Social Diary: Star-Studded Speakeasy Precedes WHCD

Celebs get cozy at Eric Podwall’s third annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner pre-party. 

<strong><p class=Candace Crawford-Romo, , and (Photo by )” width=”595″ height=”325″ /> Candice Crawford-Romo, Tony Romo, and Keleigh Sperry (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Eric Podwall)

With all the long lines, crowded parties and celeb selfie-taking over White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend, there was one party that stood out from the rest for its exclusivity and relaxed elegance. Hollywood talent manager Eric Podwall‘s third annual WHCD soiree was held at Top Chef star Spike Mendelsohn‘s Dupont Circle prohibition-themed speakeasy Sheppard last Friday night and featured amazing politically-themed drinks from renowned craft cocktail expert David Strauss (our favorite: the “Grasshopper,” a creme de menthe concoction that tasted “exactly like a Thin Mint,” as one guest gushed).

Those lucky enough to be invited mingled freely with the likes of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and his wife Candice Crawford-Romo, “Glee” star Matthew Morrison, former ‘NSYNCer JC Chasez, Divergent actor Miles Teller, X-Men director Bryan Singer, Uber founder Travis Kalanik, “Vampire Diaries” star Nina Dobrev, MSNBC host Tamron Hall and current and former Obama Administration officials Ellie Schafer, Jon Favreau, Reggie Love and Kelly Miterko.

"The Grasshopper" cocktail with creme de menthe, creme de cacao, cream and fresh mint (Courtesy Photo)

“The Grasshopper” cocktail by David Strauss with creme de menthe, creme de cacao, cream and fresh mint (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Eric Podwall)

Podwall, a University of Maryland alum, tells us he loves returning to his college stomping grounds, and had the idea for the party after attending for five years with clients and friends.

“The parties throughout the weekend were getting too big – everyone was spending most of their time taking pictures and not enjoying themselves as much,” he says. “So three years ago, I thought, why don’t I just put my own party together?”

And what about the guest list?

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Ben Schreckinger, Matthew Morrison, Renee Morrison, Kyle Schuneman and Eric Podwall (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Eric Podwall)

“I wanted to create a more intimate experience where actors, musicians, athletes, politicians, White House staffers, reporters, entertainment industry executives and business executives can mingle and actually get to know each other. By keeping the party to under 100 guests, we create a more relaxed and fun vibe.”

The evening was definitely memorable, going on into well after midnight. At one point Tony Romo took over the music and DJ-ed for the lively crowd. Turns out he’s a fan of Journey and Guns N’ Roses.

Also spotted: PepsiCo President Bradley Jakeman, Booz Allen’s Michael Dumlao, Rock the Vote’s Kiki Burger, film exec Franklin Leonard, interior designer Kyle Schuneman, BizBash’s Carrie Sims, producer Simon Kinberg and Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.

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