Washingtonian Channels a Vintage Ice Cream Parlor for Annual Party

By D. Channing Muller July 13, 2012, 12:44 PM EDT

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom set up its Shake 'Em Up bar in the V.I.P. reception with three women making the night's signature cocktails while singing and standing inside the mirrored bar.

Photo: Tony Brown/ for BizBash

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Washingtonian magazine hosted 1,900 people last night at its annual AT&T's Best of Washington party, which coincides with the July issue’s feature story and highlights the January issue’s Best Restaurants in Washington. The event returned to the National Building Museum’s grand hall, which Amaryllis designed to evoke the ambiance of a vintage ice cream parlor.

“We were inspired by a candy parlor in New York called Sweetie Pie that carried all vintage candy,” said the magazine’s events manager Eleni Savopoulos, who worked on the event with events coordinator Katharine Ragsdale and Rebecca Schwartz, director of marketing and events. “We wanted to make the event whimsical and remind guests of that feeling as a kid when they went to their corner story for candy.”

Amaryllis worked with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and AFR Event Furnishings to create the candy-shop atmosphere, complete with live models and bartenders dressed in vintage attire and white-and-pink lounge areas throughout the two floors of the party. Each of the night’s top sponsors got in on the theme as well with AT&T's snow-cone station, a caricaturist creating guest portraits in the BMW lounge, and Patrón’s branded muddling and dessert bar. The production team used pink, white, and orange signage and costumes for the waitstaff as well as candy-filled jars to decorate the space. The nearly 70 restaurants participating served mostly sweet bites with a few savory plates mixed in, such as chips and guacamole from Rosa Mexicano and mini burgers from BGR the Burger Joint.

While guests who purchased the s $175 gold V.I.P. ticket—general admission tickets had a $50 discount—explored the main hall for the first hour’s reception, the American Beverage Association hosted the Publishers Reception for the night’s 10 sponsors in a separate room on the second floor of the museum. Here Chicka Chicka Boom Boom setup its signature Shake ‘Em Up bar with three bartenders singing as they served drinks from within the bar itself while Occasions Caterers served a variety of passed hors d'oeuvres and fruit candy and cotton candy stations. Rappahannock River Oysters’ reps also taught guests how to shuck oysters.

**Correction: The story has been updated to reflect Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as the creators of the Shake 'Em Up bar.

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