bartender for hire, Uncategorized

West Hills Surprise Birthday Party

West Hills, CA

Saturday night I traveled across the San Fernando Valley to bartend a surprise birthday party in West Hills. A proud father planned the event for his son’s 25th birthday party, and I think the event went off exactly as planned – the son was genuinely surprised and touched, and everybody had a great time. I always like doing surprise parties, and as I have said before anybody who gets one thrown for them, is truly blessed.

Guests anxiously waiting

I have been neglecting this blog since the busy holiday season, and it’s time to get back to basics. I built my business up with internet marketing and now that I am getting many referrals and much repeat business, I have gotten lazy about doing the things that made my business successful in the first place. Since I started Shaken Not Stirred, I have completed close to 500 private events.

This surprise birthday party was held at the family’s brand new home in West Hills at the far northwest corner of the San Fernando Valley. The house was located at the end of a cul de sac and my first comment to the host was, “He’s going to see all these cars here and will immediately know what’s going on.” Naturally the host had already thought of that. I unloaded my portable and bar and moved my car back up the street, as all the guests were instructed to do.

Don Julio 1942

Surprise Birthday Party Ideas

  • Plan a diversion to fool the guest of honor
  • Invite a wide range of people
  • Hire a bartender
  • Serve great food
  • Play great music

I set up my portable bar in the backyard and the guests started arriving about 5pm. The guest of honor was due to arrive at 5:30. He was told they were going to dinner in Beverly Hills. Everyone got into place and the birthday boy arrived right on time and got the surprise of his life. By the way, the guest of honor is a pro football player for the Arizona Cardinals. He was truly touched, and his father was so proud. I served simple mixed drinks to around fifty drinks and everybody had a good time.


February tends to be my slowest month of the year.  So far I only have one event scheduled for this week on Saturday in Mission Hills. Next week I will go to Palm Springs on Friday, and then turn right around to do a birthday party in Redondo Beach on Saturday. March is very busy with several weddings already scheduled all over the place. I will be doing a lot of traveling in March. Please follow us on Instagram.

Wedding Bartender

Valentine’s Day Wedding in West Hills

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
Birthday Party Bartender

Moroccan Themed Birthday Party in Glendora

DJ Benny Boom spins inside tent
DJ Benny Boom spins inside tent

Shaken Not Served traveled to Glendora on Saturday night to bartend a Moroccan themed birthday party. The hosts had a fantastic tent set up in their backyard that looked like something out of 1001 Arabian nights.  They also had a very nice backyard bar for me to work from. It was raining when I got there, but that’s what tents are for, right?  The rain subsided, and the guest started arriving. I think the party was a great success.

The host and I worked together on an extensive drink menu that included eight specialty drinks and just as many shot choices. The Moroccan Mint Martini, was the tip choice of the night. The drink includes, vodka, muddled mint leaves, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and a splash of orange juice. It has a very nice color and looks good in the martini glass.  I also made Cosmo’s, Lemon Drops, Appletinis, and cucumber margaritas.

Shots lined up
Shots lined up

This party was all about shots. I started the trend by making different specialty shots and setting them out. The favorite one was the Woo Hoo, which had vodka, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice. The Washington Apple was popular, which has Crown Royal. Cranberry juice, and apple pucker. I also made Lemon drop shots, and by the end of the night, Monster & vodka shots. I served four handles of vodka.


The DJ was Benny Boom, of the San Gabriel Valley (909) 767-9291. He passed my DJ test and gets to appear on this blog. He didn’t play YMCA, Happy, or the Cupid Shuffle. I think many DJ’s lack imagination and just play the same mix at every party. This DJ was above average in that respect and he really got the party going. By the end of the night the dance floor was full. The shots also helped in that respect.

Shots 2!
Shots 2!

Next Saturday is Valentine’s Day and I will bartending a wedding in West Hills, and am taking two servers with me. I was looking at my schedule for next month, and I have three events in Palm Springs, and they are all on Fridays, so, I can book Saturday night events on those weekends. I also have a wedding in Santa Ynez, where I have never been before and am looking forward to it. In March, Shaken Not Stirred, the Southern California mobile bartending service will be logging a lot of miles.