Christmas Party Bar tenders, Corporate Event, Party Planning, Uncategorized

Valencia Corporate Holiday Party

Bartender Matt at Valencia Corporate Holiday Party

Saturday Night Shaken Not Stirred was the bar caterer for a corporate holiday party in Valencia at the Bridgeport Clubhouse.  This was an event I booked months ago and did much planning with the host. I also took an upfront deposit for all of the supplies and did all the shopping – this is another service I offer for a fee.

We served 150 guests and I brought another bartender with me. We used the drink dispenser to serve premixed margaritas, and spicy jalapeno margaritas. This makes the service faster when you have large crowds. We also helped serve wine at the dining tables. This was a semi formal affair with a sit down dinner. Hasmik’s Party Service provided the catering and they served some excellent appetizers and their beef medallions were fantastic.

Guests share a toast

I was very worried about this event, because I had to transport everything, including the ice. I just thought of all the things that could go wrong. Once again, we pulled it off because we arrived early and were prepared. In the end, the hosts were very happy and commented that they would hire us again next year to bartend their corporate holiday party.

Dining room at Bridgeport Clubhouse

Corporate Holiday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartending service
  • Create a theme
  • Hire a DJ
  • Have a photo booth

Capture It Now provided the photo booth, and that is always fun for the guests and gives them a memento of the event. It was my third successful event of the week and we are now halfway through the holiday season, heading toward the culmination at New Year’s Eve.

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Christmas Party Bar tenders, Uncategorized

Orange County Christmas Party

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.

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.

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.

Birthday Party Bartender, Uncategorized

Bond Themed 60th Birthday Party

Traditional martini waits to go out

It was very fitting that Shaken Not Stirred was the chosen bartending service for a James Bond themed 60th birthday party in Valencia, Saturday night. The event was held at an HOA clubhouse, and these are great venues for residents to take advantage of. There were approximately 80 guests and it was grand party in the tradition of 007.

I set up my portable bar and table outside with the threat of rain in the air. I had worked with the host creating a drink menu of three martinis. The Vesper Martini is the authentic James Bond martini from the books by Ian Fleming. The Vesper is a very strong drink and consists of 2oz of gin, 2oz of vodka, and a dash of Lillet, with a lemon twist. The birthday boy loved the drink and that was what was really important. I also served dirty martinis, pomegranate martinis, and Appletinis.

Guests enjoy martinis at 60th birthday party

The line was building at the bar in the beginning. Making martinis for 80 people is a little labor intensive, but I handled it. They had real martini glasses, which are always nice to work with.  I also served red and white wine, beer and soft drinks. It did start raining as I was working, but my bar was under cover and I didn’t even realize it was raining until there was a break in the action.

60th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Theme parties
  • Casino night
  • Live music
  • Hire a bartender
  • Dancing

    Blackjack at 60th bithday party

The guest of honor wore black tie and looked the part. I guess he and I share the same birthday of March 14th. He was a very lucky man to have such a nice 60th birthday party thrown for him. They had a blackjack table and a craps table set up with dealers, and they had a live musician providing entertainment. They had serving trays with pasta and chicken piccata. The party obviously took a lot of work  to put on, but when it was over, everyone came together and packed it up in a half hour.

The guest of honor and wife

Next weekend  I have a 21st birthday party in Santa Barbara, and then a drink making demonstration just down the road in Carpenteria the next day. I don’t do that many events in Santa Barbara, but it is nice to have two back to back. I like doing the demonstrations, and I will be teaching how to make a Lemon Drop martini, a Manhattan, an Old Fashioned, and a blended drink, the Georgia Peach .

Birthday Party Bartender, Party Bartenders, Private Bartender

Event Bartender Finishes November

View of Century City at dusk
View of Century City at dusk

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

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

West LA sunset
West LA sunset

Duties of an Event Bartender

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

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

Hippie backdrop at 50th birthday party
Hippie backdrop at 50th birthday party

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

Guests pose for a picture in Valencia
Guests pose for a picture in Valencia

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

Servers, Wedding Bartender

Storybook Backyard Wedding in Valencia

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.

Mobile Bartenders, Special Event Bartenders

North Hollywood MMA Exhibition Event

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.


Engagement Parties, Mobile Bartenders, Party Bartenders

Hollywood Engagement Party and Stevenson Ranch Cocktail Party

April 5th was a busy day for Shaken Not Stirred. We had an engagement party in Hollywood, which was the second in a two part series, as we did the first one in Chatsworth awhile back. Two twins are going to be married and I was a glad to be a part of both of their engagement parties, and hopefully will be present at their weddings. Both of the girls, their finances, and their parents couldn’t be nicer people.

I brought two servers and a barback with me to the engagement party. The servers were there to just make sure plates and cups and bottles were kept cleaned up. They had a pizza truck come with a portable woodfired oven and make pizzas. I didn’t get the company’s name, but will try to get it and ad it later.  There were about 85 people at the party and it went on until 2:00 am. I served pink grapefruit martinis, cosmos, and margaritas. Coronas and St. Archer were the beers of choice.

Meanwhile, at Stevenson Ranch, I had another bartender, Jessica on the scene to do a cocktail party. I double booked that date but everything turned out great. I don’t know a lot of the details, but I guess there were a lot of kids at the party, and Jessica made a selection of virgin drinks for them. She is a very dependable and competent bartender. Dependability is 90 percent in this business. I have never cancelled or been late to an event, and in fact it is my policy to arrive ½ hour early to set up at no extra charge.

Next weekend I am doing a birthday party in El Monte, then another birthday party on Thursday in Woodland hills. I have a big wedding in Valencia later this month and am taking extra staff with me on that one. I have some dates booked in May and am doing a wedding in Fillmore, where I have never gone before. I have other dates booked in June, and as far out as September, but so far July is wide open and I hope to start filling that month up. I would like to do some reunions and pool parties and a Forth of July party

Back yard engagement party bar
Back yard engagement party bar
My crew in Hollywood
My crew in Hollywood
Hollywood engagement party heating up
Hollywood engagement party heating up

. It’s going to be a hot summer! You can now follow me on Twitter.

Birthday Party Bartender

Pomona Birthday Party

I started February off with bang as I bartended a birthday party in Pomona. The party was set up by the pool in the backyard. They had a great setup for parties, and as it gets warmer, I can imagine they will have some fantastic pool parties – if the neighbors don’t get fed up with the noise. I would say 40 plus people were in attendance, and it appeared to me the party was a great success and it was still going strong when I left at eleven.

They had one of those portable plastic bars that I have used at banquet halls. I looked into buying one, and they cost over $3000 new, and I would need a van to transport it. They are always great to work with because they have a built in ice tub, and room for all the mixers, garnishes, etc. They also had a keg set up with the coil cooling system and C02. They had Heineken on tap and it poured like a dream.

Mai Tais seemed to be the drink of the night, followed by Jack and Coke. I poured many shots of Patron and I went through a 1.75 liter bottle, just doing that. They had their own tents, patio heaters, and a DJ set up, so once everybody ate, the dance floor heated up. In addition to the DJ, they had two live acts perform. I meant to get those people’s cards, but they left before I got a chance. If you look around my blog, I have added the links to many great performers, including DJ’s, acoustic guitar players, steel drums bands, and Mariachis.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday and I don’t have any Super Bowl parties booked. It seems that people are often looking for female bartenders for the football game. I do have some great female bartenders who often work for me, and I can send them out if I get some advance notice. I usually do last minute gigs myself, and if someone calls me today, I will probably go out.

I am booking many weddings for the Spring now. I have weddings booked now for every month up to October. I will be going to Valencia, Mira Loma, Palm Springs, Camp Pendleton, Temecula, and Fillmore for weddings. My business seems to be picking up considerably and I am looking forward to a great year. Book your party now, to avoid last minute panic.

Makeshift Beer Tap
Makeshift Beer Tap
Portable bar on rollers
Portable bar on rollers
Dance Floor
Dance Floor