Tag Archives: L.A.

Woodland Hills Cocktail Hour and Dinner Party

16 Feb

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

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

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

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

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

Formal dinner party setting

Formal dinner party setting

Michelle Witson Stone playing harp

Michelle Witson Stone playing harp

Nice home bar

Nice home bar

Summer Party Season In SoCal is Heating Up

6 Jun

Party season is off in running in Southern California. I have many dates booked already and am getting calls every day. It never fails, every week somebody calls last minute needing a bartender because the one they hired flaked on them, showed up drunk, or worse. Sometimes I can accommodate last minute requests. If I can do a gig – I do it. If I am already booked or for some other reason can’t make it, I will send one of my other qualified bartenders, or at the very least refer you to another company I know. I pride myself in showing up on time and being dependable.  Book you gig today, so you don’t have to stress about it later.

Here are some of the Comments from past clients:

“My wife and I have thrown parties a number of times for 25 to 35 friends and relatives. The only problem with a group this size is that as a host you end up spending all your time waiting on everyone; you get little time to socialize and party with the guests. I wanted to avoid this when I was planning my wifes 50th birthday bash. Found Rob, and he and Katie accomplished exactly what we needed them to do – keep our guests served in order to free us up to mingle and enjoy the party. All my guests commented on what a good job they did, what nice people they were, and how well they seamlessly blended into our group. I definitely will hire them again the next time we throw a party this size (which we no doubt will do). Well done Rob!”

M.M. – Sylmar, CA

“Thanks for working our wedding!:)”

C.B. _ Monterey, CA

“Rob you did a awesome job at our wedding this past Saturday in Diamond Bar. Everyone was happy. I want to throw another party just to have you bartender again.”

N. R. – Los Angeles, CA

“We may have been a bit low on non-alcoholic options but everyone had a great time! You and Kristine provided great service, friendly and efficient, and always greeted our guests with a smile no matter how hot or crowded it got! Thanks for everything! I will see you at the next party I do!”

E. N. – Glendale, CA

Manning the birthday bar

Manning the birthday bar

Sherwood Forest 50th Birthday Party Mixologist

2 Jun

northridge55

Katie doing her thing

northridge1

Mixologist Rob mixing a concoction

northridge2

Got Patron?

June 2, was date of a 50th birthday party in the exclusive San Fernando Valley hamlet of Sherwood Forest (formerly, Northridge). My clients went all out and decorated the backyard pool area to create a memorable event for the birthday girl. I brought a server, Katie (who has worked with me several times)  to help with the food, while I manned the bar.

Our client rented a bar, tables and chairs from a party rental company. It’s always nice to have a real bar as opposed to a table set up, and makes me think I need to get one, but then I would need a truck to haul it in. In reality a table works fine and in the end the guests don’t really care where their excellent drinks come from.

I’ve never called myself a “mixologist”,  I’m old school and that word seems a little pretentious, but I was the hired mixologist of the night. I’ll take it. The host came up with an excellent drink menu. I served Margaritas, Cadillac Margaritas, Bay Breezes, Cosmos, and a couple of specialty drinks that were favorites of my clients. The most popular cocktail of the night was the Island Breeze: Malibu rum, Blue Curacao, and pineapple juice, garnished with pineapple and a cherry. Shock Top and Corona Light were the beers of the night. Arnold Palmers were the non-alcoholic drink of choice.

The guests dined on Mexican food from a local restaurant and deserts made by the host. Overall, the party seemed to be a smashing success. The forecast called for triple digit weather, but as the sun went down the weather was perfect for backyard partying. Plan your summer party today and let us help you. Shaken Not Stirred serves the San Fernando Valley, the LA Basin, and pretty much the whole Southern California area. We’ll go anywhere in the world if the price is right! Now that I’m a mixologist, I’m sure I can get gigs in Europe, South America, the Far East, and Down Under.

Seriously, Shaken Not Stirred is serious about summer birthday parties, weddings, pool parties, class reunions, openings, and all other events. Several dates in July are already booked, but I have many skilled bartenders available. Call or email for rates and availability. I had two last minute calls yesterday and couldn’t fill them on such short notice, but don’t hesitate to call, because sometimes I can.

Need a Bartender for Your Engagement Party?

14 Jun

Tables set up for formal engagement party in Encino

Guests enjoy traditional Persian cuisine at Encino party.

Rob bartending at Encino engagement party.

Recently, I have bartended at two engagement parties in the Los Angeles area. I worked a Mexican American engagement party in Norwalk last month and I worked a Persian American engagement party in Encino two weeks ago. It is nice to see families honoring their children and throwing formal engagement parties for the families to get acquainted before the wedding. Both events where held in back yards and included catering and live entertainment.

The Norwalk engagement party hosted approximately 50 people and featured Mariachis, barbequed goat meat, chicken, and beef. The most popular drink was the Cadillac Margarita with a salt rim, with Jack and Coke coming in second. Corona and Pacifico were the beers of choice. The party wound down at 11 pm and was attended by grand parents, grand children, and everyone in between.  This was a non-formal event, done very nicely and great fun seemed to be had by all.

The Encino event was held in the backyard of the the future bride’s parents. It was a semi formal event catering, white table cloths, and live traditional Persian entertainment. The engagement party had nearly one hundred invitees in attendance. I was hustling bartending for that many people – (I recommend a barback or second bartender for maximum service for parties that large).  The drink of the night was the Pomegranate Cosmo, with Scotch and Soda coming in second. The guests dined on chicken kabobs and rice and enjoyed traditional Persian dancing.  I didn’t leave the party until nearly two AM.

Summer is the season for a myriad of celebrations – including engagement parties, quincineras, weddings, and all kinds of ethnic events. Shaken Not Stirred realizes that LA’s culture is widely diverse and looks forward to serving all kinds of people and cultural events. We also do pool parties, barbeques, corporate parties, grand openings, art shows, screening events, and after parties. Shaken Not Stirred serves the entire LA area including Los Angeles, Orange,Ventura, and Riverside Counties. Please call us at (310) 280-6103 to let us help you plan your next event.

LEADS Certified Bartender Serving Los Angeles

11 May

As of today, I am a LEADS certified bartender and am available to serve the greater Los Angeles area. I was certified before, but must have been half asleep because I either did not take it seriously, or I just wasn’t mature enough to listen. Today I took the class in Van Nuys and was very glad I did – my eyes were definitely opened. LEADS stands for Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs. What the class covers are the key points of the liquor laws as they pertain to businesses licensed to serve alcohol. Many of those laws also apply to citizens serving alcohol in their own homes – at private events and company parties.

As a long time bartender I have served minors before. Either I didn’t ask for their ID’s, knew they were with their parents, or received pressure from employers to serve them. After taking the LEADS class, I won’t be doing that again. In the state of California it is a high misdemeanor to serve a minor alcohol and is punishable by a $1000 fine – this goes for the bartender and/or the host of the party. Bars and restaurants are subject to permanent suspension after “three strikes”. It just isn’t worth it to serve a minor, not to mention that alcohol related accidents are by far the leading causes of teen deaths.

Another thing we covered in the class was serving obviously intoxicated people. I have done it, as most bartenders have. There is often tremendous pressure from employers and hosts to continue serving obviously drunk patrons. I will no longer take this lightly. There is a specific law against serving obviously drunk people and it also sets the bartender and the hosts up for tremendous civil liability. Bartenders need to ask a lot of questions if they feel an individual is drunk, and cut him off if necessary, while at the same time attempting to arrange for his or her safe passage home.

LEADS is not a class designed to take all of the fun out of parties, bars, and other events where alcohol is served, but instead is designed to educate bartenders and servers of their responsibility to their employers and the community. At Shaken Not Stirred we will strive to uphold all of California’s liquor laws at your private event or party. Shaken Not Stirred provides certified bartenders for weddings, pool parties, openings, fund raisers, and birthday parties throughout the LA area. Last week we did an engagement party inNorwalk, Saturday morning we are doing a wake in Palos Verdes. Shaken Not Stirred coversLong Beach, San Pedro, and Seal Beach– all the way to Santa Monica, West LA, Beverly Hills, and theSan Fernando Valley.

Shaken Not Stirred: Serving the Entire Los Angeles Area

3 May

I have bartended for all around Los Angeles for all kinds of events – small private birthday parties, corporate office parties, weddings, and large scale fundraisers. Last weekend I worked for another event company at a Cal State Long Beach, fundraiser that had over eight hundred guests in attendance. There were eight bartenders working the event and I manned one of the VIP bars. Needless, to say – we were busy. I was facing a wall of people waiting for drinks from 5pm to 10 pm. Basically I had no break that entire time.

This was good experience for me. I have done it before but it is always good to get thrown into the fire once in awhile because it prepares you for all kinds of situations that arise. Halfway through, I ran out limes and straws, I didn’t have enough wine bottles pre-opened, which slowed me down. I did the best I could and got through it, but I will definitely be better prepared next time. A good bartender anticipates problems before hand and takes extra precautions. I probably served hundreds of drinks at the fundraiser – I think most of the people were happy. I went through a case of Absolut vodka and at least three cases of wine and a bunch of everything else.

Spring is the season for many events – weddings, pool parties, concerts, and holiday parties. This Saturday night I will be working a private Cinco De Mayo party in Norwalk. Shaken Not Stirred is a Los Angeles bartending service and I travel all overLos Angeles,Orange, and Ventura counties doing gigs. I was offered a job in Palm Springs last week and was prepared to go, but the deal fell through. I’m sure the opportunity will come up again.

I love bartending part time. I like making good drinks that people enjoy and I love going into all different kinds of situations and areas in Southern California for new experiences. I can honestly say I have not had a bad experience at one of these gigs yet. The secret I think is that I serve people the way I would like to be served. I am happy bartending on a back yard picnic table or at a fancy marble poolside bar beside a waterfall. Shaken Not Stirred serves private and corporate events from Burbank to Beverly Hills, from Ojai to the City of Orange.

Why Hire a Bartender for Your Party or Event?

31 Jan

If you are planning a party in the Los Angeles area you may be hesitant to hire a bartender. You may think it will be too expensive, or that the person you hire will not know what he or she is doing and create more problems for you in the long run. If you have to watch over the person and they cause you more stress just by being there, then what’s the point, right?

At  Shaken Not Stirred  we understand your concerns and we follow procedures that insure flawless service to put the hosts and guests at complete ease. We want your repeat business and referrals, so we insist on professionalism and discretion from our bartenders and servers. The hosts of the party should spend most of their time mingling with the guests and not worrying about what goes on in the bar or kitchen.

We insist that our bartenders and servers show up on time or fifteen minutes early from their scheduled time. Our bartenders will respect your property, home, and family and basically make themselves “invisible” as they are setting up, etc.  At Shaken Not Stirred we believe that tip jars show a lack of class and that guests should not be guilted into tipping, or be reluctant to approach the bar because they feel pressure to tip every time they order a drink. All fees for the bartender and staff are agreed upon before hand. If a host or guest wants to tip somebody for excellent service then that is up to them – but it won’t go through a jar.

Our goal is to make you look good and facilitate your guests having a great and memorable time. We will work with you to make a specialty drink menu to fit the theme of your event. We can also help choose wines and keep your liquor costs down. In the end, you may actually save money by hiring a professional bartender.

Also, it is good to have professionals overseeing the liquor. Our bartenders are trained to spot people who are severely intoxicated and to cut them off discreetly as possible. That keeps the host out of potential conflicts with guests. We do not serve minors. In most cases, when people have hired our bartenders for the first time, they wonder why they didn’t hire pro bartenders all along. The costs verses the benefit just makes sense. Hiring a professional bartender for your party inLos Angelesis the wisest decision you can make.

Shaken Not Stirred serves the greaterLos Angelesarea, includingBeverly Hills, West Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, the San Fernando Valley,Long Beach,Culver City,Santa Monica,WestlakeVillage,Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Aire, Westwood,StudioCity,Burbank,GlendaleandPasadena. We also travel to the Inland Empire,OrangeandVenturaCounties, andPalm Springs. To hire a bartender in L.A. for your event, call (310) 280-6103, or email us here.

Shaken Not Stirred

30 Jan

Shaken Not Stirred is now serving the greater Los Angeles area, providing bartenders and servers for all kinds of private and corporate events. The company can provide professional bartenders with many years of experience to bartend your party, company event, wedding, or barbecue. Servers are also available to help serve hors d’ oeuvres and clean up while the party is in progress. Our goal is to be of maximum service to hosts, so their time at the event is stress free and enjoyable.

We recommend that you book bartenders and staff at least 3o minutes to one hour before the guests arrive to insure proper set up time.  Set up of a bar includes organized the bottles and applying the pourers, setting up the ice and preparing the garnishes, and tapping the keg if necessary.  Our bartenders have done many parties and are adaptable to many different situations. We will not send inexperienced bartenders that will panic.

For events with more than 60 guests we recommend booking two bartenders, or at least one bartender and a server. You can see what we recommend when purchasing your supplies here. We can buy supplies for you if everything is arranged in advance. Standard attire for bartenders includes white shirt, black pants and black bowtie, but you can specify black shirt, or Hawaiian shirt and shorts depending upon the type of event.  Male and female bartenders are available.

To book a bartender in for your event in the greater Los Angeles area, including the San Fernando Valley, Canyon Country, the South Bay, Orange County, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Malibu, Santa Monica, Culver City, and the Inland Empire call (310) 280-6103, or email here.

In L.A. , Shaken Not Stirred provides both male and female bartenders for private parties and events.

Party Planning in Los Angeles

27 Jan

People planning special events and parties in theLos Angeles area often ask me for ideas for specialty drinks and what they will need to stock their bar. Of course everybody has a different budget. I have posted below some of my specialty drinks and some ideas of what to buy when hosting a party of 40 to 50 guests. This is assuming that the guests will be drinkers and I try to cover most bases. Some hosts prefer to limit the choices and that usually works just fine and keeps the cost down. A good bartender can suggest drinks to guests that they may not of thought of.

There are a few signature drinks I make:

Pomegranate Cosmo – Pom juice, Vodka, Rose’s Lime juice, garnished with a lime

Cadillac Margarita – Tequilla, Margarita mix, Gran Marnier floater


Dirty Martini
 – Vodka, olive juice, dry vermouthMai  Tai – White rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, Myers rum floater

White Russian – Vodka, Kalua, Milk

Pomegranate Sunrise – Pom juice,

orange juice, Tequilla

Of course, I can make all of the other combinations with those ingredients.

You may want to just keep it simple and go with one or two of those and the usual Jack and Coke, gin and tonic, etc. Margartitas are usually popular.

For 40 to 50 people I would suggest the following:

2  1.75 ltr bottle of tequila

2  1.75 ltr bottles of vodka

1  750mltr bourbon

“           Gin

“           Scotch

“           White Rum

“           Kahlua

“           Dark rum

“           Dry Vermouth

1 large bottle of Margarita mix

1 bottle Rose’s lime

1 bottle sour mix

1 bottle triple sec

1 bottle Pom Juice

1 carton Orange juice

1 carton milk

12 pack Coke

12 pack 7 up

12 pack Diet Coke

48 bottled waters

2  2 liter bottles of club soda
12 limes2  2 liter bottles of tonic

Bar salt

1 jar of olives

2 12 packs beer

2 12 packs light beer

6 bottles white wine

6 bottles red wine

5 20 pound bags of ice

Box cocktail napkins

Box bar straws

Box bar picks

Of course there is probably going to be a lot of liquor left over, but this list should keep everybody happy and you won’t run out of key ingredients in the middle of the party. Also, the types of drinks that are popular tend to coincide with the food that is being served. I have worked parties where Mexican food was catered and in those cases beer and margaritas were the popular thing. Other parties have a majority of wine drinkers. Vodka seems to be the most popular liquor item because it mixes with so many things.

When buying for your party or special even in the L.A. area, BevMo is a good place to go when you are buying a lot of things and you can get a good discount with their card. Ralph’s offers a great discounts when you buy six bottles of wine at a time. Costco and Smart and Final are also good.  Some people want kegs of beer and I can advise them on that too – Vendome Liquor is good for kegs.

Please call me (310) 280-6103 or email me if you have any questions or need help planning your party. I can help you tailor a drink menu that coincides with your food menu.  In any case, don’t get stressed out when planning your party – let the professional bartenders at Shaken Not Stirred help you plan your party in Los Angeles.

Professional Bartenders and Servers for Los Angeles Events

22 Jan

Shaken Not Stirred is now serving the Los Angeles area providing professional bartenders and servers for all kinds of events – including parties, weddings, openings, screenings, barbeques, and art shows. Whether you are planning an informal pool party, or formal black tie cocktail reception, Shaken Not Stirred can provide the service you need to maximize the experience of your guests. Our staff strives to make you look good and help to create a memorable event for all involved.

Rob Neighbors has over fifteen years experience bartending and serving in the L.A. area. He has worked in high-end Italian restaurants including Milano’s, Prego, and Frascati of Redondo Beach, where he served as bar manager for three years.

At Frascati, he helped create a wine list and specialty drink menu with Chef  Enrico Glaudo that proved  to be a hit in the busy restaurant. Rob went on to work at the classic French restaurant, La Rive Gauche in Palos Verdes, where he participated in countless special events, including business presentations, wedding receptions, wakes, and company parties.

Over Rob’s career in the restaurant business in Los Angeles, he has developed relationships with top bartenders and servers and has brought them into his company. Every staff member at Shaken Not Stirred has been chosen because they have proven track records and personal and working relationships with Rob Neighbors. We do not send unknown and unproven entities to your event. We pride ourselves on dependability and prompt and professional service.

What you can expect when you book a party with Shaken Not Stirred:

  • Rob will consult with you and help you determine what you will need for the party depending upon the number of guests.
  • Create a specialty drink menu if desired.
  • Bartenders will show up on time with a bar kit including martini shakers, cutting board, wine opener, pourers, and blender if needed.
  • No tip jars. All fees will be agreed upon up front.
  • Friendly, professional service.
  • Professional attire specific to the event.

We realize that planning and executing an important event can be very stressful, and we seek to minimize your stress by providing seamless, invisible service, meaning that our staff comes and goes without any drama or big fan fare.

To book a party, please contact Rob at  (310)280-6103  or email at shakennotstirred1@aol.com.

Rates vary depending on the level of service and type of event. A 25 percent non-refundable deposit will be required at the time of booking.  Shaken Not Stirred has both male and female bartenders and servers available.  We also have relationships with entertainers and caterers.

At Shaken Not Stirred, you only pay for the service provided for your party and no booking fees. Don’t even try to do the party yourself – let us help you create an event that you and your guests will never forget.  Shaken Not Stirred serves the entire Los Angeles Area, including the San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Long Beach, the South Bay,Inland Empire, Orange County, Canyon Country, Ventura County, and Palm Springs.