Tag Archives: servers

Two Woodland Hills Parties

14 Jun
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Prepping bar in Woodland Hills

Saturday and Sunday I returned to my old stomping grounds of Woodland Hills to bartend two very nice parties. On Saturday I went to the home of a previous client to bartend his wife’s retirement party, as she put in 20 years of service as a PE teacher at LAUSD, teaching junior high kids (also known as hard time!) On Sunday, I went to a neighborhood just a few blocks from my old house and bartended a baby shower.

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Host gives award winning speech at retirement party

The Saturday night party was held in the backyard, and I had done a party there before. The host had everything pretty much setup for me when I arrived. A local brewer donated some kegs for the party and we had four different types of beer available. Everyone really enjoyed the beer and had nothing but good things to say about it.  The brewer had started making beer in his garage, but it grew into a business. I guess he will be opening a brewpub sometime next year in Glendale. The name is Paperback Brewing, so watch out for it.

The host is a fun guy and he made a very good speech on a megaphone about his wife’s retirement, and ended the speech by playing “Take this Job and Shove it!”. I was training, Maria, my barback to make drinks. She got pretty good at making Cadillac Margaritas, and then I showed her how to make Mai Tais. We also served some really nice French wine.

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Portable bar at Woodland Hills Baby Shower

On Sunday the baby shower party started at 1pm, so I was on location at noon to set up. I have done a few baby showers, and sometimes it’s all women, but other times everyone is included. This wedding shower was coed, and a everyone in the family showed up. I made Margaritas, Mojitos, and Moscow Mules. Traditional Mediterranean cuisine was served. The weather was just perfect, because I know that section of Woodland Hills can be one of the hottest areas in the San Fernando Valley.

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Hosts and friends at Woodland Hills baby shower

Next weekend I only have one party booked so far – a wedding in San Diego. It is supposed to be 100 degrees in LA, so hopefully it will be a bit cooler down there. Later this month I have events in Hemet and  Beverly Hills, and then the month is over. Time flies when you are having fun.  

New Year’s Eve Party Welcomes in 2016

2 Jan
"The Last Word" cocktail

“The Last Word” cocktail

Thursday night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a New Year’s Eve party in Sherman Oaks, ringing out 2015. The party was the perfect event to end the year on, and begin the new one. 2015 was a great year for Shaken Not Stirred, and we have increased our client list considerably. December was one of the busiest months we have had, and for that I am very grateful. One of the highlights was when Shaken Not Stirred was chosen Number 1 Bar Caterer in Los Angeles for 2015, by Thumbtack.

The New Year’s Eve party was something I booked a couple of months ago, and I had at least 30 requests since then for New Year’s Eve. I think the first year I was in business I didn’t even get a New Year’s Eve party. It seems that many people are opting to have parties at home, rather than go out and get gouged. I charge more for New Year’s Eve than other nights, but even so, I think the host was able to do their whole for party for 30 people, food and beverages included for under $1,000. I remember once, when I was married my wife and I went to a NYE party in Malibu, and spent that much for the two of us.

The party had a Prohibition era theme, and I made several cocktails from that period that the host chose. The cocktail menu included the Last Word, Mint Julep, Fleur di Paradis, Whiskey Sour, and the Old Fashioned. The Fleur di Paradis turned out to be the big favorite of the night. The drink calls for gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, St Geramine liqueur, and a champagne topper.

Guests dressed in their Prohibition era best

Guests dressed in their Prohibition era best

My daughter, Pia helped me out, and this is the third or fourth party she has helped me with. She will have a full time job soon and probably won’t be able to assist me much next year. It’s a shame, because some of the guests mentioned what a cool duo we make. I have several other good servers and bartenders available to help me also.

Goodbye 2015!

Goodbye 2015!

This month, January is looking slow, so far – I have a couple of parties booked. Last year in January I did 6 events, and hope I will have at least that many this month. Last month, I was able to do most of my parties in the San Fernando Valley, but I have a feeling I will be traveling during these slow months, and that means, Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Bakersfield. Shaken Not Stirred looks forward to a record year in 2016. Bring it on!

Hello 2016!

Hello 2016!

Shaken Not Stirred at Malibu Wedding

3 Aug
My daughter learns how to open wine

My daughter learns how to open wine

This past Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Malibu to bartend a wedding at a beautiful home overlooking the Pacific. The bartending service also contracted to provide three servers for the event. It was a fantastic day for the wedding and many of the guests had flown all the way from Argentina to attend. There were approximately 100 guests in attendance.

There were two bars set up – one on the deck overlooking the property, where a cocktail hour was hosted just after the ceremony. I served Mojitos, and a Madras as the specialty drinks and we served a lot of wine and beer. Argentineans usually drink a lot of wine and that was the case this time as well. The servers I brought with me, including my daughter served appetizers, including bruchetta, shrimp cocktails, and other delights.

Bride goes through the sparkler gauntlet

Bride goes through the sparkler gauntlet

Once the cocktail hour was over, we moved the bar operation down to the second bar where dinner was being served. They had an authentic Argentine caterer who had a fire pit set up and was doing the beef, chicken and sausages for the dinner. I was so busy, I did not get the caterer’s card, or I would have included a link to his site here.

Argentine fire pit

Argentine fire pit

The three girls I brought kept busy clearing the plates and glassware. They used real plates and glassware at this wedding, which is nice, but requires much more work, since everything must go back into boxes to be returned. Many wedding are using plastic wear that looks almost like the real thing, but is disposable.

I continued serving drinks all the way until midnight and the party was still going on. Argentineans love a good party. I felt unusually fatigued at the end of the party, and when I got home I had the full blown chills, followed by a fever. I don’t know what caused this, but as I write this, I am still recovering.

I hope to be fully recovered by Thursday where I have a corporate event in Hollywood. Then on Saturday, I go to Marina Del Rey to bartend a rooftop 30th birthday party. Then on Sunday, I have a pool party in Culver City, where I will make two drinks I always wanted to make, the Pisco Sour, and the Caipirinha, both South American cocktails.

Mobile Bartending a 60th Birthday Party in Long Beach

26 Jul
Shaken Not Stirred in the house

Shaken Not Stirred in the house

Saturday night Shaken Not Stirred mobile bartending service traveled to Long Beach to bartend a 60th birthday party for a repeat customer.  I took another bartender/server with me, and she had worked a previous party at the same location. A year earlier, I had fallen halfway into the pool at a previous party, and many of the guests didn’t let me forget about it. This time, there were nearly 100 guests and my helper and I had our work cut out for us.

The host prepares very well for her guests, and we had quite a well stocked bar to work with. We had five kinds of beer, red and white wine, and a full array of liquor. The host received a Maragaritaville margarita maker as a gift and she wanted to use it at the party. I have used one before, but couldn’t remember how to use it. Luckily, my assistant knows how to read directions and we figured it out. We made blended margaritas, daquiries, and pina colladas with the machine.

Looks intimidating doesn't it?

Looks intimidating doesn’t it?

As the night went on we served many shots, including Patron shots, fireball shots, Jaeger shots, and vodka. A few people “fell” into the pool, but fortunately this time I didn’t.  Falling into the pool becomes an inexpensive proposition when most people are carrying $400 I-phones. It was a pretty fun group of people, and one of the guests may book a party with me next month in Thousand Oaks.

Next week, I will be doing a large wedding in Malibu, then I have a rooftop birthday party scheduled in Marina Dell Rey later in the month, and a wedding in Hesperia. As I said before, the summer is slipping away. I still have some dates available, and always am available on the weekdays and nights to bartend corporate events.

Faster than a speeding bullet

Faster than a speeding bullet

Shaken Not Stirred Mobile Bartending

  • Birthday parties
  • Pool parties, barbecues
  • Anniversaries
  • Corporate events
  • Openings
  • Weddings, engagement parties
  • Quincianeras
  • Cocktail parties

    Shots!

    Shots!

If you have a need for a bartender last minute, don’t hesitate to call me. I am tired today after two events this weekend, but if somebody calls me today, I will go out. Somebody called me yesterday last minute because their bartender cancelled, and I was unable to help her, but sometimes I can, will be happy to do so. Shaken Not Stirred mobile bartending service covers the entire Southern California region.

Valentine’s Day Wedding in West Hills

15 Feb

westhills1Saturday was Valentine’s Day and Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service and servers for a wedding in West Hills. This was my first time bartending an Ethiopian wedding, and it was quite an incredible experience. This is what I love about doing event bartending. I am exposed to so many different cultural customs and traditions at landmark events in people’s lives. I have bartended at Mexican weddings, Armenian Christenings, Qinceaneras,  Vietnamese engagement parties, Persian weddings, traditional Jewish weddings, military weddings,  and all kinds of birthday parties.

This Valentine’s Day wedding was held at a house in West Hills, on the far North west edge of the San Fernando Valley that overlooks the entire valley. The weather could not have been nicer. When you are planning weddings in Southern California, the odds are pretty good that there is a ninety percent chance of no rain. This particular house is available for weddings and other events, and I did not get the name of it, but it was an incredible venue.

Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance

Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance

I brought two servers with me and three of us were busy the entire time. I had spoken with the bride several times leading up to the event and I helped her plan a shopping menu.  Unfortunately, we had plenty of alcohol, but everybody seemed to only want one choice – Grey Goose. We ran out of Grey Goose vodka two hours into the reception and I sent one of my girls out to buy more.  Then a couple hours later we ran out again! I left the reception leaving the girls to hold down the fort and went and bought more. I am not a big believer in Grey Goose and think that it is way overpriced, but it was what the hosts wanted.

We served the champagne toast and we helped serve the wedding cake and then the party started winding down. I am bartending a 60th birthday party in Northridge on the 28th and am still available for the 21st, so who knows where that will take me. In March I have three events in Palm Springs, all on weekdays, so I still have three Saturdays open. The final Saturday of March I have a big wedding in Santa Ynez, where I will provide bartending service. And winter is almost over.

February in Southern California

February in Southern California

Oak Park Fundraiser Boutique

8 Nov

The Westlake Village Junior Women’s Club held their annual fundraiser boutique at St. Maixilmilian Kolbe Church in Oak Park. Shaken Not Stirred provided bartenders and served wine to approximately 400 guests. The church has a very nice event space where dozens of vendors set up shop for the “Gingerbread Boutique” that serves as a fundraiser for the women’s group and kicks off the holiday shopping season.

We served over seven cases of wine during the four hour period. We were serving Zinfindel, Cabernet, and Chardonay. I recommended two bartenders to the host because there were over two hundred guests. As it turned out, I think I could have handled it myself because the guests filtered in over the course of the night. There was never a line of people waiting to be served. We steadily served people during the four hour period.

Stonefire Grill of Thousand Oaks provided the catering and they had some very interesting and tasty food, including a cauliflower salad that was just excellent. I have done several of these events and hope to more of them as the holiday season progresses. I love bartending events on weekdays. I have one office party scheduled on a Wednesday in Palm Springs next month. Hopefully I can book something else in that area on Tuesday or Thursday that same week. Shaken Not Stirred provides bartenders and servers for fundraisers, office parties, corporate events, and openings, among other events.

Tonight I am traveling to Woodland Hills to bartend a birthday party. I will be serving Lemon Drops, Cucumber martinis, and classic martinis. I really like a making martinis and am pretty good at it. I really like using real martini glasses as well, which I will be doing tonight. Next weekend I am bartending a 21st birthday party at a loft in downtown Los Angeles, which should be interesting. If you are planning a holiday party and have not yet booked a bartender – don’t wait. Contact me today and put down a small deposit. I will hold the date for you.

Bartender modeling wine

Bartender modeling wine

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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.

Storybook Backyard Wedding in Valencia

27 Apr

The backyard wedding in Valencia last night couldn’t have been much better. If you were ask 100 brides where they would rather be married if cost was no concern – the Bel Aire Hotel, or their parents backyard, how many do you think would choose the backyard? I think in this case, the backyard wedding was as close to perfect as it could be. The setup was great, the food was fantastic, great music, super nice people, mild weather, and of course, excellent bartending provided by Shaken Not Stirred.

I may want to add that this was a typical backyard in Southern California, not some huge estate. This goes to show what is possible when planning a backyard wedding. The costs of the wedding have to be significantly cheaper, even after you hire the various vendors, including the DJ, the photo booth, the caterer, wedding planner, photographer, and bartender. I think the guests have a much better time than they would in some stuffy venue like a hotel.

There were at least 100 people in attendance and the bar was busy right from the beginning. The bride and groom had decided on the bar selection before they ever talked to me. They decided that they would offer one cocktail, beer and wine. The cocktail they chose and aptly named the “John Daly 

Backyard wedding setup

Backyard wedding setup

Bride and groom have first dance

Bride and groom have first dance

Shaken Not Stirred on the point

Shaken Not Stirred on the point

John Daly - I had to include this!

John Daly – I had to include this!

,” was made with Seagram’s Sweet Tea infused vodka and lemonade. It didn’t sound too good to me, but it was a huge hit! What do I know? We went through 4 handles of the infused vodka and one of the guests went out and bought four more. We served three separate flavors of Kona Beer: Longboard Lager, Big Wave Golden Ale, and the I.P.A. We ran out of everything but the I.P.A.

Sticking to the Southern theme, Dr.s Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas Barbecue of Van Nuys catered the event and the food was fantastic! Highly recommended. I want to mention the speeches given by the father of the bride and the father of the groom. The father of the bride (who hosted the wedding) was very funny and almost like a professional comedian. I later asked him if he was a comedian and he said he just does a lot of public speaking. The father of the groom had traveled from Virginia and was a down home southern gentleman. His speech was particularly poignant and touching. I even found my hard hearted self getting emotional! The bride and groom looked so happy together. It was truly a memorable event in my book and part of the reason I love doing this job.

I will mention that my crew did an excellent job! Tanner kept the tables cleared and the bar backed up and Kelly hustled behind the bar with me. I think the wedding planner and everyone was happy with us. Next week it is a birthday party in Sherman Oak, then on to Torrance the following week for as birthday party.

North Hollywood MMA Exhibition Event

26 Apr

I did an event yesterday close to home in North Hollywood at a boxing/MMA gym. My client hosted an event to showcase a particular style of stick fighting that is certain to become popular. He contacted me after seeing my Yelp profile, which was my first job via Yelp. I have a couple of Yelp reviews, which I am very appreciative that the people took time to write. People often say that they will write reviews and then they get busy and forget about it. Fortunately, I have no bad reviews – those people always take time to write.

My purpose at this particular event was to serve the people who were invited to event beer and wine. We set up in the parking lot and set up the portable bar and a tent for the appetizers. My client purchased appetizers from Le Pain Quotidien of Larchmont Village, (which I don’t know how to pronounce) that were very classy. I served Heineken, Stella Artois, Bud Light, and Estancia wine. Estancia is a very good wine that you can purchase for about $10 a bottle. We once did a wine tasting with Estancia wines at a restaurant I worked at, and we used it as a house wine.

Portable bar set up in North Hollywood

Portable bar set up in North Hollywood

Appetizer spread from Le Pain Quotidien

Appetizer spread from Le Pain Quotidien

Guests mingling after exhibition

Guests mingling after exhibition

The event was very easy and I assume it was a success for my client, and it was definitely a success for Shaken Not Stirred. Today I am preparing for a wedding in Valencia. The wedding was booked months ago and is finally happening today. I am taking two servers with me. The catering at these events is usually buffet style and self serve, but people want extra servers on hand to clear tables and help with the cake, etc. I will bartend and one of the servers will probably assist me as a barback during the initial drink rush just after the ceremony. My philosophy is to be of maximum service to whoever hires me, so they can enjoy themselves and not worry about the minute details.

I booked a birthday party/Cinco De Mayo next weekend in Sherman Oaks, also close to home. It is very nice driving five or ten minutes to an event, but I love going to Palm Springs, Orange County, the far reaches of Los Angeles County, and Santa Barbara also. I will get the chance later this summer because I have weddings and events booked in all of those places. Later this month I will be bartending a wedding in Fillmore, where I have never been. The cool thing about being a mobile bartender is that I get to go to new places all the time and meet new people. Never a dull moment in the event bartender business!

So far the month of August is still pretty open, so I am going to aggressively try to get some gigs for that month. I have the portable bar now and will make that available for a very reasonable rate. I need some reunions, pool parties, and graduation parties to round out the summer.