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Posted at 3:33 PM ET, 10/ 1/2008

Debate Viewing, Round 2

By Fritz Hahn

So last week we did a big rundown of all the debate-watching events around town. With two debates taking place over the next week -- vice presidential candidates on Thursday, then the presidential candidates on Tuesday -- you won't be surprised to learn that many bars are going to be getting into the spirit again, with viewing parties and food and drink specials. (And, to be honest, many of them are sticking with the same formula they used last time around.)

The bars that follow are all showing the debate with sound, because it's no fun trying to read the typo-ridden subtitles in a crowded bar.

Non-Partisan Bars | Thursday's Partisan Parties | Tuesday's Partisan Parties

B. Smith's
Union Station's presidential suite, used by chief executives from Taft to Eisenhower and many kings and queens of the world, is now occupied by B. Smith's southern restaurant. Seems like a natural place to watch the debate, especially because the bar will have happy hour prices all night and offer free snacks during the debate. Show your partisan pride with themed cocktails, including the "Obama Bahama Mama" and the "McCain Mt. Gay mojito." Everyone who attends has a chance to win dinner at the restaurant.

Single Volunteers of D.C. is sponsoring a "Singles in the Sector" debate-watching event for single nonprofit workers, lawyers, government employees and anyone else who "cares about making a difference in the world!" Complimentary appetizers and drink specials are offered from 7 to 10.

Busboys and Poets
All three locations of Busboys and Poets (14th Street, Shirlington and the new City Vista at 5th and K) are hosting watch parties with full sound. Ask about the special drinks created specifically for the occasion, like the "Obama" and the "Biden." U Street and Shirlington will have the debate on 10-foot projection screens, while City Vista will have it on all five TVs.

Capitol Lounge
Capitol Lounge's Tuesday and Thursday all-night happy hours are its most popular, so expect a young crowd to pack the place for $10 pitchers (Budweiser, Bud Light, Capitol Amber and Yuengling) on Thursday from 7 to close, and 25-cent wings on Tuesday. Get there before 7 for $3 Bud and Bud Light bottles, $3 Yuenglings, $3 house ambers and $4 rail drinks. It's not a stone-silent room, but that's probably not what you're looking for on Capitol Hill anyway.

What Duffy's lacks in square inches of televisions is made up for with $3 domestic canned beers all night.

Hawk and Dove
Again, all 16 TVs will be tuned to the debate, and the noisy crowds will arrive early for happy hour deals: $1.75 Miller Lite pints and $7 Miller Lite pitchers until 9 on Thursday, and $2 Miller Lite drafts until 9 on Tuesday. (You have a better chance of scoring a seat if you arrive before 7 for happy hour, when bottles are $2 and rail drinks are $1.95.)

Lounge 201
Special drinks are offered for each debate. Thursday, watch the debates in the back "executive lounge" rooms on large TVs while sipping a Palin Punch or Biden Bellini ($7.50 each.) On Tuesday, the upscale cocktail bar pours McCain McTinis and Obama Mamas. Independent voters and self-proclaimed mavericks can skip the political drinks and order half-price martinis from 201's extensive menu.

The Pour House
With the baseball playoffs in full swing, the debate will be shown in the upstairs Top of the Hill lounge, though a 10-foot projection screen should make viewing easy. Drink specials, which include $4 Amstel Lite and Blue Moon and $1 off all glasses of wine, aren't really that special, and run until 8 p.m.

The Red Derby
The Columbia Heights bar is projecting the debate onto its wall. Arrive early -- like 7:30 -- to score banquette seats.

The sound will be on. The beer will be cold. What else do you need?

Summers Grill and Sports Pub
The "Non-Partisan Debate Watching Party" -- hosted by a McCain supporter and self-proclaimed Reagan Democrat -- splits Summers into two sides, with the Republicans in one room watching the event on Fox News and the Democrats on the other viewing CNN. Of course, the fun happens when seats are filled up and the Republicans have to squeeze into the Democrat side and vice versa. Attendees are requested to arrive by 7:30 to secure seats. One thing everyone can agree on: The restaurant will be non-smoking for the night.

Tortilla Coast
There's no big party planned, but the debates will be shown on all the TVs in the bar area, and the usual happy hour specials -- $3.25 Mexican beer and $14.95 rib platters on Thursday, 50-cent tacos and $2.50 Budweiser and Bud Light on Tuesday -- will be in effect.

Union Pub
Both of the national pastimes get screen time at Union Pub. This Thursday, the Cubs-Dodgers game will be on some TVs (probably with sound at the front bar) while the debate will be on others (most likely with sound in the main dining room, where the giant projection TVs are). If the National League division series goes to five games, the situation could repeat. Everyone in the house, though, can enjoy a plethora of drink specials, including $4 Red State and Blue State cocktails each night. On Thursday, the all-night deals include $10 pitchers of house beer, $14 pitchers of frozen margaritas and $5 cocktails, while Tuesday brings $10 pitchers of beer and half-price wings all night and $2.50 rail drinks until 10.

Thursday's Partisan Parties
Bailey's Pub and Grille (Ballston)
The official (and smoke-free) gathering place for Arlington Democrats will play the debate on multiple TVs and feature games like buzzword bingo. Admission is free for members and $10 for everyone else, and that price includes one drink. Doors open at 8.

Bailey's Pub and Grille (Crystal City)
Bailey's Pub and Grille seems to be the fault line of Arlington politics. While the Democrats will be at Bailey's in Ballston, the Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church Young Republican groups will be gathered in the back room of the Crystal City sports bar. An RSVP is requested to join the Republican event; admission is free and doors open for happy hour at 8.

The Latinas for Biden party in Guarapo's upstairs lounge kicks off with "music and mingling" from 7 to 9, and offers special drinks (including "shots of hope" and "shots of change") during the debate. Ladies receive gifts like lipstick, MAC cosmetics and hair products, though the event is open to everyone. There's a suggested donation of $25.

The viewing party, which benefits get-out-the-vote efforts in Virginia, is back for another go-round at Leftbank, with specials ($4 beers, $5 rail drinks) and a DJ afterward. There's a $10 cover charge.

Mezza Luna
DC for Obama is sponsoring this party, which includes the debate on a 100-inch flatscreen and four 32-inch flatscreens. RSVPs are requested.

Porter's Dining Saloon
The invitation to the Campaign for America's Future gathering in the basement bar at Porter's reads, "Come watch the Vice Presidential debate with us and see how many different questions 'Caribou Barbie' can answer with the same 3 talking points." Guess you can figure out where they fall on the ideological spectrum. Drink specials will be offered from 8 to 11.

Varsity Grille
The Greater Laurel-Beltsville Democratic Club is taking over the new Varsity Grille restaurant in bar in College Park, which has 20 flatscreen TVs, beginning at 8 p.m.

Tuesday's Partisan Parties
Bailey's Pub and Grille (Ballston)
Arlington Democrats are back for the presidential debate, with games in hand. Admission is free for members and $10 for everyone else, and that price includes one drink.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern
National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, which supports conservation and environmental legislation, is hosting a pre-debate "tailgate party" at the Indiana Avenue sports bar, beginning at 5:30, followed by a viewing party on the tavern's flatscreen TVs. A $35 donation is requested, and you can RSVP here.

Debate-watching parties at Stetson's are technically non-partisan affairs, even if the crowd leans toward the Democrats. Before Tuesday's debate, though, there's a Cocktails for Change fundraiser for Obama in the upstairs bar from 6 to 9. There's a suggested $20 donation, and you can RSVP here.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | October 1, 2008; 3:33 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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From reading this, I guess the Republicans can just stay home.

Posted by: Jobo | October 1, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Yeah probably. Palin is going to make quite a spectacle of herself... it might be a little embarrassing for the republicans.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure she will, but then Crazy Joe has been known to go off on occassion. Perhaps the network should place a Gaffe-O-Meter at the bottom of the screen.

Posted by: Jobo | October 2, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

We will also be showing the debate here at Ventnor in Adams with all the debates this year you pick a word game is on!

Posted by: Ventnor | October 2, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Just a reminder for the viewers....the woman on screen is Sarah Palin, not Tina Fey. Although many of you may forget that from her performance.

Posted by: playa | October 2, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Best seat in the house.....

My living room on the 58" HD Plasma Stereo.

THEN.....go out on the town for cocktails and conversation.

Posted by: Ward6ForNow | October 2, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching from home, but I'm so thankful I live in the Pacific Northwest where if you watch at a bar, the offerings are real beers and not the flavorless pretenders of Budweiser, Bud Light, and Miller Lite. Shudder! Pizza and Blue Heron for me while I watch Joe demonstrate to the Wasilla Moose Murderer just what it means to be informed, curious, and articulate.

Posted by: Ken | October 2, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

There are plenty of bars in D.C. that offer real beers, including many from the Pacific Northwest. They just know better than to give the good stuff away to interns.

Posted by: To Ken | October 2, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

A "58 inch Plasma Stereo," huh? It looks like Ward6ForNow is another worker ant struggling to survive in the Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin Economy.

Posted by: Jobo | October 3, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

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