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Change of Scenery: Outside of Official Inaugural Celebrations, D.C. Was a Cold -- and Much Cooler -- Place

Revelers without big bucks to drop on tickets to the official inaugural balls, or other star-studded events, still kept Washington partying till the wee hours.

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By Lavanya Ramanathan and Rachel Saslow
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 25, 2009

This is how the rest of us partied. The ones without $1,000 to drop on the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball or the connections to schmooze with Jessica Alba and Ludacris ("I need an invitation to get into Fur? On a Sunday?"). Fueled by Red Bull and Washington-as-center-of-universe adrenaline, we danced until 4 a.m., then lined up for snacks. We never saw Obama -- except at the art space curated by Shepard Fairey's crew, where perhaps we saw too much of him. Some performers interpreted the transfer of power as an occasion to hurl themselves headfirst from the Black Cat stage or roll around on a bed of glass. We could get used to this kind of 'round-the-clock action.

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Late Nights at the Bars

Jan. 16-18, downtown Washington

After much conjecture about what people would do if they could party like New Yorkers -- at bars that serve alcohol till 4 a.m. -- what Washingtonians did was extend their usual bar-hopping to four long nights, simply because they could.

Friday was the first night of later hours at bars across the city and 1 a.m. found all four stories of the Park on 14th Street NW packed. The next night, you could find revelers closing down Shadow Room, then ESPN Zone (it was a big weekend for sports), then Indebleu, and if there was time, Ibiza.

Many bar staffers would also be out till 6 a.m. -- working. Hillary Morton of K Street's Tattoo Bar was pragmatic: The long hours would be a challenge, but it was nothing a little Red Bull (and the bump in tips) couldn't fix.

Busboys and Poets, open 24 hours a day for five days, became the place to be at 5:30 a.m. The Brightest Young Things inaugural watch party at Bohemian Caverns on U Street NW opened at 9:30 a.m.

At 4 a.m. Sunday, people were still arriving at 88's all-night party at BeBar in Shaw. And after last call (which no one even bothered to actually call), the bar was still ringing up sales . . . of Red Bull. "It's this big social experiment," said organizer David Fogel. "We're supposed to go till 11." As in: 11 a.m.

So if we left for a nap and came back at sunrise, the crowd would still be dancing? Fogel shot us an hesitant smile. "Text me."

-- L.R.

***

Obama Wonderama

Jan. 18, Warehouse Theater

Does anything say "I Love America" like red-white-and-blue pasties?


CONTINUED     1              >

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