern California. Canele’ of Atwater Village provided the catering, including a fantastic selection of appetizers and other goodies.

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Guests mingle in Silverlake backyard

I served Old Fashioneds, Tom Collins and many other drinks to a crowd of fifty or so guests. It was a great party and I’m sure the birthday boy was quite honored.

This coming weekend I will be providing bartending service at an art show/fundraiser at CSUN Northridge and it is my first time going there. I will be pouring beer and wine for 150 people by myself, so I should be busy. Then on Saturday, I will be doing a birthday party in Studio City – so I get to stay close to home in the SFV this weekend. On Cinco De Mayo I will be heading out to Palm Springs to bartend a party,and then back to the 818 on Saturday where I have two events scheduled.

 

LA Mobile Bartending Service Does Five Events

25 Oct
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Uber driver taking me to event

Last week was a very busy week for the LA mobile bartending service, Shaken Not Stirred, with five big events all in the Los Angeles Area. Two of the events were at the same residence in Pacific Palisades, there was a fundraiser in Sherman Oaks on Tuesday, a birthday party in Sylmar on Saturday, and then an open house at a store in Venice on Sunday. I think all of the events went well, but I was not operating at full capacity on three of them, because I think I got food poisoning somewhere along the way.

On Monday I was sitting at home at around 5pm in Van Nuys when I got a call to do a bartending job in Pacific Palisades at 630pm. I told the guy I didn’t think I could make it in time. It was not somebody I had ever worked for before. He said, “Would it help you if I sent a car to come get you?” “Yes, that would help me,” I said. He arranged an Uber and within 15 minutes I in the backseat of a Lexus on my way to Pacific Palisades. I did the job, and they sent me home in a different Uber. I must say that spoiled me a bit. Ironically I had done another event at that same house for a different group of people before.

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“Sucah” in Pacific Palisades

On Tuesday I returned to a house in Sherman Oaks to bartend a fundraiser for the City of Hope Chancellors Club. There were many dignitaries in attendance including the LA County Sheriff, Jim Mcdonnell, many superior court judges, and other political and business leaders from around Los Angeles. The Chancellor’s Club supports the City of Hope in its cancer research and sounds like a very worthwhile cause. I served a lot of wine and a few mixed drinks and the organizers of the event were very happy with me and said they would use me for future events in different parts of the city.

The next day the guy from Pacific Palisades called me again. He offered me another job for Friday night at the same household. He didn’t offer the Uber again and I didn’t ask. It was not last minute. So on Friday I drove out there in my own car (imagine, the horror).  I had time to kill in Santa Monica and was hungry. I was looking for a place to eat on the Third Street Promenade. I finally decided on a place with a nice patio and good guitar player performing on the street nearby. It was pricey and pretentious and I was irritated by the slow service. I am not one to usually complain, being in the service industry myself, so that tells you how bad it was. The food matched the mediocre service. I was thinking about writing a bad Yelp review, and a place has to be terrible before I will do that. Well, I went to do the second event in Pacific Palisades and it quickly became clear that something was wrong. I could barely get through the event, though I don’t think it was apparent to the guests I was serving. When I got home I was having fever and chills. I tossed and turned all night and was nauseous.

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Grandmother and family at 70th birthday party

The next day I felt horrible and knew I had to do a 70th birthday party in Sylmar that night and then have a quick turnaround and be in Venice for the store event in the morning. I tried to take it easy all day Saturday, but I had no appetite. I hoped that I could make it through the two events I had contracted to do. I showed up on time to the event in Sylmar and I pulled it off, though I must admit I was not operating at full capacity. The people that hired me have a catering company and they were so much help to me. They thought I did a great job, but I felt I could have done better. I was miserable operating on almost zero sleep and very little food. I got home at midnight with chills and fever again and set my alarm clock for seven the next morning. I had to be in Venice by nine.

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Band playing at Sylmar birthday party

I made it to Venice on time and with coffee I was able to muster enough energy to pull the final job of the week off. The store Christy Dawn is a specialty vintage inspired dress shop and they were holding a promotion where they had matching dresses for mothers and daughters. I served mimosas and Kombucha. It was a very mellow event which was about all I could handle. The owners were super nice people and they started their business in their garage and are now having great success both online and in their storefront.

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Kombucha – an acquired taste

This weekend is Halloween weekend and the LA mobile bartending service will transition into Orange County to do a Halloween Party in the City of Orange on Saturday night, and then a reunion in Laguna Beach on Sunday. November is looking to be very busy, as there are many corporate weekday events already scheduled.

Eagle Rock 70th Birthday Party

2 May
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Sunset over Eagle Rock

Saturday night Shaken Not Stirred returned to that hilltop Ranchero in Eagle Rock to bartend a 70th birthday party. The ten year milestones are big for birthday celebrations and 70 is certainly a good year to throw a party about. The birthday girl had several children and they were all in attendance at the party.

The host put a lot of work into making the day special for her mother, and spent Friday night setting up the tables, etc. She hired live entertainment for the party and that was provided by Azucar Latin Dance Band (213) 290-1816. They were very good and do all kinds of Latin music from Cumbia, Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue. I talked to the lady that manages the band and she said they also provide Mariachis, and Banda music. This was a very good band and I highly recommend them. The guests and the birthday girl had a great time dancing.

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Guests dance to Azucar Latin Dance Band

70th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Throw a backyard party
  • Hire a Bartender
  • Provide live entertainment
  • Buy a huge cake
  • Honor your elders!

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    Shots!

I served Margaritas, and many other simple drinks. I will be returning to same location next month as the hosts renew their vows in matrimony. I love repeat business, and everybody at Saturday’s party remembered me from when I was there before. The house is on top of a hill in Eagle Rock that overlooks the 2 Freeway. There was a fabulous sunset and you can almost see the lights of downtown LA from there.

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More shots!

This week, I will be doing a fundraiser in Los Angeles on Thursday, and then a birthday party in Burbank on Saturday night. Shaken Not Stirred is now on Instagram , so please follow us for great photos of our events every week.

Mixologist at Encino Party

18 Apr
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Portable bar at Encino property

Shaken Not Stirred was the mixologist  (a must read) in residence at an Encino birthday party Saturday night. I made craft cocktails for a Southern themed party at a beautiful Encino home for approximately 40 guests. The cocktails I made included Cajon Lemonade, a cucumber mint gin julep, and the Kentucky cousin. Craft cocktails are a little more time intensive to make and it works better to serve them for smaller groups like this.

First of all, I hate the term, mixologist. I am using it here because it is a keyword people search for. I can do craft cocktails – it is not brain surgery. I have learned a lot about bartending from some of the clients I have served. One thing that is almost always present in craft cocktails, is 2 parts alcohol, one part sweetening agent, and one part citrus. I learned a new drink, the Pimm’s Cup, from some of the guests at the Encino party.

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Guests mingle at Encino birthday party

Code of the Mixologist

  • Grow a handle bar mustache
  • Wear a pork pie hat
  • Suspenders!
  • Talk about yourself in the third person
  • Equate yourself with nuclear physicists and brain surgeons

Lenny G’s provide the Louisiana style catering. They made up big pots of crawfish, and had other goodies like tritip, corn on the cob, hush puppies, and sweet potatoes. I am embarrassed to admit, but that was the first time I ever tried crawfish. They look very cool, and are like mini lobsters, and taste a lot like that too. Overall, I think the birthday boy, who was 38 had a great time. The Encino property was perfect for having parties, and I hope to return in the future.

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Guests dine on crawfish and goodies from Lenny G’s

Next weekend I am bartending a school fundraiser at a home in Hancock Park on Saturday. So far I have nothing booked for either Friday or Sunday. Have bar, and will travel to anywhere in Southern California. Maybe one day, I will get some more tattoos and a nose ring and become a real Los Angeles mixologist.

 

Greek Night at Huffington Center

19 Jan
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The Huffington Center in Los Angeles

Shaken Not Stirred bartending service was on hand for the second annual Greek Night at the Huffington Center in Los Angeles hosted by the Sons of Pericles.  I bartended the event last year and was very pleased that they called me back again. The event was held at the Huffington Center, which is connected to the St. Sofia Cathedral near downtown Los Angeles.

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Traditional Greek dance

I panicked a little when I showed up, because the parking lot was full and people were overflowing from a party already in progress in the banquet room where last year’s event was held. I walked inside and there was another bartending company with two bartenders busy making drinks for the party.  I wondered if I had the date wrong and immediately called my contact. He informed me that we would be doing the party in a different room.  They were having a wedding in the large banquet room.  The Huffington Center is World Class facility and has basketball courts, a theatre donated by Tom Hanks and his wife, banquet facilities, and a professional kitchen.

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Keeping the tradition alive

They were using the facility’s only portable bar for the wedding, so luckily I had my portable bar in the car. I always carry it for that reason. I can set up my portable bar in a matter of minutes and be ready to go. The host was worried that they would run out of booze, but I assured them that they had plenty for 100 guests. The event was a fundraiser, and the guests had to buy tickets for drinks.

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Friends unite in Los Angeles

I made standard mixed drinks for the party, including screwdrivers, Cuba Libres, Jack and Coke, and Cape Cods. Last year we had Ouzo which was quite popular. The Sons of Pericles is a fraternal organization connected to the Greek Orthodox church, and this event was represented by chapters all over the United States and even Canada. I talked to guests from Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, and Canada. A very nice group of people and they keep up their cultural traditions with traditional Greek music and dancing.

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Shots!

This weekend I will travel to Fullerton in Orange County to bartend a baby shower. I have done a few of these and usually serve a lot of champagne. I have received many inquiries for weddings in the spring, and have booked a few of them as far away as August. Next month I will travel to Palm Springs to bartend a birthday party and then am bartending a repeat super Bowl party in Glendora.

60th Birthday Party in Chula Vista

6 Jan
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Otay Ranch Community Clubhouse

In my previous blog I predicted I would be doing some traveling in January and that came true quickly as I drove almost tot Mexican border to bartend a 60th birthday party in Chula Vista. It was a last minute call on Sunday and I was happy to do it. I don’t do many parties in the San Diego area, but this month may be slim, so I jumped at it.

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US/Mexico Border

The party was held at a very nice community club house in the Otay Ranch community in Chula Vista. You can literally see the US/Mexico border from that area. One thing that strikes me is the high mountains that dive the two countries on some areas of the border. I can see how crossing the border on foot is a very treacherous proposition.

I brought my portable bar and set it up inside the clubhouse. I helped the hosts set up tables and chairs, as they only had one hour to set up. The DJ set up his equipment in the balcony area, which worked perfectly. The caterer set up in the kitchen area.  We all had a job to do and we were all pros, so we know exactly what to do.

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Guests dancing in Chula Vista

The hosts had never hired a bartender before, so they didn’t know quite what to expect. They bought all the beverages and supplies without any consultation from me, so they did what most people do – they bought way too much of some things and not enough of others. This is where a professional bartender can really save you some money, by consulting about the shopping list. I have done enough parties that I can estimate pretty accurately how much to buy.

Once the music got going and everybody had a couple of drinks, the party got going. The birthday girl must have danced every dance. It turned out to be a very nice 60th birthday party. 60 is certainly an important milestone.

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Birthday girl with cake

As I said before, January looks like a slow month for me and I have nothing scheduled until a fundraiser at Huffington Center in Los Angeles on the 16th .  I am also booking weddings for later this year. I hope to get a party this weekend somewhere, and I will travel anywhere in Southern California. It is raining hard right now, and El Nino is here, so it might rain a lot this season.  California needs the rain, and it might get people in the partying mood before the month is over.

Three Bartending Events Halloween Weekend

4 Nov
Lloyd the Bartender costume

Lloyd the Bartender costume

Shaken Not Stirred was contracted to bartend at three consecutive events last Halloween weekend. I usually write the blogs for my events on Monday morning, but was so exhausted after doing three events in a row, I am now writing the blog today on Wednesday. Friday night I bartended a Halloween costume party in Marina Del Rey, on Saturday I bartended a wedding in Northridge, and then on Sunday I bartended a birthday party in Silverlake.

For the costume party in Marina Del Rey, I broke out my Lloyd the bartender costume. The theme of the party was undead celebrities, and many of the guests really did it up. The host of the party dressed as Marilyn Monroe, and she looked uncannily like that statue that used to stand in downtown Palm Springs. I don’t know what happened to that statue, but it would be cool to make a movie where the statue of Marilyn Monroe goes berserk and terrorizes Palm Springs.

Undead guests at party

Undead guests at party

More undead patrons

More undead patrons

For the Costume party I made some specialty drinks that the host wanted used fresh ingredients. I can do craft cocktails that for smaller parties, but they become problematic at large weddings. Many of the guests didn’t get my costume, and I was surprised to learn that many of them (in their 20’s) had never seen the “Shining.”

On Saturday I bartended a wedding at the Rancho Cordillera Del Norte in Northridge that I had booked months ago.  My associate bartender Mia Martini helped. We served Margaritas, Micheladas, and Palomas to approximately 120 guests. La Fogata Catering provided the food, and they did an excellent job. Mole was on the menu, and I must say was excellent. Mrdraxx was the DJ and he kept the crowd moving all night long.

Bride and groom share first dance

Bride and groom share first dance

Mariachis at Halloween wedding

Mariachis at Halloween wedding

Shots!

Shots!

On Sunday, I traveled to Silverlake to bartend a birthday/retirement party. I was exhausted after doing to two other events, and didn’t really feel up to par. They didn’t have a lot of room for me to set up, so they set up a bar in the home office. I made a specialty drink, “Shady Pines,” which was named after the retirement home on the “Golden Girls.” The Shady Pines was basically a Vodka Mojito with muddled cucumber, and seemed to be a big hit. I was really dragging by the end of the party, but I helped clean up as much as I could, and for me that is how I got through it, rather than just sitting there like a lot of bartenders do.

View from Silverlake

View from Silverlake

This week I have a fundraiser to do in Oak Park on Thursday, and then a birthday party for a repeat customer in Lancaster on Saturday night, and then another party in Northridge on Sunday.  So another busy weekend for Shaken Not Stirred, and many more to come during the holiday season.

 

 

Two Vegas Style Parties Back to Back

3 May
Outdoor bar at La Canada home

Outdoor bar at La Canada home

This was a busy weekend for Shaken Not Stirred – Friday night I bartended at a fundraiser/poker tournament at a private home in La Canada, and then on Saturday night was the hired mixologist at a Vegas themed birthday party in Porter Ranch. Two nights, two very fun and successful events.  The event industry is thriving in Los Angeles, and there are so many great services that make parties really spectacular.

The Friday night poker tournament in La Canada was hosted by one of my best client’s at his fantastic home.  Casinos in Motion had at least ten poker tables there and dealers. The money that was raised benefitted a private school. The tournament didn’t end until one am. We served completely out of Grey Goose, Patron, and Johnny Walker Black.

Saturday night, the party was a birthday party/fight night event. It was a joint 40th birthday party bash for the husband and wife who were hosting the party and it just happened to fall on the Mayweather/Paciao fight night. I must say, they did an excellent job preparing for this party. They had red carpets, velvet ropes, and elaborate lighting set up in the backyard overlooking the San Fernando Valley.  Aces N Eights provided the Blackjack Table and dealer for the event.

Blackjack table in Porter Ranch

Blackjack table in Porter Ranch

I was bartending by myself for approximately ninety guests and was very busy. I made my special Jalapeno Margaritas that were a big hit, Mai Tais, Moscow Mules, Dark and Stormys, and Lemon Drops.  I also served Stella Artois and Modelo Especial, prosseco, and wine. It seems that Modelo is becoming the most popular beer in LA, overtaking Corona. I think all the Mexican beers are made by the same company, and beer is one of Mexico’s number one export products.

Next weekend will be busy also, as I have a company party scheduled in Mission Viejo for Friday, and then a wedding reception in Santa Clarita the following night. I was bartending in my sleep last night I have poured so many drinks this week. I still have a couple of open dates later this month, which I’m sure I will fill quickly. It is the season for graduation parties, and I have seen  many inquiries for such parties this month.

Shots!

Shots!