Wedding Bartenders Mix it Up in Westlake Village

16 Sep

A ranch in hidden Valley near Westlake Village was the setting for a wedding with two hundred guests and two wedding bartenders. I always recommend two bartender for groups this big. Even with two bartenders, the line stretched back for fifty yards just after the ceremony. The whole night I felt like a bartender in a busy nightclub, because they just kept coming.

We served vodka drinks, margaritas, Jack Daniels, and Captain Morgan. They also had Budweiser, Shock Top, Dos Equis, 805 Ale, Stella, and Coors Light available for the guests. That was quite a beer selection and supply. They also served single serve Chardonnays, Merlots, and White Zinfindel wine by Copa. The bride wanted to charge people for the mixed drinks so people would not over drink. We charged $4 for mixed drink tickets and that worked out pretty well. They at least collected enough to pay the wedding bartenders.

The ranch was an excellent setting for a wedding, with the Santa Monica Mountains in the backdrop. The sun went down and there was a nice breeze blowing in from the ocean. The DJ, Sean Driscoll also sang a wedding song and played acoustic guitar. I have seen many DJ’s, but not many who do that. He said he had a key board as well and can do all kinds of entertaining. I was a very good DJ as well. Brook Mcleod of Poiema Photography

My son waiting for customers at bar

My son waiting for customers at bar

Wedding crasher

Wedding crasher

Shots!

Shots!

provided wedding photography.

I had spent months planning the bar menu and drink service with the bride and it was nice to see it come off so well. I think the bride and groom and all of their family member were quite happy with our service. I brought my son with me to help and I always receive many compliments about him, which makes me feel good.

This weekend, Shaken Not Served will travel to San Dimas to do a Quincinera. This is an event I booked while doing another event. I love that kind of business, when people hire me on the spot based on my service. Then I will round out the month by doing a wedding in Cathedral City at the Cree Estate. I am booking many events based on Google searches, which means this blog is working.

Private Bartender and Server in Beverly Hills

10 Sep

Last night I was the private bartender and server for a small dinner party at a Beverly Hills Estate. 12 people were in attendance. This was my third event for this particular client. I had done two cocktail parties previously where there were many more people in attendance and I had a bar set up in the backyard. This time, the host wanted me to set up my bar in the kitchen and to just ask guests what they wanted.

There were virtually no drinkers in the crowd, and I served several sparkling waters and a couple glasses of wine. I did make one of my special cucumber martinis for the host and she complimented me on it. I was starting to wonder why I was even there, so I switched into my fine dining server mode. I have worked for years as a server in fine dining restaurants, and I put that experience to use. You serve from the right hand side, pick up from the lefts, etc. You keep water and wine glasses refilled and anticipate the needs of the guests.

My point is that there is so much more to being a private bartender than just making drinks. I have had people ask me to hire them, and then it became clear talking to them, that they only wanted to make drinks a collect tips. That is such a short sighted attitude that many bartenders have. My philosophy is to be of maximum service and chances are I will be asked back time and time again.

Ella Freyinger was the private chef for this dinner party and she served up a great meal. She made an excellent mixed green salad and then served rosemary roasted chicken with cauliflower cous-cous with pomegranate and pine nuts, and then had pasta with kale pesto. An apple tart was the dessert, along with expresso. Ella said she has several private clients and also does catering for parties as big as 500 people. You can contact her at ebelle2385@gmail.com.

This weekend I will bartend a wedding in Westlake Village and am taking my son to help me. I have people contacting me every day to do parties and I am already booked two months in advance. I still have October 18th available and most Fridays and Sundays in October. I still have Friday October 31st available for a Halloween Party. I will dress up as Lloyd the Bartender again and still have the costume.

 

Wine bottles at Beverly  Hills dinner party

Wine bottles at Beverly
Hills dinner party

"I've always been the bartender"

“I’ve always been the bartender”

Beverly Hills Estate

Beverly Hills Estate

Redondo Beach 50th Birthday Party

10 Sep

The day before Labor Day I bartended a 50th birthday/End of Summer party at a home in Redondo Beach. The house was on the hill almost on the border of Palos Verdes Estates, where there is one of the most fantastic views of the South Bay and the Santa Monica Bay. As I have mentioned before, I have a lot of history in this area. There were about 40 guests at this backyard party and they had tables set up in the yard, along with a taco cart, and stage for a live band.

One of the guests brought her Margaritaville brand margarita mixer and premade margarita mix that already had the tequila added. That made it easy for me. She showed me how to operate the machine, and I made many pitchers of blended margaritas. I walked through the crowd and refilled margaritas, as the crowd and band warmed up. I also served Coronas, red wine, and made a few Blue Hawaiians, and Sea Breezes. The South Bay weather was perfect as it always is.

As the sun went down and the band got into full swing, many of the guests got out on the dance floor. I even saw an elderly lady in a wheel chair roll up to the dance floor and then get up and dance. I admired her tenacity. She refuses to quit living. What is everyone else’s excuse? The host told me that most of the people at the party didn’t know each other, but everyone was getting along great. Good food, good drinks, and excellent atmosphere make for a great party. I have done many 50th birthday parties and it really is an important milestone in anyone’s life.

The South Bay is my favorite area in the Los Angeles basin, and I know there must be hundreds of people needing bartenders for all kinds of parties and events. I love going down there and hope to do many more birthday parties, weddings, fundraisers and other events. I am late writing this blog because I went to Montana on Labor Day and stayed for a week. It was a nice escape for a week, and now it is back to business. I had a cocktail party scheduled in Beverly Hills the first day back, and then have a wedding in Westlake Village this coming Saturday.

Sunset in Redondo Beach

Sunset in Redondo Beach

No excuses!

No excuses!

Shots!

Shots!

Private Bartender Attends El Monte Quincinera

31 Aug

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred, the private bartender service was honored to bartend at his first Quincinera in El Monte. For some reason I thought I was going to bartend a wedding, but when I got there I discovered it was a Quincinera. I was scheduled to arrive at four and arrived at 3:45 and there were already probably 100 people there. I panicked and thought that I had mixed up the times, but was informed that I wasn’t. It was hotter than blazes in the San Gabriel Valley and I set up my portable bar under a tent.

I started bartending immediately after setting up and I served Coronas, Modelos, and a variety of mixed drinks. Margaritas were the most popular, and I brought some of my special mix. I made many margaritas with that and then used regular margarita mix after that. I went through several bottles of tequila and served a lot of Jack Daniels. It was hot and we ran out of ice half way through. Somebody ran and got more ice.

I booked another Quincinera for September on the spot and was given a deposit. That was my one remaining Saturday in September that wasn’t booked, so that worked out well. There were many people at the party that spoke only Spanish, and I know enough Spanish to get by. There were some men there playing guitars and singing. I asked them to play my favorite Spanish song, Cucaruca tu, and they happily obliged. I remember once being in Acapulco at a bar and the guitar player was pissed off because the American kept requesting “La Bamba.” I asked him to sing Cucaruca Cu, and he was so happy – he sang his heart out.

Today I am private bartender to a backyard party in Redondo Beach, a community where I have a lot of history. I was bar manager at Frascati Ristorante on PCH before it closed, and have worked off and on for Le Rive Gauche in Palos Verdes Estates. I am leaving tomorrow for Montana for a week vacation, then have a cocktail party the first day back in Beverly Hills. Autumn is my favorite time of the year and am looking forward to bartending many nice events.

Shots!

Shots!

Pinata at El Monte Quincinera

Pinata at El Monte Quincinera

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.

 

Mobile Bartender Services Tehacapi Wedding

25 Aug

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles mobile bartender that travels all over Southern California, provided beverage service at a Tehacapi wedding in Kern County. The wedding was held at a new wedding venue at a very picturesque location outside of Tehacapi called the Rose Garden Estate. The weather and scenery couldn’t have been nicer. Once the sun went down, the sky was clearer and the stars were brighter than I have seen them in a long time. It is far enough away from LA for that.

Rose Garden Estate Wedding

Rose Garden Estate Wedding

First Dance

First Dance

Salud!

Salud!

I talked to owner who operates the venue and he said he built the business specifically to do weddings and events, and he also operates it as a bed and breakfast. He has all the tables, dance floor, lights, and almost everything else needed for a wedding right there. I brought my portable bar and set it up as people were rushing around preparing for the ceremony. I hope to bartend more events at that venue.

The ceremony was held outside on the lawn overlooking the valley. The reception and dinner was held in a big building there designed for that purpose. About seventy guests were in attendance. The bride wanted to limit the number of drinks each person had and she did that by issuing four tickets to each person. That way, theoretically each person’s limit would be four drinks. She did not wanting people getting drunk and out of control.

I told her there is almost no way to keep an alcoholic from getting drunk and out of control once they start drinking. They either have their own supply, or they beg other family members for extra tickets, etc. Well, fortunately, nobody seemed to be drunk and out of control. As a certified bartender it is my job to spot people who have had too much and cut them off accordingly. That rarely has to happen – I am happy to report that the vast majority of the people I serve at weddings and other events drink responsibly. There are usually a few that are a problem, but I know how to spot them.

We did run out of alcohol just as the party was ending, but there was a lot of beer left. I help my clients with their shopping lists and I am usually pretty accurate on how much they should by. Next weekend I have two weddings booked – one in Camarillo, and one in El Monte. The wedding season sows no signs of fading out, as I am continuing to book weddings into September, October, and November. The weather in Southern California is so nice, that there is plenty of work for a mobile bartender all year long.

Studio City Backyard Party

17 Aug

Last night I bartended a backyard party that served both as the host’s birthday party, and to celebrate the recent completion of landscaping to the backyard. It was another hot day in the San Fernando Valley and I couldn’t wait for the sun to go down as I set up my portable bar beside the pool. We were expecting around forty guests and I transferred the host’s liquor from his indoor bar to my portable bar by the pool. He had a pretty well staffed bar and we were able to cover almost all bases in the liquor department.

I made a batch of cucumber/mint syrup to try out at this party and it went over well. Several guests requested cucumber margarita over and over again. The cucumber syrup also mixes well with vodka and rum. It is very concentrated and I only put about an ounce of it into each drink. I can’t wait to try other concoctions, like peach, mango, and melon. Somebody else brought jalapeno syrup and I made her favorite drink with that. The second most popular drink of the night was the Malibu Bay Breeze.

The sun finally went down and there was some relief from the heat. Some of the guests brought their swimming trunks and dove into the pool, turning the backyard party into a pool party.  The host requested that I stay an hour longer than my scheduled time and I was glad to do it. I think it is foolish for a bartender to leave when a party is still going strong. I always stay later when requested and am glad to do so. When I schedule a party on a Saturday night, I have no other pressing business.

It was nice staying in my neighborhood doing parties for the last two weeks, but am going on the road again next weekend to do a wedding in Tehachapi. Then I have two more weddings to do the following weekend in Camarillo and El Monte. The wedding season obviously isn’t over because I have other weddings already booked in September and October.

People ask me how far in advance they should book me, and I say if you agree the price is right – do it now. About a week ago somebody was talking to me about a date in November and they said they would get back to me. The next day I booked a party on that same date and took a deposit. I always book with the first person who pays a deposit. Even if a better deal comes my way – I honor my agreements with those people who have paid me a deposit. You can follow me on Twitter here.

Portable bar on Studio City patio

Portable bar on Studio City patio

Guests mingling beside pool

Guests mingling beside pool

After sundown

After sundown

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