Tag Archives: Pasadena

Maxwell House Wedding

12 Mar
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Historic Maxwell House in Pasadena

Last month I provided bartending service at a Maxwell House wedding in Pasadena. I am delayed in writing this blog post, but thought that I should because it is such a nice venue. The Maxwell House is a historic building in an old neighborhood in Pasadena, and you couldn’t find a more picturesque setting for a wedding. I hope to return to the Maxwell House many more times in the future.

The groom who hired me was the brother of another client we provided bartending services for. It is always nice to get repeat business.  My son actually bartended the first wedding party, so this was my first time meeting the brothers and the family. I spoke to the groom many times by email and phone planning the bar menu and shopping list.

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Bride and Groom enter reception

I served a variety of drinks including a cucumber gin and tonic, the classic, Fleur di Paradis cocktail, and a rum hot toddy. Surprisingly, the Maxwell House does not have a fixed bar in place, so I set up my portable bar and table in the library of the historic home.

Maxwell House Wedding Pluses

  • Close to the 210 and 134 freeways
  • Picturesque and private setting
  • Large kitchen and dining room
  • Beautiful main room for ceremony
  • Nice courtyard

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    Bride and bridesmaids

I usually like to give props to the caterers, but I misplaced the caterers card and can’t recall their name, but they did a fantastic job. The Maxwell House has a great kitchen and two large dining room areas. They also have a great courtyard, which I’m sure gets utilized more in the summer.

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Maxwell House dining room

I have been remiss in updating this blog, but I have done many events recently including weddings, birthday parties, and rehearsal dinners.  It is the season for many events in the Palm Springs area, and I am doing several weddings out there in the coming weeks. Late this week I am doing a large corporate event in Culver City, a cocktail party in Huntington Beach, and a cocktail party in Palm Desert. Please follow us on Instagram.

 

Chino Hills Graduation Party

14 Jun
Storm clouds disappearing in Chino Hills

Storm clouds disappearing in Chino Hills

Saturday night, Shaken Not Stirred bartending service was on hand for a graduation party in Chino Hills. It was a high school graduation party, though I didn’t serve alcohol to the high school graduates, but served to their parents and older friends and relatives. It was a very mellow party, though no doubt an important milestone in a young woman’s life, as she prepares to embark on the next adventure in her life – a college career.

I am always impressed when family members throw parties in honor of each other. I have said this 100 times on this blog, and I will say it again. Anyone who has a party thrown in their honor is a very blessed person. The father of the graduate was so proud of his daughter, and gave a very touching speech on her behalf. Nobody threw a graduation party for me, because I was a terrible student in high school, and a rebellious teen – I didn’t give my parents much to be proud of in high school. The fact that I even graduated is a miracle.

That being said, the group of high school graduated at the Chino hills graduation party were a very nice group of kids. None of them tried to get me to serve them alcohol. They seemed to have a great time sitting at their own table, and when it came time for dancing, they all got out on the dance floor. Anybody who says the youth of today are totally worthless, I will have to say there are countless examples to contrary.

Guests dancing to the "Cupid Shuffle"

Guests dancing to the “Cupid Shuffle”

I served Cadillac Margaritas, Old Fashioneds, and wine. It was not a hard drinking crowd, but I seemed to stay busy. I have a blender and don’t mind making blended drinks at all. I am pretty good at making them, because I made thousands of blended drinks when I worked at the bar at LAX. We made pina colladas, daiquiris, and margaritas blended. People are amazed when I pour the ingredients into the blender, blend it up, then pour into the glass and it pours right to the top of the glass with nothing left over. That comes with practice.

Next week I will be bartending a birthday party in Pasadena on Friday, then travel to Bakersfield on Saturday for a rather large wedding. I am doing all the shopping for the wedding, which I don’t mind doing for a small service charge. This will be my first event in Bakersfield, and I don’t mind going up there, or anywhere if it makes sense financially. At this point, I am still available for the Fourth of July, though I have been emailing back and forth with one person.

Backyard party setup

Backyard party setup

Pasadena Triple Crown Party

8 Jun

Shaken Not Stirred was in Pasadena Saturday to bartend a Triple Crown viewing party and root on California Chrome. The favorite horse didn’t win, but the party guests had a great time it seemed. The house where the party was held was perfect for entertaining and the weather could not have been nicer. Around fifty guests gathered to watch the race, mingle and sip cocktails, and eat fried chicken.

The host told me that it was the first time they had hosted a party in four years, which is surprising because the house just seems built for having parties. They had a great outside bar beneath an overhang beside the pool. I had a refrigerator and sink and all the booze I needed. The drink of the day was the White Russian, followed by the Madras. Bourbon and Vernor’s Ginger ale was a favorite among horse racing aficionados.

They did not have a caterer, but instead served Kentucky Fried Chicken. I didn’t know that was what it was until I asked the host if he had made the chicken. I thought he had a great recipe! I hadn’t had KFC in a long time. The guests seemed to love it and it fit for this party.

The host had hired a server on Craigslist who called and cancelled just before the party. Had I known that they wanted a server I could have provided one. I have several good people who help me from time to time, males and females. It is amazing to me how many people advertise services and contract for services, and then flake out. Showing up is ninety percent of the gig!

Today I have an informal Bar Mitzvah to do in Calabasas. I will be making “mocktails” and using dry ice. I have never put dry ice in drinks before, so it should be interesting. Next week I have a 50th birthday party to do in Thousand Oaks on Friday. I am still open at this point on Saturday the 14th and hope to get an event. I have several more events scheduled for later this month.

Guests arrive in style

Guests arrive in style

Watching the race

Watching the race

Perfect party weather in Pasadena

Perfect party weather in Pasadena

Santa Clarita Surprise Anniversary Party

1 Jun

Last night Shaken Not Stirred bartended and provided servers for a surprise 25th anniversary party at the Santa Clarita Activities Center. This was a very nice and fairy new venue and was a great place to have a party with plenty of parking. The daughter of the anniversary couple hired me and put on the whole elaborate surprise party. She created a whole story to get her parents to the location by making them believe they were going there to give a business presentation. The surprise worked perfectly as they walked into a room of 70 of their close friends and family members.

The food was brought in and my servers set it all up. I am lucky to have several good people who work for me on these occasions. Everybody I have does an incredible job and I am always complimented on the service of my employees. It is not brain surgery – I have been a part of hundred of events serving in nearly all of the capacities from server, to event planner, to manager. It doesn’t have to be a big, stressful deal for the hosts.

We served Cosmopolitans, Margaritas, and Jack Daniels at the bar, along with beer and wine. Entertainment was provided by “Dj Marvelous”, and he did the music and was also able to facilitate karaoke. The surprise guests of honor were very pleased and had a great time. I think everybody at the party did. It seemed to be a close knit group of family and friends and I think it was a memorable event for them celebrating an important milestone.

Santa Clarita Activities Center

Santa Clarita Activities Center

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Cirita bartending

DJ Marvelous heats up the dance floor

DJ Marvelous heats up the dance floor

Next month, in June, Shaken Not Stirred is booked every weekend including some Saturdays and Sundays. Next weekend I have a “Triple Crown” party booked in Pasadena on Saturday, and a Bar Mitzvah on Sunday where I will serve fake cocktails to 100 teenagers. That should be interesting! I now have a portable bar, a table, and several Martini glasses I can offer for any party.

Beverly Hills Cocktail Party

29 May

For the second Wednesday in a row I was the bartender at a cocktail party in Beverly Hills, and neither were related which was a strange coincidence. I must admit, I am not really a “mixologist” but I had to do my best for this party and it was a good experience. The host gave me a fewcocktail recipes and I had to help compile a list of the different items needed. Some of the items on the list were not available, like Cuban Rum for instance, most all of the others we found at Total Wine and More.

I must also admit that I’m an old school bartender, who has always believed that the most important ingredient in a drink was the base alcohol, so I made strong drinks with not a lot of mixer and people were usually happy. For this cocktail party I did things differently and stuck completely to the recipes, and measured each ingredient exactly, which I have never done. One of the guests of the party explained to me why it was important not to put too much sweetening agent in a particular drink, but it was important to put just enough. I can appreciate that.

When I was working at Frascati in Redondo Beach I worked with many Italians and I noticed how important food and beverage was to them. They took such care in simple things like making an espresso or cappuccino. They knew all about the cheeses and different ingredients that were in their dishes. I had a feeling that they felt most of us Americans were lazy and ignorant about these things. Most of the time we were. Those of us in the food and beverage industry should take more time to learn more about everything we are doing.

The drinks we were serving at the cocktail party were classic cocktails including the Singapore Sling, the Centennial, the Hemingway Daiquiri, the Mai Tai (Trader Vic’s Recipe), and the Aviation Cocktail. The Aviation Cocktail is an interesting drink and has an ingredient, Crème de Violet, which gives a lavender tint to the drink and a very unique taste.

Beverly Hills bartender

Beverly Hills bartender

Mixologist station

Mixologist station

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

This weekend Shaken Not Stirred will be doing an anniversary party in Santa Clarita, then next weekend a Triple Crown Party in Pasedena, and an informal Bar Mitzvah, where I will be making “mocktails” for 100 teenagers in Calabasas. Then later on I have parties and weddings booked in Orange County, Camp Pendlelton, Lancaster, and Thousand Oaks. Business is really taking off and I am grateful.

Los Angeles Birthday Party

23 Mar

Finally, after over two years in business in Los Angeles, I got to do a party in Los Angeles. I have done parties all over Southern California, from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara. I have been in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Burbank, and Pasadena. I have done many parties in the San Fernando Valley, the Inland Empire, and Orange County, but last night I bartended my first party in the city of Los Angeles. The competition among bartending companies

In the West Adams district  of Los Angeles

In the West Adams district of Los Angeles

 

Table bar set up

Table bar set up

 

Me preparing to make a Rob Roy

Me preparing to make a Rob Roy

 

Crowd dancing to "YMCA" (not really that song!)

Crowd dancing to “YMCA”
(not really that song!)

is fierce in LA, but Shaken Not Stirred is steadily making a foothold in Southern California.

Last night, I bartended a birthday party at a very cool Victorian home in the West Adams neighborhood, south of Koreatown. The host was throwing a party for his girlfriend and I heard her say it was her first birthday party since becoming an adult. They had caterers there set up outside and they served some very good tacos. I had a makeshift bar set up inside, which was a folding table with a table cloth. I have inserted a picture to show that this set up works just fine.

The host also hired a DJ who was one of his personal friends, and the guy really made the party. I have been looking for a DJ to highly recommend, and I think I have finally found him. The name of his company is “Ten foot Rabbit”. The DJ’s girlfriend assisted him, and she not only helped him set up his equipment, but she mingled and engaged with people in the crowd and got them dancing. As the night progressed, the dance floor was packed, which made for a successful party. Here is a link to the DJ’s Facebook page.

At the request of the birthday girl, I served Rob Roy’s and Manhattans. Those are both classic cocktails and definitely an acquired taste, but were a hit with this crowd. I also served Cadillac Margaritas, which are always popular. In case you didn’t know, you need Gran Marnier to make a Margarita “Cadillac” and it really makes a big difference in taste. Coming in third at the party for cocktails was the Cosmopolitan. I brought some real martini glasses, and they seem to make the drinks so much better. At least they look better.

Next weekend I still have open and am hoping to book a gig. I probably will before Saturday, as many people wait until the last moment. So far I have almost every weekend booked in April, and I have been working with people back and forth for weddings as far away as September. I have been creeping up in Google searches and the phone is starting to ring from that alone, which was the goal.

Pasadena/Glendale Reunion Event

29 Jul

This weekend Shaken Not Stirred manned two events for the Area H alternative school 40th reunion. The first event on Friday night was a cocktail reception held at a hall in Pasadena. At least 100 guests attended the reception from 6 until 10 and munched on appetizers and partook in wine, beer, and soft drinks. The bar was a table with table cloth set up in front of an empty room that I worked out of and that worked fine.  Musician attendees provided the live entertainment. Corona, Sierra Nevada, and Amsdell Light were the beers of choice, and they went through several cases.

The second event was a sit down Mexican dinner held on Saturday night at a private club house in Glendale. I bartended and had Kristine assisting me. It got busy behind the bar (we had an actual bar) as we were serving Cadillac Margaritas, wine, beer, and soft drinks. There is a stage at the Club house and many of the guests joined in on a prolonged jam session, and there was a skit or two for the diner’s entertainment.

There were at least 140 guests and many of them were not drinking alcohol. Our non-alcoholic drink choices were limited to Coke, Diet Coke, Seven-up, Martinelli’s, and bottled water. I got the feeling that people were disappointed that there weren’t more choices for non drinkers. I somewhat blame myself, because when discussing the shopping list with the event planner, I did not think to stress the importance of non alcoholic drinks. Often we are so busy thinking about the alcoholic beverages we forget about the non-alcoholic selections. We did completely use up

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all of the beer, all of the white wine, and a good portion of the red wine.

The next time I discuss a shopping list with a client I am going to suggest a variety of non alcoholic drinks. Cranberry juice is popular, maybe mixed with a bit of club soda. There is an Italian soda made by the San Pelligrino company called Limonata which is very good and not so sweet. Sparkling water is also often requested and can be garnished with a lemon or lime. There is a variety of  Mexican soft drinks called Jarritos and are made from cane sugar that are also very good. It seems like the more parties that I work, the more non-drinkers there are.

Shaken Not Stirred serves the entire Southern California area from Ventura County, the Los Angeles Basin, the San Fernando Valley, the Inland Empire, Orange County, and even San Diego. We have had inquiries from Palm Springs and we will go there for the right event.  We have several events already scheduled for August, and are bidding on events all the way into October, so don’t wait to make your booking – call us at (310) 280-6103, or email us at shakennotstirred1@aol.com.

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.

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.