Tag Archives: Valley Glen

Two June Birthday Parties

5 Jun
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Van Nuys poolside bar

 

Saturday and Sunday stayed within the borders of the San Fernando Valley and bartended two birthday parties. On Saturday I only had to drive five minutes from my house to bartend a birthday party in Van Nuys, and then on Sunday I drove out to Hidden Hills on the western edge of the valley to do another one. Two incredible parties and I me some great people and I think gained some new customers.

Two weeks ago I thought I was out for the count for at least a month with a broken rib. My recovery was much speedier than I anticipated. My rib still hurts, but I am able to work on my own again now. I just need to get the momentum back that I had before I went to New Orleans. I did five events in the week prior to my trip.

65a

“Shaken Not Stirred”

For the Saturday birthday party, the host has a nice little bar setup in his backyard by the pool. I made blended drinks including Pina Colladas and Margaritas. The host and many of his guests are musicians, and they had quite a jam session going on in Van Nuys. They had tacos catered in. Van Nuys gets a bad rap for a variety of reasons, but the host had quite a nice little oasis in his backyard. There are nice neighborhoods and houses in Van Nuys, believe it or not! I know, because I live in Van Nuys too, even though they are trying to call it “Valley Glen,” it is Van Nuys.

64e

Shots!

Ideas for Birthday Parties

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Play great music
  • Serve great food
  • Invite a mix of people

Hidden Hills is a world away from Van Nuys, but only a 25 minute drive. Hidden Hills is where people go when they have arrived. Self actualization is right around the corner. The hosts of the Hidden Hills birthday party have a great spot up on a hill with great views of the surrounding hills and properties. I set up my portable bar and once again served blended drinks to about 60 guests. The hostess made some incredible appetizers and they also had a taco cart on hand.

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Paradise on the hill

Two more successful parties under my belt – I have done over 400 since I started Shaken Not Stirred. I was afraid to book too many parties this month because of my rib, so I only have one event scheduled for this weekend in Rolling Hills Estates – another beautiful Southern California location. It is a graduation party and this is the season for those, along with weddings, and of course birthday parties.

64b

Shots waiting for drinkers

Bartender to the Rescue in Studio City

27 Feb
amigos

Amigos!

Saturday night I was sitting at home for the first Saturday night in a long time when a call came out for a “bartender to the rescue” in Studio City. Another bartender cancelled at the last minute and they needed somebody right away. I put on my bartender cape and was at their door in fifteen minutes. Luckily, Studio City is only three miles away. Shaken Not Stirred is located in Valley Glen.

When I walked in the usual chaos was ensuing at the bar as guests fumbled trying to open bottles and pour their own drinks. One guy brought a full drink and set it down in front of me. “I don’t want this – it’s the worst drink I’ve ever had,” he said. One of the guests had made it for him. It took me a few minutes to get acclimated, but had the bar running smoothly in no time. The party was a pajama party of 20 to 30 year olds, and they were playing some kind of trivia game. A food truck outside was serving the food.

I made mostly simple drinks like Jack and Coke, and Tequila Sodas. A lot of the younger people drink either vodka/soda, or tequila/soda with lime, because those drinks have less calories. I have noticed that is the drink of choice among Millennials in LA. It seems that you don’t really need a bartender to make those drinks, but obviously you do, because most people don’t know how much to pour. That is the problem when you don’t hire a bartender – a lot of alcohol gets wasted and thrown away because the drinks are awful, or worse yet – bottles of alcohol “walk away.” I have confronted guests at wedding that I was bartending who tried to steal bottles of alcohol.

Last Minute Bartender to the Rescue

  • Original bartender cancels last minute
  • Bartender no show/no call
  • Bartender shows up drunk or high
  • Host realizes last minute a bartender is needed
  • Bartender doesn’t know what he or she is doing

    amigos2

    Guests playing trivia game

When I am bartending, I am often not busy making drinks the whole time. That is when I take the time to clean up the area. People leave plates, cups, and napkins on the tables and countertops and I take a moment to clean them up. People are always amazed when I do this. Well, a bartender in a bar or restaurant is expected to keep their area clean, and I take that same philosophy into the homes and venues where I do private parties. Sometimes I am just to busy behind the bar to do it, but I try to keep the area clean when I can. The host of this party was very happy with me and wrote me a nice 5 star review.

This coming weekend I have a surprise birthday party scheduled in Hermosa Beach on Friday, and then a wedding in Palm Springs on Saturday. I will return to Palm Springs the following weekend and then have other events scheduled in the City of Walnut, Tarzana, and Indian Wells later in the month.

International Valley Glen 40th Birthday Party

25 Jan
Great wall of LA in the neighborhood

Great wall of LA in the neighborhood

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred once again traveled one whole mile to bartend an international 40th birthday party in my own hood, they call Valley Glen. I say it was an international birthday party because there were guests in attendance from Argentina, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Chile, and probably a few other countries. I have links to South America myself, and love the way they party.

I had booked this party months ago, and I think the reason the host booked me, was because I was in the neighborhood. Yesterday, all day before the party I was suffering anxiety and was feeling that somehow I was going to screw the party up. I arrived 1.5 hours early to set up for this reason. Of course, I forgot my tupperwear for garnishes, simple syrup, camera, and knife. So, I drove back home and got those items, minus the camera. A friend of mine keeps telling me I should make a check list. I think it it is time I finally do that. I always either forget to bring something, or I leave something behind.

Lousy picture of my bar

Lousy picture of my bar

The party went very well. I think it is almost impossible to screw a party up as a bartender if you arrive early to prepare. I served Old Fashioneds, Mojitos, Cuba Libres, and Cape Cods. The old Fashioned and the Mojito are labor intensive drinks to make, but the more I make them, the quicker I am. The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail and fantastic drink.  Those were definitely the hit of the night. I served Peroni beer, Lagonitas IPA, and lots of red wine.

As I mentioned, I forgot my camera and only took a couple lousy pictures with my camera before it died. It’s a shame because there were many attractive people in attendance, dancing, and fantastic food. The host’s father in law made the food and it was incredible. They had many amazing appetizers, and then a very healthy main course selection, Argentine style.  In the end, I think the party was a great success, and I think the birthday boy was very happy. Any man who has a 40th birthday party thrown for him, is indeed a lucky man.

Next weekend I don’t have anything yet scheduled, and it is Super Bowl weekend. I’m hoping to pick up a couple of parties. I have some birthday parties and weddings scheduled in February, and March is going to be very busy. I will be driving all over southern California bartending weddings in Santa Inez, Palm Springs, and the Inland Empire.

Backyard tent setup for party

Backyard tent setup for party

Huffington Center Fundraiser in Los Angeles

18 Jan
The Huffington Center and St. Sofia Cathedral

The Huffington Center and St. Sofia Cathedral

Last night Shaken Not Stirred contracted to bartend an event at the Huffington Center in Los Angeles for the annual Sons of Pericles, Greeks in LA event. The Huffington Center is a fantastic facility on the grounds of the St. Sofia Greek Orthodox Cathedral south of Koreatown in Los Angeles. There were about 100 guests in attendance from all over the country. Many of the young men played in the annual basketball tournament earlier in the day at the Huffington Center.

I had been in contact for months with the organizer of the event, who flew in from Brooklyn.  The event was a fundraiser and they charged for drinks. They used different colored tickets for shots, beers, wine, or mixed drinks. It was a pretty good system, and guests were carded at the door and given wrist bands, so I didn’t have to card people. The event was supposed to start at 9pm, but people didn’t really start trickling in until 10pm, and then I got slammed.

Men...

Men…

I served out of Jack Daniels, rum, and Ouzo. I also served a lot of vodka, gin, and tequila. It was the kind of event where it would have been nice to have a barback, but I handled it ok. The Huffington Center is set up nicely for events. They have a big ballroom, and a huge, very well designed kitchen that is equipped to serve hundreds. A very nice facility, and which I hope to return to.

Women...

Women…

Next weekend I will bartend another birthday party in my own neighborhood of Valley Glen, and an event at the Reef in downtown Los Angeles. I do not have a Super Bowl party booked yet, and I hope to pick up one. I have another birthday party booked the first week in February in Glendora, and then the rest of February is pretty open. March is filling up fast, however, and I have several weddings booked all over Southern California, from Palm Springs to Santa Ynez. Book your bartender now!

Shots!

Shots!

Shaken Not Stirred Travels One Mile to Bartend Valley Glen Event

12 Jan
Guests mingle in Valley Glen

Guests mingle in Valley Glen

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles mobile bartender broke an all time record and traveled one whole mile to bartend a baby shower in his home base of Valley Glen. Valley Glen is a fancy way of saying Van Nuys. Van Nuys gets a bad rap because of ongoing garage sales in the area. Seriously though, they have expertly designed some of these neighborhoods so that they are perfectly isolated from the mean streets of Van Nuys. There are some nice little streets in there, and the party was on one of them.

I have bartended at baby showers before and served a few mimosas. This one was not like that. This was a coed event with about forty guests, and they were drinkers. The host wanted pink signature drinks in honor of the baby, and I served strawberry Mojitos, French Kiss cocktails, and pink grapefruit martinis. The strawberry Mojito was very popular and I went through two handles of rum. It drizzled rain for awhile, then it cleared up and was nice for the rest of the night.

French Kiss Martini

French Kiss Martini

The host hired a two piece band and they played almost the entire time, four hours without a break.  The lead singer didn’t have a card, and he said he was going to email me his information and asked if I would promote him. I must say, the live music added a lot to the party, and this two piece band was better than most I have seen. Whether people realize it or not, music makes a big difference. The live music turns a hoh-hum party into something epic. I hope he does email me, because I will promote him to my clients. I forgot my camera, so didn’t get any good pictures.

Two piece band in Valley Glen

Two piece band in Valley Glen

This coming Saturday I will be bartending a fundraiser in Koreatown. I have planned this party for a few weeks now with the host, who is coming from New York City. I feel like he and I are best friends now, though we have never met. I find him refreshingly direct, compared the laid back and sometimes wishy-washy California way of doing things. Then the following week, I have another party to do in good old Valley Glen. Two parties in one month in my neighborhood – my car is not getting enough wear and tear!

Bartending Service for Downtown Los Angeles Reception

6 Jan
Architectural wonders in downtown LA

Architectural wonders in downtown LA

Monday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a downtown Los Angeles reception and party to celebrate the swearing in of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Teresa Magno. The reception was held in the lobby of luxury condominiums downtown, across from the courthouse. About 100 guests were in attendance, including incoming Los Angeles County Sheriff, Jim McDonnell, and several people from the district attorney’s office.

Judge Teresa Magno poses for a shot with me

Judge Teresa Magno poses for a shot with me

The event planner, April Easley, did an excellent job setting the stage for the reception and provided flower arrangements, candles, and all the little details that make for a memorable event. There were finger foods including barbeque beef sliders, tamales, turkey wraps, and various chips and salsa.  Paulina’s Catering brought the taco bar.

I served a standard assortment of drinks including Cape Cods, gin and tonics, margaritas, and Jameson whiskey. I helped the hosts with a shopping menu based on other parties I have done. As usual, there was much left over, that can be used at another party. I think it is better to load for bear, and if bears don’t show up, we were prepared any way. I can develop a drink menu for any budget. I would say the beverage shopping list for this particular was around $300. I always try to save hosts money when I make shopping lists.

January can be a slow month for a mobile bartending service, but it isn’t starting out slow. Sunday I will bartend my third event of 2015, right here in my own neighborhood of Valley Glen. I am providing bartending service for a baby shower/cocktail party. Then on January 17, I will be bartending a fundraiser in Koreatown. I have put bids out on several big weddings in the spring and hope to land some of those. I want to think all of my customers for supporting me in 2014.

Salud!

Salud!

June Birthday Parties

2 Jul

The last two weeks in June I bartended two birthday parties – a 40th birthday bash in Valley Glen, and a 90th Hawaiian themed birthday party in Newberry Park, Ventura County. Both were virtually last minute requests which I was happy to oblige. The host of the 40th birthday party called me the day of, and the party was literally three blocks from my house. The 90th birthday party was hosted by the celebrant’s daughter and she contacted me three days in advance. It does not take months to hire a bartender and host a successful party – if I am available I can help you make a shopping list and I show up, simple as that.

The 4oth birthday party in Valley Glen was a raucous affair and we went through 6 large bottles of Grey Goose, three bottle of Johnny Walker Black, and four bottles of tequila for a party of fifty, plus a whole lot of beer. I brought my blender and made blended margaritas. Chilled tequila and vodka shots were also popular. Heineken was the beer of choice. Catering was provided by Familia Perez, (213) 321-7229, and they put out an excellent spread of tacos, quesadillas, and burritos made to order. I arrived at 5 and was done by midnight.

I had never done a 90th birthday party before and didn’t know what to expect. The host was the birthday girl’s daughter and wanted to do something special for her mom. They had invited around thirty guests and the host didn’t want to to spend the entire time making drinks. She had never hired a bartender before and was reluctant. I made Mai Tais from a recipe she gave me and they were a hit at the Hawaiian themed party. Long Board beer was the beer of choice. The Poi Pounders (310) 534-1404 provided Hawaiian music, and really made it special for the birthday girl. I have never seen a ninety year old lady so happy. In the end, I think the host was very glad that she hired me, because she and her husband were able to relax and mingle with guests as I made the drinks.

I have three dates booked in July – two big weddings and another Hawaiian themed party. I am still open for the Forth of July. Remember, Shaken Not Stirred will also do Sunday pool parties, Friday night parties, and events on the weeknights. Don’t hesitate to call – if I can’t accommodate you, I can probably recommend somebody.

Set up for 90th party

Set up for 90th party

poipounders

To book them call (310) 534-1404

birthdaygirl

The Birthday girl holds court!

Shaken Not Stirred serves the entire Southern California area.