Inauguration 2013 nightlife superlatives

January 22, 2013

Best open bar: The Kentucky Society of Washington’s Bluegrass Ball, where some of the state’s largest distilleries were dispensing three-finger pours of high-end whiskeys. Those in the know went to the Heaven Hill stand for a glass of Parker's Heritage Reserve, a spicy blended bourbon that checks in at 133.2 proof and sells for upwards of $80 a bottle, when you can find it. -- Fritz Hahn


(Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post via Instagram)

 

Best performance: A show-stopping set by Gladys Knight, whose voice sounded as lush and rich as ever at the Georgia State Society's gala. The Empress of Soul also gave the crowd exactly what they wanted, offering both “Georgia on My Mind” and “Midnight Train to Georgia” at the end of her performance. -- FH

Best performance 2.0: Beyonce's "Star Spangled Banner." Okay, so she probably lip-synched. But so what? As Chris Richards points out on the Style Blog, some of the most bedrock renditions of the National Anthem, like Whitney Houston's 1991 Super Bowl anthem, for example, were simulated. And yet we still remember them, just like we'll remember Bey's earpiece flip. -- Jess Righthand

Best overheard: "Believe it or not, the gay party ran out of champagne." -- Overheard at the HRC Ball. -- Maura Judkis

Best inaugural swag: The maple leaf mittens handed out at the Canadian Embassy's inauguration watch party. So warm! Duh, of course they are, they're from Canada. -- MJ

Best esoteric celebrity sighting: Evan Handler, who played Harry, Charlotte's second husband on "Sex And the City," at the Old Ebbitt Grill. -- MJ

Best stereotype coming to life: "I'm interested in liberating the hemp in America," said a woman in a caftan and flower headdress, at the Peace Ball. -- MJ

Best late-night party: The Chefs Ball at the Liaison Hotel didn't get rocking till nearly midnight on Saturday night, when a mix of media folk, chefs and foodies descended on the bar, the dance floor and the poor waiters serving canapes by Todd Gray (Equinox), Erik Bruner-Yang (Toki Underground) and Art Smith (Art and Soul). -- Lavanya Ramanathan

Most surprising celebrity interview: T-Pain, who discussed President Obama's tax proposals ("It just feels right," he said, "It feels fair.") in an interview at Saturday's Generation Now party. Noting that he's "big into art," the "I'm in Love With a Stripper" singer said he'd spent most of the day viewing the collections at the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum, where the party was held. -- LR

Worst party food: While the Inaugural Ball's "Freedom Kibble" (h/t @crkmccabe) was chronicled in a series of puzzled, grossed-out tweets, the heat-n-eat cups of curried lentil soup at the Generation Now party were rebuffed by pretty much every sequin-clad twenty-something in the building. Thank god there were cupcakes. -- LR

Best customer service: Oyamel. The Penn Quarter restaurant offered to charge any patron's Instagram-drained cell phone as they dined on Monday. -- JR

Best Fiasco: Lupe. The rapper performed at Sunday's StartUp RockOn party at the Hamilton Live and dropped some anti-Obama lyrics during his set before a) he was surrounded on stage by several large men in suits, thus ending his performance or b) he simply "left the stage earlier than planned," according to a statement by the party's organizers. Watch the video below; I'm sticking with A. -- Alex Baldinger

 
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Fritz Hahn | January 22, 2013