Tag Archives: holiday party

First Three Holiday Parties in December

6 Dec
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Vine Street in December

I have 25 holiday parties scheduled so far for December, and still have some open dates available. The Christmas decorations are up and Santa even made an appearance at a December 1, company party. So, far, so good for the first three and only 22 more to go and I’m sure I will pick up more. New Year’s eve is still available and I’m holding off trying to book that, and am waiting to see if one of my repeat customers wants to do a party that night.

Woodland Hills Company Party

An engineering firm in Warner Center had their company Christmas party on December first at their company office. They had an island in the center of the office that worked perfectly as a makeshift bar. I provided glassware rentals. I can get any kind of glassware rentals my clients want. One thing that I have found, is that the guests attending parties don’t really care and are perfectly fine drinking out of plastic cups. It is nice to have real wine glasses on occasion and especially real martini glasses.

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Santa sitting on my lap

I made cucumber mint Moscow mules, and cranberry Old Fashioneds for the guests at this party. They hired a taco caterer to come and make tacos, but one thing they didn’t think about is that you can’t make tacos for 40 people inside an enclosed office space. The smoke will set the sprinklers off. They quickly came to a solution and the taco man setup on the roof of the building and brought the finished product down to serve.

Simi Valley Christmas Party

The second of December found me in Simi Valley at the home of a repeat client. They really go all out for Christmas and put up extensive decorations. They have a very nice bar inside their home and it is a pleasure to work from. I served martinis and other holiday themed cocktails to approximately 80 guests. They had a DJ and the hosts and guests danced up a storm. They brought in food from Simi Valley restaurant, Viva La Pasta.

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Christmas decorations on Simi Valley home

The host told me they may have another party before the month if over. I still have the 22cnd of the 23rd available. I am booked on Christmas Eve. December is always my busiest month and it usually slows down considerably in January. All the bartending companies will be competing for morsels until the wedding season starts again in March.

Hollywood Holiday Party

Last night I traveled to Hollywood for the third annual company holiday party of a television production company. This company has a hit television series going on its fourth season, so they have much to celebrate. They usually have over two hundred guests so that keeps two bartenders very busy for four hours.

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Hollywood company party

Pink Taquiza catered the tacos. My son helped me and we served a Pomegranate Moscow Mule. I premixed a big batch to save time serving and that worked out well. The signature cocktail was a hit and we served out of it by the end of the night. Tomorrow I have a corporate holiday event in Culver City. Friday night I am sending multiple bartenders out to locations in Hermosa Beach, and Silverlake, while I bartend a party in San Clemente. One Saturday I return to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a holiday party, and then on Sunday I go to Manhattan Beach to bartend a party for the Christmas fireworks show. Please follow us on Instagram.

 

Bar Catering at Two Culver City Holiday Parties

19 Dec
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Keg at Culver City holiday party

Last week Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering at two separate company holiday parties in Culver City. It’s funny that both companies seemed to be closed related as to what they did – all things digital, had similar guests, and were less than a mile from each other. These were the first parties I have bartended at in Culver City since being in business.

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Shots!

On Thursday it was raining throughout Los Angeles, and we all know what that means – horrible traffic and massive delays. In Culver City it was even worse. I got down into the area way early and I worked out at LA Fitness. I finished my workout two hours before I was supposed to arrive at the party. My GPS said I was 2.2 miles away from the location. It took me ONE HOUR to drive 2.2 miles in Culver City traffic. On top of that my phone was about to die and my car charger wasn’t working. I was sweating, thinking that is my phone died, I would not know the address, contacts phone numbers or anything. I finally made it to the location and my phone died minutes later. The moral of this story is that I must keep a printed map of the location, directions, and contact phone numbers on all jobs.

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DJ Randy Rollog and assistant

Randy Rollog (310) 621-3051 provided DJ service for the Thursday night event. He played Christmas music and then slowly switched it up to hip hop. He has a good setup, and I hope I can toss some business his way. I have been looking for a reliable DJ I can work with.

Bar Catering Services

  • Provide a physical portable bar
  • Staff bartenders and cocktail servers
  • Consultation about drink menu and shopping list
  • Create craft cocktails
  • Beer, wine, and non alcoholic beverage service
  • Weddings, corporate events, private parties

The second night, Friday, I had the larger of the two holiday parties in Culver City. I brought another bartender with me and we set up two bars – one outside the location and one inside the kitchen at the facility. I manned the outside bar where they had the stage setup for a live band. The other bartender held down the fort in side. We served over 100 guests. The Goldsoundz provided the live music, including classic and alternative rock. They had two food trucks doing the catering, but I was too busy to get their information

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Digital DJ at Culver City Event

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Shots!

These two holiday parties were some of the last of the holiday season. The next night I provided bar catering at a December wedding in Northridge. I have a Christmas party in LA Canada later this week, and then a New Year’s Eve party, and a New Year’s day party, and then the holiday season will be officially over. Please follow Shaken Not Stirred on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

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More Shots!

Hollywood Holiday Party

12 Dec
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Bartender Mia at Hollywood Holiday Party

Wednesday night I returned to Hollywood to provide bartending service for a holiday party of a very successful production company. I did the bar catering last year and was very happy to return. I brought another bartender with me and we served approximately 250 thirsty people. I set up two portable bars side by side and we went to town slinging drinks.

The hosts requested a specialty drink that required rosemary simple syrup. I volunteered to make the simple syrup, because I like the challenge of doing that. I can infuse almost any herb, fruit, or vegetable into simple syrup, and have done cucumber, peppercorn, ginger, and now rosemary. The drink they created was called the 1936 Cocktail and it consisted of Tito’s vodka, grapefruit juice, rosemary simple syrup, and dash of club soda. The drink was a big hit.

Papa Christo’s of Los Angeles provided the catering and they put out some excellent Greek food for the hungry partiers. We also served four different beers, red and white wines and various mixed drinks. I had helped the host with a shopping list and we went through most of it by the end.

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Crowd at Hollywood Holiday Party

Holiday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartending service
  • Choose a theme
  • Book it plenty early
  • Keep the music playing
  • Have a raffle

This holiday season I have had to hire more bartenders to help out with the demand. Every year in December there are always parties on Friday and Saturday nights, and more during the week, especially during the first three weeks of the month. Luckily, I have been able to accommodate all of me good customers. So far, I am still available for New Year’s Eve – the last holiday party of the year. Call me today!

Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

Hollywood Holiday Party

10 Dec
Portable bar and table at holiday party

Portable bar and table at holiday party

Last night Shaken Not Stirred was the bartending company of choice for a Hollywood holiday party with over 200 guests. I was the bartender and my daughter Pia, was my barback. We served out of almost everything by the time the night was over. 200 people can drink a lot of alcohol, even on a week night!

The party was put on by a Hollywood production company for friends, employees, and associates. We set up our portable bar and table in the back yard. The weather is still warm enough in southern California to have outdoor parties. A catering company, Sky’s Gourmet Tacos provided the food, and they made some excellent tacos. The food line kept going all night, as did the drink line.

My daughter and barback, Pia

My daughter and barback, Pia

The specialty drink of the night was the Paloma. The Paloma is a classic Mexican favorite and is made different ways. Some people just use Squirt, lime and tequila, others use Fresca and tequila. Last night we made the Paloma with tequila, sparkling grapefruit juice, and fresh lime, with a sugar rim and grapefruit wedge garnish. It was a big hit and we served completely out of it.

I taught my daughter how to make that drink and she made some other simple ones, like gin and tonics, rum and Coke, or Vodka and cranberry. I have taught many people to bartend over the years, and some of them are still making a living at it. I say time and time again, it ain’t brain surgery! It does require some grace under pressure however, that some people just can’t bare.

The Paloma cocktail

The Paloma cocktail

On Saturday I will travel to the city of San Gabriel to bartend another holiday party, and then on Sunday I will do another one for a repeat client, who has a fantastic back yard bar in the city of Villa Park in Orange County. Then next week, I have four back to back Christmas parties, all around the San Fernando Valley. This is going to be a great month for Shaken Not Stirred, but I am a bit worried about next month, as it could slow down after the busy holiday season. I have two events booked so far in January, so I will be anxious to fill that calendar up – knowing that it will invariably be slower. I will take that time to refocus my marketing efforts.

Holiday party guests mingle in Hollywood

Holiday party guests mingle in Hollywood

December Bar Catering Begins

8 Dec
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Pastel sky above Rancho Mirage

December bar catering kicked of for Shaken Not Stirred last month with two big events in Rancho Mirage and Valley Village. On Thursday I traveled to one of my favorite places – Rancho Mirage to bartend a company holiday party at Desert Periodontics, and then on Saturday, I bartended a holiday party at a private home in Valley Village, only a mile and a half from my home. These were both repeat clients, which I love getting because I don’t have to work so hard to generate new business.

I have done several events for Desert Peridontics. They have ongoing education for other dentists in the area, and host events for dental products suppliers. They usually have food and host a bar. I set up my portable bar and table for a cocktail hour before the presentation. For this party I served spiked eggnog, White Russians, and Jalapeno Margaritas. It was a very mellow party and there were approximately 50 guests.

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Spiked eggnog

Bar Catering Duties

  • Plan drink menu and shopping list
    Develop cocktail ideas
    Setup and breakdown
    Portable bar
    Cleanup
    Light food service
    Make and serve cocktails
    Beer and wine service
    Non alcoholic drinks

On Saturday, I returned to a San Fernando Valley home in Valley Village for a repeat holiday party. I set up my portable bar and table in the back yard, just as I had a year prior. I remember last year it was much colder. This year, I served two specialty drinks, the Cranberry Old Fashioned, and the Moscow Mule. Those two drinks are perfect for Christmas parties. There 80 guests at the party, and everyone seemed to enjoy the drinks.

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Bar Supplies in Valley Village

Tomorrow, I will bartend a company holiday party in Hollywood for a television production company. This is another repeat client. I will be taking my daughter with me to help out, as there are supposed to be over 100 guests. This weekend I have two more parties scheduled – one in San Gabriel, and one in the Hollywood Hills. I still have Saturday, December 26th available, and several weekdays open for parties, if you have not yet booked someone.

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Guests mingle in Valley Village

Event Bartender Finishes November

30 Nov
View of Century City at dusk

View of Century City at dusk

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles event bartender service, finished the month of November with two big events. The first event was a Monday cocktail party at a luxurious apartment on the 15th floor of a Wilshire Boulevard high rise in Westwood. The second event of the week was a 50th birthday party held at a very nice HOA community building at a housing development in Valencia.

An event bartender has many different types of jobs, and I have experience doing all kinds of different parties, in all kinds of situations. The cocktail party in Westwood, was more about being a waiter than mixing drinks. The event was held in a stunning apartment full of amazing artwork, with a 180 degree view of West LA, Century City, the Pacific Ocean and Catalina. There were only 12 guests and my job was to keep their drinks full, mostly wine, hand out appetizers and clean up. Invisible service is called for in these situations. Some clients want the bartender to be the entertainment, and this was not one of those situations. The host asked me if I could also be a waiter at dinner parties, and I told him I can, because I have many years of fine dining experience. Some event bartenders don’t want to do food serving gigs, but I will do them, especially on weekdays.

West LA sunset

West LA sunset

Duties of an Event Bartender

  • Help host plan drink menu and shopping list
    Prepare garnishes, special mixers, etc.
    Setup and maintain bar
    Keep drinks iced and at proper temperatures
    Suggest drinks for guests
    Continuous cleanup of bar and surrounding areas
    Leave bar area as it was before

By Wednesday of last week I had nothing scheduled for Saturday night after Thanksgiving, but picked a party up Thursday morning. I spent Thanksgiving with family in Bakersfield, and then returned to Los Angeles to bartend the Saturday night party in Valencia. The host did not consult with me at all about a shopping list and drink menu, so I showed up not knowing really anything about the party or what they wanted to serve.

Hippie backdrop at 50th birthday party

Hippie backdrop at 50th birthday party

I set up my portable bar and saw what they had to serve and acted accordingly. They had rum and Pina Collada mix, and tequila with various margarita mixes. So, it was a blended drink night. I had my blender and made many blended drinks for the 50th birthday party. It was not a hard drinking crowd, but I think a good time was had by all.

Guests pose for a picture in Valencia

Guests pose for a picture in Valencia

This week starts off the December season of holiday parties. On Thursday I will bartend for a good repeat client at their office in Rancho Mirage. On Saturday I will bartend a holiday party close to home in Valley Village, which is also a repeat customer. I have many more holiday parties scheduled and during one week of December have five in a row. I do still have some dates open, so please call me if you need a bartender.

Simi Valley Going Away Party

28 Dec
Crowded bar area in Simi

Crowded bar area in Simi

Shaken Not Stirred traveled over the hill to Simi Valley last night to bartend a college student’s going away party. The guest of honor was accepted to graduate school at Brown University in Rhode Island, which is no small feat, so a party was in order. I set up my portable bar on the back patio and served  drinks to about 100 people in attendance.

There were a lot of scotch drinkers , which makes it easy for a bartender, because scotch drinkers tend to drink their scotch neat, or on the rocks, or with soda and water. We went through several handles of both Johnny Walker Black, and Chivas Regal. Scotch is definitely an acquired taste and several of these guests in Simi Valley had acquired it.

We didn’t discuss making Mojitos when I planned the shopping list with the host, but somebody brought some fresh mint leaves from their garden, so Mojitos were in order. I had may ginger syrup, and a bunch of fresh lemons from the host;s tree. This is the advantage of living in Southern California. Where else can you get fresh lemons off the tree and fresh mint in December. I made Mojitos with rum, vodka, and even gin. People liked the gin Mojitos and I was surprised.

Lemon tree in Socal

Lemon tree in Socal

The hosts were of Indian descent, and they served traditional Indian food, like chicken curry,  bharta, with Indian bread, and mint chutney.  The hosts kept asking me if I had eaten, and different people kept bringing me plates of food. It was all excellent. Overall, the party was a grand success. It was particularly cold in Simi Valley and I’m glad I brought my jacket.

Fresh citrus

Fresh citrus

The holiday season is winding down and I am bartending a New Year’s Eve party in Newhall on Wednesday night, and then a New Year’s day open house party in Pacific Palisades on Thursday. It is already 2015. I am looking forward to another great year for Shaken Not Stirred. I have met many great people all over Southern California over the past year and have gained many new clients and friends. I wish all of my clients, associates, and friends a fantastic and prosperous New Year.

Redondo Beach Holiday Office Party

12 Dec
The Esplanade before the storm

The Esplanade before the storm

Shaken not Stirred returned to the old stomping grounds in South Redondo Beach to bartend a holiday office party on Thursday night two weeks before Christmas. The office was just a hop skip in and jump from the location of the old Frascati Ristorante where I was the bar manager, and just down the hill from Le Rive Gauche, where I worked off and on for years. I have a lot of history in the area, good and bad, and it is always bittersweet to go back there.

The people in the South Bay are usually drinkers, and the host and I loaded for bear. The host had a favorite shot concoction called the Oatmeal Cookie shot, and I made a pitcher of them. The shot is made with butterscotch schnapps, cinnamon schnapps, Bailey’s, and Jaegermeister. They say it tastes just like an oatmeal cookie. Several people tried it and liked it, but this was not the hard drinking crowd I remember from Redondo Beach. The crowd was pretty mellow, maybe because it was a Thursday night, or maybe because the biggest storm in a long time was rolling into Socal, and they were worried about getting home.

Pitcher of Oatmeal Cookie shots

Pitcher of Oatmeal Cookie shots

I served Blue Moons, Coor light, Stellas, and Pacificos. Good old Kendal Jackson chardonnay was the wine of choice (I once dated a woman who bought that by the case). We also served 14 hands Cabernet, which they say is a very nice wine. I made whiskey sours, grey hounds, gin and tonics, and Cuba Libres. Ws China Bistro of Redondo provided the food.  It was a very nice event for the employees and clients of the firm.

Today I have nothing scheduled, but have a large backyard holiday party in Valley Village tomorrow, and then another company Christmas party in Downey on Sunday. The rains have stopped and hopefully they will stay stopped long enough for me to bartend these two weekend backyard parties. Where else in America can you host backyard parties in late December, but southern California. Next weekend I go back to Orange County for a Christmas party in Corona.

I thought I had a New Year’s Eve party booked, but that fell through and am still open for that one. I know I will get something, and it will be interesting to see where in Southern California Shaken Not Stirred brings in 2015 at.

Shots!

Shots!

Simi Valley Holiday / Birthday Party

23 Nov
Classy home bar in Simi

Classy home bar in Simi

Shaken Not Stirred opened the 2014 holiday season last night by bartending a holiday/birthday party in Simi Valley. The house where the party was held was fully decorated and in fact would probably win awards on Candy Cane Lane. The interior was very nicely decorated and they had the classiest home bar I have ever seen. The hostess was a former bartender and she stocked the bar to cover all bases.

I kept busy the entire night and it reminded me of working a busy bar at a hopping restaurant on a Saturday night. I made Cucumber martinis, dirty martinis, Lemon drops, Kamakazi shots, Margaritas, Pear Martinis, Gin Cosmos, and Bay Breezes.  Firestone 805 was the beer of the night and that seems to be quite popular at many parties now.

Viva La Pasta catered the event and they supplied a nice assortment of pasta, salads, bruchetta, and Italian cold cuts. The hosts had cleared the living room out and turned it into a dance floor. They had a fantastic stereo system and people were dancing the entire night, fueled by the ten bottles of vodka I served. Overall, I think fun was had by all.

Fire!

Fire!

How to Hire a Bartender for a Holiday Party

I have a few dates booked in December, but still have many open. Here are a few things to consider if you are planning a holiday party and need a bartender:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute. Book your party now, because every bartender in town will be booked up soon.
  • If you have a party on a Friday or Sunday, it might be less expensive and easier to book a bartender because most of the events are on Saturday.
  • Consult with your bartender about a shopping list and drink menu.
  • Check out sales on alcohol and non alcoholic beverages and start stocking up, so you don’t have to rush around at the last minute.

Next weekend I am traveling to San Diego to bartend an engagement party, and then the following weekend I have events booked in Studio City and Yorba Linda. I’m sure I will book some company Christmas parties on weekdays during December. I will work seven days a week during December if necessary.

 

Dead soldiers

Dead soldiers

Downtown Los Angeles Office Party

14 Nov
LA's tallest building

LA’s tallest building

Bartending downtown

Bartending downtown

Guests mingle in downtown Los Angeles

Guests mingle in downtown Los Angeles

View of downtown from office window

View of downtown from office window

Last night I bartended an office party in downtown Los Angeles for a top PR firm in the city. They were celebrating the opening of their new office on the tenth floor at a high rise downtown. Approximately 100 guests, including employees and clients attended the party and no expense was spared. They had an event photographer, sushi chefs, a DJ, and I brought my portable bar. Another bartender was also hired and I worked with him. We got along great and I will probably need his help again.

The office itself was very cool, and had an excellent view of the downtown area. There was a pool table in the center of the office and the employees were working on their pool shooting skills. It seems that the whole office is populated with women and there is only one male working there. He told me that he has a lot of fun working there. Everyone seemed so nice there, including the owner of the company.

We served Apothic Red wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Firestone IPA, and Stella, along with a signature drink – the Greyhound. Also known as a Salty Dog, the cocktail has vodka, grapefruit juice, and a salt rim. We went through almost three handles of vodka, so the drink was apparently popular. It was a quick three hour office party and I’m sure there will be many of these as the holiday season progresses. Tomorrow night I have a Quincinera in Cerritos scheduled.

I received an email last night with an inquiry for a December wedding. In Southern California, wedding season seems to last throughout the year, though most weddings are in the summer. I hope I get to bartend the December wedding, along with the many corporate events, office parties, and holiday parties that will take place in December. I also have birthday parties booked. I hope to do some repeat Christmas parties from last year. Some people have contacted me, but don’t have dates locked down yet.  If you want to hire Shaken Not Stirred in December, it is best to book your date now.