Tag Archives: Ventura County

Five Events in Two Weeks: From the Mountains to the Sea

19 Sep

I have been so busy doing the actual work or running a bartending service, I have neglected doing my blog posts. Shaken Not Stirred has provided bartending services at events in Fillmore, San Diego, Bermuda Dunes, Valley Village, and Studio City over the past two weeks. The events included a wedding, a corporate event, a bachelorette party, and two birthday parties. I did some traveling and two of the events were within 10 minutes of my house.

Fillmore Wedding

I have done a couple of events in the town of Fillmore in Ventura County. It is always nice going out there and it is a small town of 14,000 people that is not on any major freeway. The wedding was held at the City Hall, just next to the old train station in the center of town. It was a perfect day for a wedding, and the they had the city hall decorated real nice.

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Fillmore City Hall

I set up my portable bar on the side of the courtyard and served drinks for approximately 150 people. The host rented a margarita machine, which I had never used before. It seemed easy enough, but it presented many problems. First of all, it kept causing the breaker to switch off, because it pulled so much power. Then it started leaking and leaked out half of its contents before I could get it to stop. It takes at least two hours for the liquid to get slushy, and then the drinks don’t taste very good. I wouldn’t recommend. Other than that, it was a very nice wedding in an idyllic setting.

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Margarita Machine – I don’t recommend

San Diego Corporate Event

I don’t try to get a lot of work in San Diego, because it can be an odyssey getting there and back from the SFV. One of my corporate clients asked me to go down there, and of course I couldn’t refuse. I have done several events for this company in orange county. They are usually product launch events, as was this one. I served drinks for about 100 people. Another successful corporate event.

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San Diego Product Launch

Bermuda Dunes Bachelorette Party

On Friday I drove to Bermuda Dunes to bartend a bachelorette party. Have you ever tried to spell the word “bachelorette”? The host wanted specialty cocktails that required a bit of preparation.  One of the drinks was a watermelon/cucumber margarita. I premade the mix for that using fresh ingredients.  We discovered at the party that the drink benefitted from fresh jalapenos. The ladies had six bottles of booze and wondered if that would be enough for nine people. “If you drink all of that booze, you will be in the hospital. Well, they went through 90 percent of it, and they all were still alive when I left. They loved the drinks.septem4

Valley Village Birthday Party

I only had to drive five minutes from my house to do this party. The hosts have a really nice house in Valley Village with a very smartly landscaped yard that is perfect for entertaining. I made my special jalapeno margarita mix, but unfortunately did not bring enough. There were 70 guests and everybody wanted that for their first round. I was out of that in one hour. So the host had to run and get more supplies. I made the French 75, classic champagne cocktail and was surprised how many of those I served. I want to give a shout out to Salinas Churros that were there. They had an incredible churro cart that they built themselves and their churros were delicious. The churro cart was a big hit.  I served drinks until 2 am and until almost all of the booze was gone. Went through at least 10 bottles of tequila.

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Rager in Valley Village

Studio City Surprise Birthday Party

On Sunday I ended the week by bartending a surprise birthday party in the hills of Studio City. This was a referral from another job I did, which I always appreciate. This was a very mellow family event and kids were there swimming. They had a life guard,  which is always a good idea. I served margaritas, Moscow mules, and beer. It was a very mellow event, which I was grateful for after the two ragers I did before.

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Hills of Studio City

This coming week I have two weekday corporate events in Woodland Hills and West Hollywood. I have three events on Saturday and am sending multiple bartenders out to Mission Viejo, Villa Park, and Silverlake. Shaken Not Stirred has booked 17 events in September and the month is just flying by. I have events in Culver City, Burbank, and La Verne before I close out the month of September 2017. Follow us on Instagram.

 

Event Bartender Covers a Wedding Party and an Anniversary Party

27 Mar
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Backyard wedding in Indian Wells

Last weekend, Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles event bartender service made drinks at a wedding reception in Indian Wells, and then bartended an anniversary party in Oak Park the next day. That’s a lot of driving in one weekend but totally worth it. I met a bunch of really nice people, and imagine this – no awful ones. It was a great weekend for parties, and bartenders.

On Saturday I drove to Indian Wells, and I must say this is one of the most beautiful times to go for a drive in California. Wildflowers of purple, yellow, and orange are sprouting up everywhere, and the hills are greener than I have seen them in years. Even the mountains and hillsides around banning, look more like Montana, than arid California. I know it won’t last long – a couple of dry months and everything will be brown again, so Californians should enjoy it while it lasts.

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Backyard wedding ceremony

Indian Wells is particularly beautiful right now and a perfect spot to host a backyard wedding. The hosts of the wedding party set up a very nice backyard wedding outside their condo in a gated community at Indian Wells. The hosts purchased a nice little bar at the thrift store and that is where I set up. I made Old Fashioneds and various simple mixed drinks for approximately 80 guests. Whole Lotta Love BBQ and Catering of La Quinta provided the food and they put out some excellent grub.

It was a very nice ceremony and a friend of the bride and groom was the officiant. I think backyard weddings are the way to go if you can find a good spot to put one on. This was the perfect spot and the weather was just right. The bride and groom were impressed that I was bussing tables when I wasn’t busy making drinks. I have a lot of restaurant experience and I was trained to keep tables clear. It is no big deal for me and I will do it if I am not busy making drinks. Sometimes I can’t leave the bar from start to finish, but I am happy to help out any way I can.

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Shots!

Hire an Event Bartender

  • Get help with your drink menu and shopping list
  • Impress Your guests
  • Enjoy your own party
  • Get professional quality cocktails
  • Ultimately save money

I drove back to LA the next day and made my way to Oak Park in Ventura County to bartend an anniversary party at a synagogue. This was a kosher event so we had to follow the rules of the synagogue. I have now done this a few times so I have some understanding of it. My son went with me to help and we served over 100 people for a quick three hour event.

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Anniversary party at Oak Park Synagogue

Elan Adivi, one of La’s top private chef’s provide the catering, and just by coincidence it was his engagement party. He is only 24, engaged to by married, and a successful business owner.  I’m sure  his parents are very proud. I had another bartender help him with a City of Hope fundraiser event Saturday night.

This coming weekend I will be doing a wedding rehearsal party at Dana Point in southern Orange County on Friday night, and then a birthday party in Laguna Niguel the next day. That will finish off the month of March and bring us into April, which is a big month for weddings.

Shaken Not Stirred Provided Bartending Service at Camarillo Wedding

30 Aug

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a wedding at the McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo. I brought along another bartender to serve wine and beer to around 150 guests at this very nice venue. I hope to bartend many more events at this location in Ventura County. The weather was perfect for a wedding and a nice ocean breeze blowing in from the coast provided natural air conditioning.

Forever Young Brewery,  provided some kegs and he had a keg cooler with Co2 bottles, which makes it very easy for the bartenders. This is really the best way to serve beer from kegs – and I dread the pump up taps that slow service way down and the beer is often way too foamy. We had six different beers to serve, from a light ale, an IPA, two different porters, a stout, and Coors Light. We served completely out of the Ale and IPA, but there was plenty of the other beers left over. We also served Chardonnay, a Moscato, Merlot, and Cabernet. We ran out of white wine, which is always the biggest seller at weddings.

After the initial rush directly after the wedding ceremony, I probably could have handled this party by myself, but I usually recommend that people book two bartenders for parties over one hundred people. I have several great people who work with me, and the service is much quicker, especially when a big line to the bar forms. We usually try to pick up empty glasses and keep the tables and area clean when we aren’t busy. Good bartending service is about providing all around service, not just serving drinks.

Bruce Barrios provided the DJ services and he says that Ventura County is his territory. He says he does several events a year at the McCormick Home Ranch, and I hope to work with him again. Wood Ranch Barbecue

McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo

McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo

Future bride with her daddy

Future bride with her daddy

Action shot bartending

Action shot bartending

The sparkler gauntlet

The sparkler gauntlet

provided the catering and their food is always excellent. My son has worked for them for years and they are a very good company that is growing in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange counties.

Tonight I have another wedding in El Monte, and then tomorrow am doing a backyard pre Labor Day party in Redondo Beach. This marks the official end of the summer, but not the wedding season, as I still have several wedding coming up in Westlake Village, Temecula, Palm Springs, and I just booked one in Santa Ynez.  I am flying to Montana on Monday for a week long vacation, and then am providing bartending service for a cocktail party on my first day back in Beverly Hills.

 

Newberry Park 50th Birthday Luau

14 Jun

Friday night in Newberry Park in Ventura County was the scene of a man’s 50th birthday celebration and luau in honor of the occasion. The party was organized as a traditional luau and they roasted a pig, handed out leis,  played Hawaiian music and I as the bartender served Mai Tai’s and Blue Hawaiian’s. Everyone was dressed for the occasion, including me.

There are several recipes for Mai Tais. The recipe I used is what most bars use, and I think tastes the best. It is a pretty sweet drink, and deadly if you don’t watch out. The way I was making them last night creates a layered look – Bacardi White Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, a dash of grenadine, and a Myer’s Rum floater. It seemed to be a hit, because we went through two 1.75 liter bottles of rum very quickly. The Blue Hawaiian was the second most popular drink, and I made Bay Breezes for the vodka drinkers.

I helped the host make a shopping list and was getting a little nervous as we started running out of things, but as it turned out we ran out of them just in time, because we were almost completely out of booze by the end of the party. We also served Long Board beer, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay. In the future, I think I will add more booze to shopping lists. The host seemed to be happy there was not much left over, but it would have not been good if we ran completely out of everything with an hour to go – which we would have if people had not slowed way down on their drinking. Every party is different that way.

The 5:15 Band

Guests mingle at Luau in Newberry Park

Guests mingle at Luau in Newberry Park

Salute to the Mai Tai!

Salute to the Mai Tai!

Hawaiian luau in Ventura County

Hawaiian luau in Ventura County

out of Orange County provided live entertainment. They are a very good cover band and did several Eagles songs very well, and many other classics. There was a whole segment of the party where the host’s friends and family members got up and talked about him and it was a very nice tribute for his 50th birthday. The man must have done a few things right in a half a century judging by heartfelt tributes from his best friends, coworkers, and family members. Certainly it must have been a memorable occasion in the host’s life.

Tonight, June 14th, is the first Saturday night in some time I have not had an event to do. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I have a graduation party in Orange County tomorrow and I guess the powers that be decided I was getting greedy trying to do three events in one weekend. Never the less, if you are reading this right now and need a mobile bartender last minute in Southern California – call me!

Fillmore Wedding and Palm Springs Bachelorette Party

26 May

This was a busy weekend for Shaken Not Stirred. Saturday night I did a wedding in Fillmore in Ventura County, and then was off to Palm Springs the next morning to bartend a bachelorette party. I travel all over Southern California to do gigs, and I put a few miles on my car this weekend.

My son helped me with the wedding in Fillmore and did an incredible job. That was the second job he has helped me with and I am comfortable with him bartending or serving. I have extensive experience as a server and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. We had to clear the plates on all the tables at this wedding and help serve the cake. The wedding was set in an orange grove and it was a very nice location for it.

At this particular wedding the bar was set up quite away from the tables and dance floor and everyone was congregated at the bar after dinner, while the dance floor was empty. The bride asked us to move the bar closer to the dance floor and we quickly did it, kegs and all. It all worked out. They had two kegs at this wedding and the beer was popular, but I would say half of the beer was left over. I don’t recommend kegs unless it is a party over 200. They usually slow service way down – it takes about five seconds to open a bottle of beer and hand it to guest, whereas it may take a full minute to fill a draft beer, when there are twenty people in line.

I drove to Palm Springs bright and early for the bachelorette party. I must admit, my mind was racing, wondering exactly what goes on at a bachelorette party? Well, what it boiled down to was several close girlfriends celebrating their friend’s final month as a single person. They rented a house with a pool in Palm Springs for the occasion. I set up my portable bar by the pool and served them Moscow Mules, and wine. It is getting hot in the desert and I have two more events already booked for later this summer in Palm Springs.

Wednesday, I am playing mixologist at a cocktail party in Beverly Hills. I have a list of complex classic drinks the host wants, including a Singapore Sling. This will be a challenge, but I welcome it! Then, next weekend, we are doing an anniversary party in Santa Clarita.

 

Willie bartending in Fillmore

Willie bartending in Fillmore

Dance floor in Fillmore

Dance floor in Fillmore

Palm Springs Rental House

Palm Springs Rental House

What the hell?

What the hell?

How to Hire a Bartender in Southern California

2 Jan

Chatsworth Engagement Party

22 Sep

Shaken Not Stirred manned another successful back yard event last night – an engagement party in Chatsworth. Over 100 people attended the party and it seemed a great time was had by all. Although I wasn’t contracted to bring a barback, I brought my son, Willie, to train him. As it turned out I really needed him and he was a big help. I usually recommend having a barback or second bartender for parties over 100 people.

As you see in the pictures, the “bar” was made up of six foot folding tables covered by table cloths and that worked just great. People often ask me if I have a bar for rent, or if they should rent a bar. Bar rentals cost as much as $300 a night, and it really isn’t necessary. In fact, I prefer working with the table set up, because there is more room and the table is usually just the right height. The moral of this story is, unless you think a real bar will make your party look that much better, it really isn’t necessary – a folding table with table cloth works just fine. If you have a home bar already, great!

A friend of the engaged couple donated the beer and it was a big hit. The beer we served was St. Archer Blonde Ale and is brewed at St. Archer Brewery in San Diego. We went through at least four cases over the course of the night. As the weather gets cooler, wine becomes more popular. We served several bottles of various red wines, and several bottles of white, as well as a few bottles of champagne. This was a younger crowd, so they drank quite a bit.

Traditional Persian cuisine was served including lula, chicken, and beef kebobs, saffron rice, and other traditional dishes. I was so busy that I didn’t get a card from the caterer, which I usually try to do. They had a DJ and a dance floor also and the party went on until after midnight.

Party before the action

Party before the action

Willie in training mode

Willie in training mode

Party raging...

Party raging…

Table bar setup

Table bar setup

Holiday season is fast approaching and I have booked one Halloween party so far. I still have a few weddings booked in October and early November and then I imagine the focus will shift to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. parties. It is best to book early. Shaken Not Stirred serves all of Los Angeles County, and we also go to Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties. In fact, we’ll go anywhere for the right price.