Classy home bar in Simi
Shaken Not Stirred opened the 2014 holiday season last night by bartending a holiday/birthday party in Simi Valley. The house where the party was held was fully decorated and in fact would probably win awards on Candy Cane Lane. The interior was very nicely decorated and they had the classiest home bar I have ever seen. The hostess was a former bartender and she stocked the bar to cover all bases.
I kept busy the entire night and it reminded me of working a busy bar at a hopping restaurant on a Saturday night. I made Cucumber martinis, dirty martinis, Lemon drops, Kamakazi shots, Margaritas, Pear Martinis, Gin Cosmos, and Bay Breezes. Firestone 805 was the beer of the night and that seems to be quite popular at many parties now.
Viva La Pasta catered the event and they supplied a nice assortment of pasta, salads, bruchetta, and Italian cold cuts. The hosts had cleared the living room out and turned it into a dance floor. They had a fantastic stereo system and people were dancing the entire night, fueled by the ten bottles of vodka I served. Overall, I think fun was had by all.
How to Hire a Bartender for a Holiday Party
I have a few dates booked in December, but still have many open. Here are a few things to consider if you are planning a holiday party and need a bartender:
- Don’t wait until the last minute. Book your party now, because every bartender in town will be booked up soon.
- If you have a party on a Friday or Sunday, it might be less expensive and easier to book a bartender because most of the events are on Saturday.
- Consult with your bartender about a shopping list and drink menu.
- Check out sales on alcohol and non alcoholic beverages and start stocking up, so you don’t have to rush around at the last minute.
Next weekend I am traveling to San Diego to bartend an engagement party, and then the following weekend I have events booked in Studio City and Yorba Linda. I’m sure I will book some company Christmas parties on weekdays during December. I will work seven days a week during December if necessary.
Blackjack table at Sweet 16 party
The Sky Room
Portable bar on the terrace
Saturday night, Shaken Not Stirred was hired to provide bartending service for a Sweet 16 party in the city of Cerritos. This was my first purely non-alcoholic party. The theme, was the “Great Gatsby,” and the décor of the venue was reminiscent of the 1920’2, and many of the guests wore costumes from the era. If I had been thinking, I would have worn my Lloyd the bartender costume. It was a very nice party for a girl’s 16th birthday party and it made me wish I could have done something like that for my daughter.
I came up with a non-alcoholic drink menu for the party that included virgin Pina Colladas, Mai Tais, Shirly Temples, and a mint sparkling lemonade. The Pina Colladas are always popular and I like seeing the looks on the kids face when they taste one for the first time. The Pina Collada is one drink that tastes good without alcohol – the Mai Tai and other drinks, probably not so much.
This was the second party this week where I brought my portable bar and table. The portable bar has served me well and I charge customers only $25 to bring it. It isn’t much, but it works and it is easily portable and I can set it up and break it down quickly. In the future, I hope to have something better that I can transport in my car. The party was held at the Cerritos Library Sky Room and Terrace, which is a very nice venue on the fourth floor of the Cerritos Public Library.
The Sweet 16 party had a caterer, DJ, photo booth, photographer, and blackjack table with dealer as well. The blackjack table was very popular and I got the dealer’s card. I’m sure people would love that at almost any party. There was a group of people gathered around that table the entire night. Pulchini Entertainment provided the blackjack table and dealer and it looks like they do all kinds of other gambling games as well.
I just booked a birthday party in Simi Valley for next weekend and an engagement party in San Diego for the Black Friday weekend. I bartend parties in San Diego occasionally if it is worth my while. I am getting many inquiries for Christmas parties and office parties next month and I think it it is going to be very busy, but so far there are many open dates. New Year’s Eve is also still open, so book your party now.
LA’s tallest building
Guests mingle in downtown Los Angeles
View of downtown from office window
Last night I bartended an office party in downtown Los Angeles for a top PR firm in the city. They were celebrating the opening of their new office on the tenth floor at a high rise downtown. Approximately 100 guests, including employees and clients attended the party and no expense was spared. They had an event photographer, sushi chefs, a DJ, and I brought my portable bar. Another bartender was also hired and I worked with him. We got along great and I will probably need his help again.
The office itself was very cool, and had an excellent view of the downtown area. There was a pool table in the center of the office and the employees were working on their pool shooting skills. It seems that the whole office is populated with women and there is only one male working there. He told me that he has a lot of fun working there. Everyone seemed so nice there, including the owner of the company.
We served Apothic Red wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Firestone IPA, and Stella, along with a signature drink – the Greyhound. Also known as a Salty Dog, the cocktail has vodka, grapefruit juice, and a salt rim. We went through almost three handles of vodka, so the drink was apparently popular. It was a quick three hour office party and I’m sure there will be many of these as the holiday season progresses. Tomorrow night I have a Quincinera in Cerritos scheduled.
I received an email last night with an inquiry for a December wedding. In Southern California, wedding season seems to last throughout the year, though most weddings are in the summer. I hope I get to bartend the December wedding, along with the many corporate events, office parties, and holiday parties that will take place in December. I also have birthday parties booked. I hope to do some repeat Christmas parties from last year. Some people have contacted me, but don’t have dates locked down yet. If you want to hire Shaken Not Stirred in December, it is best to book your date now.
I have bartended 30th, 40th, and 50th birthday parties, and last night in Woodland Hills I was the bartender at my first 60th birthday party. The guest of honor thought she was going to have dinner with a few relatives, and got the surprise to see over 30 of her friends and relatives in attendance. Her son and daughter had hired me as the bartender. I have bartended many surprise birthday parties and it is always nice to see the look on the surprisee’s face when they get surprised.
The house where the party was held was near Serrania Park in Woodland Hills where I have a lot of history. My kids attended Woodland Hills Elementary not far away, my wife worked at Woodland Hills Country Club, and we always brought our dog to Serrania Park. It is a really nice area in the San Fernando Valley and there are some very nice homes there. This house had a very nice bar and room for entertaining. They had purchased martini glasses for the party.
I made cucumber martinis, lemon drops, cosmos, and classic martinis. I make the cucumber syrup and a lot of people really like it, but it is very concentrated and sweet and I have to be careful not to use too much of it. Last night I used a shot glass to measure it and I think the results were better. One of my clients complained in his Yelp review that the drinks were too sweet and I certainly took note. When I was drinking – I hated sweet drinks.
Next week on Friday I will be bartending a 21st birthday party in downtown LA. That will be another first for me. It is a Moroccan themed party and I have to come up with some Moroccan themed cocktail ideas. Saturday I am bartending a strictly non-alcoholic party in Orange County and I came up with several non-alcoholic cocktails for that event. I am doing at least two events every week and hope during the holiday season, it will be at least three.
If you are looking at this right now and you need a last minute bartender, don’t hesitate to call me. I will help you if I can. There have been times when bartenders didn’t show up when they were scheduled or showed up drunk and I stepped in. Weekends are my time to work and I love bartending parties all over Southern California and meeting new people. Call me! Follow me on Twitter.
Crystal decanters and tulips
Drinks waiting to go out
The Westlake Village Junior Women’s Club held their annual fundraiser boutique at St. Maixilmilian Kolbe Church in Oak Park. Shaken Not Stirred provided bartenders and served wine to approximately 400 guests. The church has a very nice event space where dozens of vendors set up shop for the “Gingerbread Boutique” that serves as a fundraiser for the women’s group and kicks off the holiday shopping season.
We served over seven cases of wine during the four hour period. We were serving Zinfindel, Cabernet, and Chardonay. I recommended two bartenders to the host because there were over two hundred guests. As it turned out, I think I could have handled it myself because the guests filtered in over the course of the night. There was never a line of people waiting to be served. We steadily served people during the four hour period.
Stonefire Grill of Thousand Oaks provided the catering and they had some very interesting and tasty food, including a cauliflower salad that was just excellent. I have done several of these events and hope to more of them as the holiday season progresses. I love bartending events on weekdays. I have one office party scheduled on a Wednesday in Palm Springs next month. Hopefully I can book something else in that area on Tuesday or Thursday that same week. Shaken Not Stirred provides bartenders and servers for fundraisers, office parties, corporate events, and openings, among other events.
Tonight I am traveling to Woodland Hills to bartend a birthday party. I will be serving Lemon Drops, Cucumber martinis, and classic martinis. I really like a making martinis and am pretty good at it. I really like using real martini glasses as well, which I will be doing tonight. Next weekend I am bartending a 21st birthday party at a loft in downtown Los Angeles, which should be interesting. If you are planning a holiday party and have not yet booked a bartender – don’t wait. Contact me today and put down a small deposit. I will hold the date for you.
Bartender modeling wine
Guests mingle poolside
Joshua Tree scenery
What is in those Mojitos???
Saturday night I traveled to Palm Springs to bartend a November pool party. What is wrong with that sentence? Well, most areas of the United States are not conducive to pool parties on November first, and actually Palm Springs usually isn’t. In fact, Saturday was probably the first cold and windy day of the season, but the air temperature was probably around 70, and they had the pool warmed to bathwater temperature. Many of the guests were from NYC and even across the pond – the UK, so this was a treat for them.
I set up my portable bar next to the pool and I served Mojitos, Cosmos, and Cadillac Margaritas. The party was actually kind of a late wedding party for the hosts, and a house warming party for their Palm Springs house. They use the house as a vacation rental, and were taking advantage of an open weekend. I have bartended many parties at similar rental units around Palm Springs. People from the colder regions love them, and I certainly understand why. Soho Tacos catered the party with their taco cart and I have worked with them before. They make some excellent fish tacos.
I bartend parties in Palm Springs about once a month. I like going out there as kind of a paid vacation. I have a motel that is reasonable where I stay, and I just enjoy myself. There is something about getting away to the desert that cleanses my soul. This time, I had a new girl, Brier, who helped me. She live out there and I am glad to have a new contact in the Coachella Valley. The hosts had here taking pictures with a point and shoot camera. I have another party scheduled in Indian Wells in December and hope to book some others back to back.
The Palm Springs pool party didn’t really start happening until everybody jumped in the pool. Then the liquor started flowing. I brought drinks to people in the pool and was happy to do so. I like bartending parties where they keep me busy. It was another very successful event and I think everybody had a good time.
The next day, instead of driving straight back to Los Angeles, I decided to visit Joshua Tree National Park. Wow, what a fantastic place. I was so glad to have done that. It is one of those things that I always wanted to do, but never made the time. I highly recommend and have included one of the pictures here. This coming week I have a corporate event scheduled in Westlake Village and another birthday party on Saturday in Woodland Hills, in the wonderful San Fernando Valley where I call home.
Saturday night, shaken Not Stirred dispatched two bartenders to Cherry Valley to man the bar at a wedding at the scenic Edward Dean Museum. Cherry Valley is just a little west of the Morongo Casino at the base of the hills. Approximately 130 guests gathered at the museum to celebrate the wedding. The museum has a terrace area and stage where they set up the bar and tables and the weather was perfect for an October wedding.
We were scheduled to arrive at four to set up the bar and start serving at five. Traffic was heavy and we arrived right on time. The ceremony ended earlier than expected and guests started lining up for cocktails at about 4:30 before were done setting up. We handled it and served everyone in the line pretty fast, but that shows how important being on time is. Had we been fifteen or twenty minutes late it would have been a disaster. I never like cutting it that close and that is why when I travel long distances, I like to get into the area two or three hours before the event. I have NEVER been late to an event yet, and don’t intend to start doing so. My son, Willie assisted me and was invaluable as always.
We served Cotton Candy martinis and White Russians (Caucasians) as specialty drinks. Fortunately, we had real martini glasses. The Cotton Candy martini is made with vodka, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and then topped off with a wisp of cotton candy. It sounded a bit sweet for me, but was popular with the ladies. The Caucasian, as the Big Leibowski calls them, is vodka, Kahlua, and cream. That one you have to be careful with if drinking. It has a habit of sneaking up on you and biting you right in the ass. We drained a sixteen gallon keg right about the time the party was over.
The wedding seemed to be a grand success. The bride and groom looked very happy together and I wish them the absolute best. The venue required that the place be cleared by 11pm, and so the wedding party ended abruptly at 10, and everyone helped break the whole thing down. It was amazing, that within minutes all of the tables and everything was cleared.
Next weekend I am driving back out that way again to bartend a birthday party in Palm Springs. I have more event scheduled in Woodland Hills, Westlake Village, and Orange County later in November. Then the busy Christmas party season begins.
Tables set up at Edward Dean Museum
Willie guarding the tip jar
The bouquet toss