New look, who dis?
Washington’s Hamilton Hotel debuted a glammy redesign and a revamped street-level restaurant and bar this week, meaning a party was obviously called for. So on Wednesday night, a crowd of VIP customers, influencer types and a handful of journos gathered to kick the new space’s proverbial wheels — in other words, to sip champagne from coupes and snag as many of the passed hors d’oeuvres as possible.
The sleek space on 14th Street NW and the new eatery, Via Sophia, which replaces the dull 14K, ticked off plenty of mod-hospitality boxes: a moody craft cocktail bar where a mixologist will “curate” “bespoke” drinks, and a pedigreed chef (Colin Clark comes from Le Diplomate and Fiola Mare). And there’s a socially conscious twist, natch: The uniforms worn by the hotel staff were designed by Ashley Biden, the daughter of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden. Her apparel company, Livelihood, makes made-in-the-U.S. hoodies, with a portion of the profits to go to community foundations around the country.
Ashley Biden, who served as the Tuesday soiree’s official host, greeted friends (and a gaggle of her young nieces) with hugs. “When you feel good in what you’re wearing, you hold yourself a little higher,” she said of the uniforms. “It helps with morale.”
The would-be first daughter was not interested in talking politics. “My dad is the right man for the job — he will unite the country,” was about all we could get out of her on the subject, though she said she would eventually be joining her parents on the campaign trail. Instead, she was more interested in the nexus of fashion and do-gooding. Good thing: Mark Driscoll, the Hamilton’s managing director, interrupted the party to present Biden’s nonprofit with a $15,000 donation.
Also there to applaud was her mom, Jill Biden, who seemed to try to blend into the crowd, cocktail in hand, gathered around the cheese tray. As if that was happening — the former second lady was met with cheers and photo requests.