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Rahm Emanuel closed out Inauguration Day with private party

January 22, 2013|By Katherine Skiba
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and wife Amy Rule greet other dignitaries before the ceremonial inauguration of President Obama.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and wife Amy Rule greet other dignitaries before… (Alex Garcia / Chicago Tribune )

WASHINGTON — With Buddy Guy rocking the stage, Absolut vodka flowing and waiters passing out crab cakes and mini-sliders, Rahm Emanuel’s late-night party closed out the Inauguration Day festivities.

The blues guitarist cranked out “Sweet Home Chicago” just past 1 a.m. Tuesday in front of a crowded dance floor in a nightclub packed with political operatives, Democratic appointees, lobbyists, journalists and party crashers.

The private party, which began at 11 p.m. Monday at a nightclub near the White House, was billed as “Midnight Underground, a Chicago-style After-Hours.”

PHOTOS: President Obama's second inauguration

Seen: Host Emanuel, of course, plus Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Donovan Pepper, a Deerfield, Ill.-based lobbyist for Walgreen Co.

Eaten: half-portion hot dogs with the works, chicken skewers with salsa verde, spinach and basil mini-calzones.

Imbibed: The featured cocktail was the Chicago Breeze, or Absolut splashed with cranberry, pineapple and orange juices.

Worn: Sequined mini-dresses, tie-less tuxedos, ball gowns and blue jeans.

It was just after midnight when Emanuel welcomed guests to a gathering that was hipper, hotter and more intimate than the party-in-an-airplane-hangar feel for the official inaugural ball.

Blues guitarist Keb’ Mo’ also rocked Rahmfest, in a sort of life-imitates-art moment. Keb’ Mo’ had a 2006 cameo in the final episode of “The West Wing,” playing on the podium at the inauguration of Jimmy Smits’ President Matt Santos.

QUIZ: How much do you know about presidential inaugurations?

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kskiba@tribune.com

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