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The expectations were high when the House of Sweden opened its doors for the swanky Friday Night After Dark soiree. More than 2,000 guests RSVP’d on Facebook, and hundreds of well-dressed visitors were lined up along the elegantly lighted façade.
What: The premiere of a series of cultural events called the House of Sweden After Dark, held in conjunction with the opening of the Swedish Embassy’s new Innovation and Technology exhibition. The embassy expects to schedule these events every two to three months to accompany art events. The Innovation and Technology program is part of the House of Sweden’s winter theme, called Sweden on the Potomac. The purpose of the exhibitions is to portray Sweden as a country where technology, research, and education have shaped a resourceful and inventive society.
Where: The Swedish Embassy, House of Sweden, 2900 K St., NW.
When: Friday, February 1, at 8 PM.
How much: A donation of $10 was recommended and seemed to be obligatory. The rest, including an open bar, was free.
Who: This bright-lights cocktail party seemed to have a moth-to-the-flame effect on Washingtonians, judging by how packed the event was. Inside, the atmosphere was initially tranquil and from every corner there were beautiful people to glance at. Was it the flattering light installations, or was this just a party for the young and beautiful?
Attire: Relaxed but tastefully chic outfits, mostly in dark colors, paired with pretty faces or layered pearl jewelry. Demin made its presence known, but jeans are always an alternative to the cocktail dress, aren’t they?
Drink: The open bar was simple but popular: lots of Swedish vodka. The alternatives ranged from bottled beers and wine to different kinds of vodka drinks in plastic cups—but given the open bar, nobody seemed to really care about the cups.
Food: Multitudes of Swedish meatballs were served on trays by embassy staff.
Scene: An hour after opening, the embassy was packed. Early on, the atmosphere was quiet and pleasant, but a few drinks later even the normally staid Swedes were getting loud. The music delivered by DJ Double O 7 invited everyone to dance on the lower level, and those hanging out on the ground floor could either enjoy the colorful technology exhibition or talk without disturbance from the pumping speakers.
Ouch: The lines—one to get in and one to get to the bar. At some point, it felt as though the evening were all about practicing the art of waiting.
Boldface names: 3 out of 5
Swankiness: 2.5 out of 5
Food and drink: 3 out of 5
Exclusivity: 3 out of 5
Total score: 11.5 out of 20