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Party-goers filled the National Building Museum for our annual Best of Washington event. Photograph by Dan Swartz.

More than 2,000 guests and restaurateurs gathered at the National Building Museum for the annual sold-out AT&T Best Of Washington party! Partygoers enjoyed an evening of delicious bites, libations, and great conversation at the “Old Hollywood Glamour" themed event featuring more than 80 of Washingtonian’s top-rated restaurants. The event benefitted the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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Posted at 02:12 PM/ET, 07/01/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
How the group plans Washington's poshest parties in a Hyattsville industrial park. By Carol Ross Joynt
Photograph by Dan Chung.

Some of the poshest parties in town get their start these days in an unglamorous industrial park in Hyattsville. In January, Susan Gage Caterers moved its 125 employees into a new 32,000-square-foot facility, from which flow power breakfasts, lunches, and dinner parties for Cabinet members, museums, and Fortune 500 companies. Spring and fall, the busiest seasons, can mean helping staff a White House state dinner one night and decking out a top gala the next, with a dozen events in between. Gage—shown here in the black dress, conferring with event supervisor Gege Silvain—founded the firm in her Fort Washington garage in 1986. The new space has room for a kitchen 1½ times the size of a basketball court, five walk-in refrigerators, a bakery, and a sewing room where seamstresses produce Gage’s signature: uniforms that match the linens—down to waiters’ neckties—and often the flowers, too.

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Posted at 09:34 AM/ET, 06/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The case could affect many who use the house-sharing service. By Benjamin Freed
The rooftop pool makes Doug Jefferies's house one of DC's most popular Airbnb rentals. Photograph via Airbnb.

The District government is suing the owner of a Dupont Circle townhouse over its frequent use as a lodge and events space booked on Airbnb. The case, filed last week and made public Friday by DC Attorney General Karl Racine, charges Doug Jefferies, known to many as the founder of Results Gym and Stroga yoga studio, with operating a residential housing business, public hall, boarding house, and bed and breakfast without the proper city-mandated licenses.

Much of the suit concerns a year's worth of noise complaints against Jefferies's residence. The 5,700-square-foot house, located at 2220 Q Street, Northwest, is frequently rented out by large groups that use it to host parties that often go into late hours. Among its amenities are a spacious game room, multiple roof decks, and a rooftop pool. While the suit specifically mentions 14 responses by the Metropolitan Police Department for noise complaints, it also reads that police were dispatched to the house more than 100 times over a nearly one-year period beginning in April 2014. The suit also mentions noise complaints that were filed with the mayor's office and DC Council member Jack Evans, who represents Dupont Circle.

An affidavit signed by a neighbor states that a party on April 12 with between 40 and 50 guests went until 3 AM the following morning despite repeated police visits:

MPD returned at 12:30 AM, and asked the host to turn down the music or face the prospect of having the party shutdown. The young man pleaded with them, stating that he “was military” and shouldn’t have the party shutdown because of this issue. Police issue a warning and the party continued with loud music. The young man tells one of his friends that using the military excuse “was a good line” for having sure the party continues on. People in high-octane motorcycles began to leave the party, making a loud commotion.

While the suit against Jefferies leads with the noise violations, it could set a much greater precedent. The case appears to be the District's first against a property owner for doing business on vacation-rental sites like Airbnb, thrusting DC back into the murky legal atmosphere created by the so-called "sharing economy" as it was in 2011 when city officials originally took an oppositional stance toward car-hailing companies like Uber.

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Posted at 11:56 AM/ET, 05/08/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The mansion annually hosts "Vanity Fair's" soiree after the White House Correspondents Dinner. By Carol Ross Joynt
Photograph by Dan Chung.

The French ambassador’s residence on Kalorama Road is the more intimate of our oldest ally’s DC venues—most public events happen at Maison Française on Reservoir Road—but the reopening of the home in February after a two-year renovation was a welcome restorative for all of Washington.

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Posted at 07:00 AM/ET, 05/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Party-goers voted for their favorite places in Washington while indulging in margaritas and guacamole.
The voting party was a packed-house as party-goers kick-off the Best of Washington season! Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Washingtonian kicked-off the Best of Washington season with a happy hour at Mission on April 30. With a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, attendees enjoyed libations including Mission’s signature Mission Margarita as well as various draft beers and house wines. While indulging in delicious chips and guacamole, party-goers voted for their favorite restaurants, gyms, and more. Guests were able to purchase discounted tickets for the big event: the AT&T Best of Washington party on Wednesday, June 17 at the National Building Museum.

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Posted at 12:06 PM/ET, 05/04/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photos from one of our tastiest events of the year.
Celebrity Cruises partnered with Crepe Love to set up a delicious crepe station for guests. Photograph by Michael Bennett Kress.

Brunch-lovers flocked to Washingtonian’s sold-out “Brunch & Bloodys” event on Saturday, March 21, at the Toolbox Pilates Art Studio in Dupont Circle. Guests indulged in bottomless brunch bites including fried chicken and waffles by Café Rue, crepes from Crepe Love, and meatloaf egg sliders from Ris. Party-goers paired their delectable treats with Bloody Marys, mimosas from the Celebrity Cruises Mimosa Bar, Grapefruit Harvest Abita, and Belvedere’s Wild Berry Lemonade specialty cocktail. Buffalo & Bergen won the “Best Bloody Mary” challenge with their creative and delicious Bloody Mary “Lox’d & Loaded,” which featured an "everything spice" Bloody Mary garnished with a bagel and lox.

This event would not have been possible without our valued partners Celebrity Cruises, Belvedere, Abita, Booth-o-Rama, DJ Biks, R&R Catering, and the Toolbox Pilates Art Studio.

Participating Restaurants: Amphora Restaurant; Astro Doughnuts; Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar and Eatery; Buffalo & Bergen; Café Rue; Crepe Love; District Donut; DGS Delicatessen; Heckman’s Delicatessen; La Tomate; Leonora Bakery; Mason Dixie Biscuits; Old Angler’s Inn; Peregrine Espresso; RareSweets; Ris; The Coupe; and The Diner.

All photographs by Michael Bennett Kress.

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Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 03/25/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Relive the fun of our annual anti-Valentine's Day event.
Photographs by Andrew Propp.

Washingtonian hosted an Anti-Valentine’s Day Singles Soiree on February 14 at Penn Social. The area’s most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes participated in an ice-breaker game provided by A Little Nudge and competed for love in Singled Out DC by District Trivia. The contestants of the dating show—Patrick Leddy, Evin Lipman, James Majewski, and Kristen Anderson—were given a gift certificate to South Moon Under to dress for their first dates as well as a free round of drinks provided by Penn Social. Partygoers took festive photos in the photo booth by Tickled and enjoyed Jameson, Blue Moon, and South Moon Under branded cupcakes by Sprinkles.

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Posted at 03:38 PM/ET, 02/18/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
And then the fire alarm went off. By Benjamin Freed
Celebratory T-shirts. Photographs by Benjamin Freed.

Alexandria Public Schools teacher Ryan Suto was lucky today's schedule only featured administrative meetings. Suto, who teaches English as a Second Language, ducked out of work at 1:30 so he could get to Penn Social and raise a glass to the DC Council's vote approving the use of city funds to assemble the land for a new stadium for his beloved DC United soccer team.

"Luckily, since there were no classes today, it was okay," he said, wearing one of the freshly minted T-shirts United was giving out at the door.

Nearly an hour after the Council voted unanimously to spend up to $150 million on the nine-acre site on Buzzard Point in Southwest, United players and front-office staff walked into the Penn Quarter bar, trailed by their most fervent supporters, in celebration of a public-private partnership designed to produce the most expensive stadium in Major League Soccer history. The 20,000-seat venue, which could open in time for the 2017 season, is being touted by DC's politicos as a signature achievement in economic development.

"Vamos!" said Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser, whose push to remove a land swap with the development firm Akridge for the Frank D. Reeves Center at valuable 14th and U streets, Northwest, actually complicated the stadium deal in its final steps.

"This is a great day for the District of Columbia," said Council member Jack Evans, a longtime proponent of stadium development deals.

But a repeat of the apartments, condominiums, offices, shops, and restaurants that swept through Navy Yard after the construction of Nationals Park isn't guaranteed. A $200,000 study published last month on the stadium's cost and potential benefits stated that "Buzzard Point is highly unlikely to repeat the rapid large-scale development boom."

Still, United's most die-hard fanatics are offering to jump-start the investment. Back in June 2013, when DC officials and the team first announced the stadium plan, Donald Wine suggested that he would move to Southwest DC so he could live just blocks from soccer.

"That's the idea, now it's a reality," said Wine, an attorney and a member of the Screaming Eagles, a fan club that gets rowdy in the stands at RFK Stadium, the crumbling, 53-year-old American football coliseum in which United has been stuck since entering MLS in 1996.

The party moved outside briefly.

As for Wine's fellow superfans who skipped work today, they feel their team is closer to equal footing with Washington's franchises in more popular American sports leagues.

"We're like the Green Bay Packers of MLS," said Jayme Thysell, a government contractor who moonlights as the drummer for the Screaming Eagles and other supporter groups.

Okay, but the Packers are operated as a nonprofit public trust in a small city in Wisconsin. United is in a major East Coast city and is owned by Erick Thohir, an Indonesian media billionaire with holdings around the world.

"I'm talking about earning trophies and tradition," Thysell clarified. "DC United fans, we act more like a small-market team."

He might be on to something there. While many players from the Nationals, Wizards, or Washington's NFL team might be easily recognized around town, soccer players can slip in and out of a crowd without much notice (I didn't realize till well after the event that the short blond guy with whom I exchanged brief pleasantries by a buffet table was actually forward Chris Rolfe, who scored six goals in 21 games during United's 2014 season). Thysell did have one idea to build United's profile around Washington, though it's unlikely the team would go in for it.

"What this team needs is a bad boy or a diva," he said. "I don't want a Ray Rice, but we need that bad boy to get in the news so the team gets in the news."

There might have been a malcontent somewhere in the building. The fire alarm went off about 3 PM, forcing the team's players and hangers-on to evacuate the basement bar and head back into the daylight. The all-clear sounded ten minutes later.

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

Posted at 04:09 PM/ET, 12/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A recap of our whiskey and fine spirits festival at Union Market's Maurice Electric Warehouse.
Photograph by Andrew Propp.

On Wednesday, December 3, guests celebrated with Washingtonian at On The Rocks, our annual whiskey and fine spirits festival, held at Union Market’s Maurice Electric Warehouse. Party-goers enjoyed spirits from Heaven Hill Distilleries, A. Smith Bowman Distillery, Lyon Distilling Company, Virginia Distillery Company, Bulleit, Beam Suntory, George Dickel Distillery, Van Gogh Imports, and more. Windows Catering provided delectable fare, including a mac and cheese bar, a slider station, fried chicken bites, and shrimp skewers.

Presenting sponsor Bentley wowed guests with its luxurious vehicles, allowing them to experience the cars from the driver's seat and pose for photos. This event would not have been possible without Bentley and our other valued partners Amaryllis, Windows Catering, Digital Lightning, MyDeejay, and Social Light.

Click through the slideshow for more photos from the event.

Participating Spirits: A.Smith Bowman Distillery, Angel's Envy, Beam Suntory, Bulleit, Catoctin Creek Distillery, George Dickel Distillery, Green Hat Gin, Heaven Hill, Lyon Distilling Company, Papa's Pilar Rum, Top of the Hill Distillery, Van Gogh Imports, Virginia Distillery Company, and WhistlePig.

Posted at 03:14 PM/ET, 12/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Guests enjoyed a private moving screening, cocktails from MET Bethesda, and more.
Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

Guests came out to celebrate the premiere of the new Westfield Montgomery on Thursday, November 13. Attendees were greeted by Westfield’s valet services and escorted into the event by Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and James Bond characters. Once inside, party-goers enjoyed cocktails from MET Bethesda’s on-tap Martini Bar and indulged in numerous hors d’oeuvres, including a raw bar and carving station. After the event, guests were ushered into the new ArcLight Cinema to see a special showing of Casino Royale.

Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 11/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()