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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 01/23/2007

State of the Viewing Parties

By Fritz Hahn

With less than two weeks before the Super Bowl, Washington bars are warming up by holding viewing parties for the city's other favorite sport: Politics.

The State of the Union address isn't as big of an occasion as the November elections, but it's still a night when TVs across the city turn from ESPN to C-SPAN and the jukeboxes are turned off in favor of the president.

Capitol Hill is the natural destination for both Republicans and Democrats. Capitol Lounge and the Hawk and Dove will be going ahead with their regularly scheduled wing nights -- a dozen for a buck at the Hawk from 6 to 9, 10-cent wings from 9 to close at the Lounge -- and drink specials, though they'll have the TVs turned to the speech.

Also sticking with its usual happy hour is Lounge 201, where martinis are half-price all night. (This means you'll pay $5 to $6 for each.) Bartenders are introducing a new "Wave the Flag" martini for the evening. Hoping to appeal to politicos and cocktail lovers alike, 201 is offering a choice: The couch-filled "Executive Lounge" in the rear of the building will be open with the State of the Union on all televisions, complete with audio. The front bar area, meanwhile, will have the speech on flat-screen TVs but music playing on the stereo. (Still, says owner Matt Weiss, "If enough people want us to put the volume on, we will.")

Busboys and Poets has a well-deserved reputation as a liberal hangout, and tonight features open-mike poetry from 8 to 9, a viewing of the president's speech and then a town hall-style "open discussion." Admission is free. Down the block, Stetson's is showing the address in its upstairs room on its high-definition projection screen.

Although it's in Adams Morgan, Ventnor's Sports Cafe has cornered the market on State of the Union night with its annual drinking game. You pick a word like "Freedom," "Iraq" or "safer," and every time President Bush uses that word in his speech, you get a $1 shot, probably of the Jell-O variety. (Make sure you tell the bartender in advance what your word is.) The goal should be to pick something that won't be used too often but will still show up a few times. After all, you have to work in the morning.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | January 23, 2007; 9:00 AM ET
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Do you guys ever get out of DC on issues like this? Maybe I want to do this in VA.

Posted by: Stick | January 23, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

there's a viewing party at Bailey's in Balston.

Posted by: scooterL | January 23, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

also a lomger listing on wonkette

Posted by: scooter | January 23, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

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