Tag Archives: Northridge

10 Person 50th Birthday Party at Northridge Women’s Club

12 Mar

Banquet Hall before the party

Last Saturday Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a multi-person 50th birthday party at the Northridge Women’s Club. Ten guys who went to high school together teamed up to have a big celebration of their mid century milestone, and invited 300 guests. My son helped me and we were busy the entire time. I didn’t get many good photos for that reason.

Portable Bar outside

Some of the guys who put on the party met with me months in advance to plan the event. I helped them make a shopping list and I guess I missed the mark, because we ran out of booze two hours before the party was over (we still had beer). The hosts went out and bought more vodka and tequila. Vodka is what usually runs out first if anything does.

50th Birthday Party in progress

Lorraine’s Catering of Sylmar did the food and it was excellent. I met Lorraine and her husband Joe at an event years ago and I have done many events for them, and they have referred me to many, as they did this one. I hope to return the favor. Lorraine and Joe and some of their kids showed up at 5pm, set up in the kitchen, served 200 people and were cleaned up and out of there by 8pm. That’s how efficient they are. The Northridge Women’s club has a large, well equipped kitchen, which makes it easy.

50th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Plan a multi person birthday party
  • Hire a bartender
  • Invite a diverse mix of people
  • Serve great food
  • Rent a hall

My son and I set up out portable bar outside, but it got cold and dark out there, so after the caterer left we moved into the kitchen, which also easily serves as a bar. We went through at least 15 cases of beer, and many handles of vodka and tequila. The security guard from the Northridge Women’s Club came and told us at 11pm that we would have to stop serving at 11:45pm sharp. Some kind of fight broke out outside at 11:15, so that ended the party prematurely. Unfortunately, there are usually one or two troublemakers at every event.
This week I will be bartending at a Residential center in Huntington Beach on Thursday, and then doing a cocktail party in Redondo Beach the next day. So far I am still open for Saturday night. Later this month I will be doing a wedding in Desert Hot Springs, and a pool party in Palm Springs. I’m hoping I will get to see the wildflower bloom in the desert. Please follow us on Instagram.

Shaken Not Stirred Bartends Northridge Double Birthday Party

14 Aug
doublebday3

Mariachis perform at double birthday party

 

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service at a Northridge double birthday party that lasted until the wee hours. The party included a taco cart, mariachis, a portable bar provided by me, and a self DJ machine. Seventy five guests enjoyed themselves under the tent setup in the backyard.

When I arrived to setup, the sun was still high in the sky, and it was one of those scorching hot San Fernando Valley days in August. I at least had a spot in the shade, but the taco caterer was not so lucky as she had to setup in the direct sunlight. I often see caterers doing this and then they have to cook on the hot stove. As they say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” The food was very good and the caterer, Taquito Y Mas did an excellent job. Most of these taco caterers put a special spin on their tacos, and in this case it was the grilled veggies that really added to the mix.

The hosts had a portable PA system, QFX brand that served as the DJ. I was quite impressed with this unit. It is one piece and puts out amazing sound. It is wifi operational and the host programmed all of the songs ahead of time. I am going to buy one and offer it to my clients for an extra charge. This is not going to make DJ’s happy. It also has a jack for a microphone. I left at 1am and the guests were still dancing to the music that was preprogrammed.

doublebday2

Jameson shots with pickle back

Double Birthday Ideas

  • Hire  a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Serve great food
  • Plan entertainment
  • Invite a mixed crowd

This double birthday party was memorable to me because I was impressed at how the crowd kept dancing and dancing. I thought they were going to run out of gas but they kept going. I served margaritas, Micheladas, Palomas, and made many Jameson shots with pickle back chasers. I also made some Flaming Dr. Pepper shots.

doublebday1

Friends enjoy double birthday party

This coming weekend I will drive to San Diego to bartend a wedding on Saturday, and then back to Irvine for a baby shower. I have a another bartender doing a rehearsal dinner in Tujunga. Later this month I have events scheduled in Hawthorne, and Hidden Hills. I have many evnts already scheduled in September, October, and November, then comes the busy Holiday season. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

December Backyard Wedding Party in Northridge

20 Dec
nr1b

Bride and her companion

 

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering service for a backyard wedding party in Northridge. This was my only December wedding this year. It is of course, risky to have a backyard party in December in Los Angeles, because there is always a chance of rain, but luckily that didn’t happen this time. On the same day, there was a terrible freak accident at an outdoor wedding in Whittier – the mother of the bride was killed when a tree fell over and a toddler was severely injured. You just don’t know what is going to happen when you wake up in the morning.

The Northridge wedding party went off very well. I served Palomas, margaritas, and a few other simple drinks. Cafe N’ Stuff Catering provided the food, and they had some very good beef and mushroom chicken. The DJ was a family friend and he spun some really good old school and latin favorites. The only problem I saw all night was that one of the patio heaters didn’t work. There is always one of those that cause problems.

nr2

Backyard wedding party in Northridge

Backyard Wedding Party Advantages

  • Save lot’s of money
  • Avoid insurance, security and related costs
  • Create an interesting space
  • More intimate setting
  • Hire your own vendors

It was kind of nice to bartend a wedding right in the middle of Christmas party season. I did many holiday parties this season, and will be bartending at a company holiday party in La Canada tomorrow. Then I have a New Year’s Eve party in downtown Los Angeles, and a New Year’s day party in Manhattan Beach scheduled.

nr2b

Shots!

Next month is looking kind of light for the bar catering business, and it usually is. I will probably bartend a few birthday parties and a corporate event or two. It has been awhile since I have been out to Palm Springs, so I will probably try to get some parties out there. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

nr4

More shots!

Orange County Christmas Party

5 Dec
oc2

Christmas Bar Display in Villa Park

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Villa Park to bartend an Orange County Christmas party – the first of the season. I have been to this house several times before and they throw great parties. The host usually chooses a theme for the party and rents some great party props. When I pulled up to the house this time, I thought I was at the wrong place, because there wasn’t a full Santa and reindeer getup in the front yard. They had the back yard decorated very nicely however.

This house has the best backyard bar and pool setup I have seen at any property I have worked at. I was surprised that on the third of December that they had actually hired a lifeguard and all of the kids went swimming. The pool was at a balmy 90 degrees and the jacuzzi was set at 100. There are not many places in the continental USA where you can have a pool party in December, but Orange County is one of them.

They had several rented patio heaters for the party and my job was to light them. I used to have nightmares about patio heaters when I worked at a restaurant in Redondo Beach, because they are almost always a pain in the ass. The trick is to follow the direction precisely. It has taken me years to learn that, and maybe I can apply that wisdom to other areas of my life. Anyway, I felt quite proud of myself that I was able to light all 8 patio heaters.

oc1

Orange County backyard bar

Orange County Christmas Season

  • Pool parties in December
  • Cruise of Lights in Huntington Harbor
  • Disney Holiday Lights
  • Christmas Boat Parade
  • Fiesta Navidad

The hosts in Villa Park not only have a fantastic bar, but a great selection of top shelf liquor. I was able to fulfill almost every request and made Lemon Drops, Moscow and Kentucky Mules, Dark and Stormy, Cuba Libres, and Old Fashioneds, among others. This Christmas party was for some parents and their kids that belong to an organization called.

oc3

Orange County Barflies

The party was held for the parents of an Orange County organization where fathers can take their sons and daughters on camping trips and other activities. It sounds like a wonderful organization, and I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of it right now. There are separate organizations for boys and girls. It looks like the one for girls in Orange County is called the Orange Spirit Nation. It is designed for fathers that work a lot to bond with their sons and daughters during organized camping trips and activities. They also make great friends with the other parents. I wish I would have done more of that kind of thing when my kids were younger.

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.

 

 

Torrance and Coachella Wedding Parties

26 Oct
carson2

Bride and Groom in Torrance

Last weekend Shaken Not Stirred was on hand to bartend to great wedding parties, in Torrance and Coachella. The Torrance party was held at a zumba studio on Carson Street, but it converted to an event venue quite nicely, and I even had a bar to work behind. The Coachella wedding party was held at the Corona Yacht Club, and that was second time I have worked that venue in two months.

I booked the Friday night party on Thursday night. Everything worked out fine on short notice. Most people book their wedding parties months in advance, but it doesn’t have to be doesn’t have to be done that was. I provided the host with a shopping list of what he needed to buy based on the number of people. He did that, and everything came off fine. The danger of booking last minute is that there won’t be anybody available. Fortunately, I was available, so it was a great deal for me, and the host.

The fathers share a drink

The fathers share a drink

The Coachella event was booked months in advance. It was actually booked by my associate bartender, Mia Martini, and it was the fifth of six events we have booked to together in the past two months. We will be doing another wedding party together on Halloween night in Northridge. At the Coachella event we served Mojitos, Moscow Mules, and Margaritas – the three M’s. Another successful party went down.

I finally booked a Halloween party for Friday in Marina Del Rey, and will be once again dressing as Loyd the bartender (from the Shining). It is not a big stretch for me.  Then on Saturday, Halloween, I will be bartending the wedding party in Northridge, and then on Sunday, I will be bartending a birthday party in Los Angeles. November is shaping up to be one of my busiest months every, and I already have many weekdays and Sundays booked, as well as all but one Saturday.

The lagoon in Coachella

The lagoon in Coachella

Diamond Bar Center Wedding II

12 Oct
Balloons in flight above Diamond Bar Center

Balloons in flight above Diamond Bar Center

Yesterday Shaken Not Stirred returned to the Diamond Bar Center for the largest wedding they have done to date. We had three bartenders and three bars to service 350 people. I always allow myself one hour set up time, but I arrived two hours early, because this kind of event requires a lot of preparation. I was very nervous when I first arrived that something was going to go wrong, and that is why arriving early is so important, because it gives you time to fix any potential problems.

The Diamond Bar Center has two portable bars and we used those, plus I set up my portable bar. We had approximately 400 pounds of ice and that seemed to be just enough on a 95 degree day. When we looked at the liquor stock and cups we were panicking that it wouldn’t be enough. Well, it was pretty hard drinking crowd and it ended up being just enough. We ran completely out of everything but wine, one half hour before we were supposed to stop serving.

Setting up three bars at the Diamond Bar Center

Setting up three bars at the Diamond Bar Center

I had me two best girls, Mia and Kelley working with me and they did a stellar job. I was very proud how we all came together and pulled this massive event off. I was thinking when I arrived I don’t want to do any more events this big, but I have since changed my mind about that. It was a great experience.

Shots!

Shots!

This Saturday I will be bartending a wedding party in Culver City and will be taking another bartender and two cocktail servers with me. Then on Sunday, I will stay in the San Fernando Valley and bartend a baptism party in Tarzana. Later this month, I will return to Coachella to bartend a wedding, and then have another wedding to bartend in Northridge on Halloween night. I still have the Friday before Halloween available if anyone wants to do a Halloween party on that night.

Groom and friends at Diamond Bar Center

Groom and friends at Diamond Bar Center

Two San Fernando Valley Parties

27 Sep
Guests mingle poolside in Sherman Oaks

Guests mingle poolside in Sherman Oaks

This weekend Shaken Not Stirred remained at home in the San Fernando Valley and bartended two parties in Sherman Oaks and Northridge. The first party was a wedding rehearsal dinner south of the boulevard in Sherman Oaks, and the second party was a one year old’s birthday party in Northridge. I made a lot of margaritas over the weekend, to say the least.

The Sherman Oaks party was poolside at a very nice hillside home a few blocks south of Ventura Boulevard. The host had requested that I make the margarita mix with fresh ingredients. I use limes, lemons, agave nectar, and filtered water to make my own mixture, and it has always been a hit. The host asked me why I use lemons, and I suppose the real answer is because I have a lemon tree in the backyard that produces some of the juiciest lemons I have ever seen. I didn’t use those lemons for this batch because they aren’t ready yet, but they should be ready by Christmas, and are excellent for whiskey sours, Tom Collins mix, and many other cocktails.

The margaritas were a hit at the Sherman Oaks party, and many of the guests were in from Canada, enjoying the 100 degree weather we are having here in the valley. I served completely out of the margarita mix and only served a few beers and some sangria and white wine.  The heat was oppressive when I first arrived, but it cooled off a little after the sun went down.

The sun finally goes down

The sun finally goes down

On Saturday, I traveled a few miles further to Northridge to bartend a one year old’s birthday party. The hosts were of Philippine heritage and they explained to me, a one year olds birthday is a big deal in their culture.  They really did some elaborate planning and decorating for the party, and they had a large yard that was very conducive to entertaining.  Approximately 100 guests showed up, including a lot of children. Mark Cano was the photographer on hand, and he also kept very busy.

I made Moscow Mules, Cadillac Margaritas, and variations of vodka drinks. I also served a lot of Coors Light. Once again, temperatures were soaring in the valley. I kept very busy during this party and was struggling to keep up as a steady stream of people came to bar. We almost ran out of cups and ice, but somehow made it to the end of the night with few left over.

Backyard paradise in Northridge

Backyard paradise in Northridge

Next week, I have a corporate event in Newport Beach on Thursday, and then a wedding in Hollywood on Saturday. I still have Friday and Sunday open and hope to book some more events.  I will be very busy in the month of October, and have several event scheduled in the Palm Springs area. I just booked my first Christmas party yesterday, and expect many of those dates to start filling fa

Shots!

Shots!

st.

Catering setup in Northridge

Catering setup in Northridge

Two Weddings and a Labor Day Party

8 Sep
Corona Yacht Club

Corona Yacht Club

Labor Day Weekend was a big weekend for Shaken Not Stirred, as I bartended two big weddings and a very nice Labor Day party. The first wedding was Saturday night all the way in Coachella, 145 miles from Los Angeles. Then I returned to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a Sunday backyard wedding in Northridge. Finally, on Labor Day, I bartended a back yard pool party in Sherman Oaks, just a couple miles from my house.

The Coachella wedding was held at the Corona Yacht Club. I was wondering how there is a yacht club in the middle of the desert. As you drive up to entrance of the yacht club you realize it is a kind of desert oasis. It is situated on a 20 acre property and has a large lagoon in the middle of the property. When I arrived I was surprised that it wasn’t too hot for the desert in September. That changed as the day went on. It was blazing hot, even in the shade.

Classic bar at Corona Yacht Club

Classic bar at Corona Yacht Club

A couple of people even got sick and almost passed out from the heat. We served drinks to 120 guests and were plenty busy the entire night. We went through 400 pounds of ice, it was melting so fast in the extreme heat. CV BBQ of Cathedral City provided the catering. They had some of the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had, not to mention their excellent potato salad, and tri tip. I will be bartending another wedding at the Corona Yacht Club in October with my associate bartending service, Mia Martini.

On Sunday, I drove back to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a backyard wedding. I had booked the even so many months prior, I had forgotten it was a wedding, so I was surprised and felt foolish when I arrived and saw the whole wedding set up in the back yard. They had it set up very nice and the whole backyard looked as good as many expensive wedding venues I’ve worked.

I served about eighty guests and I served completely out of whiskey and vodka. I was serving a whiskey Arnold Palmer, which I deemed the John Daly. The drink was a big hit and contains equal parts bourbon, ice tea, and lemonade. Some of the guests had flown all the way from Korea to attend. Rib Ranch Barbecue of Woodland Hills provided catering, and once again I got to sample some excellent viddles, including ribs.

Back yard wedding in Northridge

Back yard wedding in Northridge

The last event of the weekend was a Labor Day pool party at a large estate in Sherman Oaks. A live 80’s cover band performed many great hits from the 80’s, including “Mustang Sally,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and many others. This was the band’s debut in front of a live audience. I served Moscow Mules, Pina Colladas, and Mai Tais to the guests. It was a great was to round out the weekend. This coming weekend I have nothing scheduled, but am booked solid through October after that.

Back yard dance floor

Back yard dance floor

Newport Beach 50th Birthday Party

23 Aug
Guests mingle in Newport Beach

Guests mingle in Newport Beach

Saturday night, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Newport Beach to bartend a 50th birthday party. This was my third party I have done in Newport Beach, and I am becoming familiar with the area. The birthday boy’s wife hired me and arranged the party.  She wanted real glassware and I supplied white and red wine glasses, and beer glasses. I can provide most glassware rentals for $1 a glass.

I have done several 50th birthday parties. It is obviously an important milestone. I have said this before, any man or woman who has family throw a birthday party for them is truly blessed. This particular gentleman was very blessed and had a large nice group of friends and family surrounding him, and he was fortunate enough to have a great Orange County home to throw the party at.

I arrived early and set up my portable bar and table in the backyard. The host was serving  Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Heineken, Blue moon, and Corona. They didn’t have much for soft drinks, and I was only serving iced tea and water. Many of the kids were upset that there was no soda. I understand that many people believe soda is a horrible thing, but I usually stress to people when I consult with them to have more non alcoholic drink choices. Some lemonade, cranberry juice, or something.  They had nine different choices of alcoholic drinks available, and only 2 choices for non alcoholic drinks.

Tables set up in Newport Beach backyard

Tables set up in Newport Beach backyard

It is nice working with real glassware, but there is always breakage. I dropped one wine glass, and then  had to stop service and clean that up. This is also why I don’t recommend anyone use real glassware in a pool area. If a glass breaks and broken glass gets into the pool it becomes a real problem. Especially now, while the drought is going on. People cannot drain their pools and refill them, even if they want to.  Also, when using real glassware, it is important to have some disposable cups on hand to use when we run out of real glasses.

I got this job at the last minute; otherwise I would have had no event this weekend. I have two bartending events next weekend – one in downtown Los Angeles, and one in West Hollywood. Then I have events coming up in Desert Hot Springs, Temecula, Northridge, Coachella, and close to home in Sherman Oaks.  I will be aggressively seeking to fill any open slots in the coming months. I had some very good news this week – I was notified by Thumbtack that I had been chosen as the #1 Bar Caterer in Los Angeles for 2015. I credit that to my habit of showing up early and trying to be of maximum service at all events I do. Also, I quickly respond to all correspondence from my clients. Being a good bar caterer is not brain surgery, but requires common sense.

50 candles put out a lot of heat

50 candles put out a lot of heat

Birthday boy blows out all 50 at once

Birthday boy blows out all 50 at once