While it feels like it’s been going on for years, the election season begins for real now on Wednesday night, with the first of three debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney. While most Americans will watch at home, half-asleep, with their cats, many options are available for those who desire a more social, eventful viewing experience. Here’s a list of the best places to catch the debate and a drink, no matter where you are. (Pro-tip: If you’re planning to chug every time Obama says “Let me be clear” or Romney laughs like a robot, bring lots of extra cash.)
The Daily Show’s Lizz Winstead, MSNBC’s Krystal Ball and Richard Wolff, MST3K’s Frank Coniff, and the Onion’s Baratunde Thurston will all be in attendance at 92Y Tribeca’s viewing party (200 Hudson St., 212-601-1000 ). Tickets are $10.
Drinking Liberally, Democracy for NYC, Greater NYC for Change, and ACT NOW will be watching at the Village Pourhouse (64 3rd Ave., 212-979-2337) — with drink specials leading up to the debate.
Get cozy at Albella Italian Restaurant (10 Reade St., 212-267-5900) and cheer on your preferred candidate with specials including 50 cent wings (served all night long), $4 happy hour draft beers, and $20 beer buckets.
Greenpoint relic Boulevard Tavern (579 Meeker Ave., 718-389-3252) will be showing the debate on their big screen. It’s also the bar’s “Midweek Mayhem” night, so classic cocktails will be on offer for $8.
The viewing party at Black Rabbit Bar (91 Greenpoint Ave., 718-349-1595) will keep things light with trivia, prizes, and comedian Dave Sill guest-hosting.
Head over to M Lounge (1520 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-447-0201) when doors open at 5 p.m. to snag a seat for the night ahead. Order drink specials and sample complimentary appetizers (available at 7 p.m.) to be prepared for the presidential showdown at 8 p.m.
English (444 N. La Salle Drive; 312-222-6200) will be the stomping ground for Chicago Young Republicans, who have Senator Bill Brady lined up to make an appearance. Deals for the night include half off bottles of wine, $4 glasses of De La Costa sangria, and $5 signature cocktails.
Watch Obama and Romney duke it out from three 50-inch HD Plasma TV screens (and in surround sound) at the Association (110 E. 6th St.; 213-627-7385). Order a customized Presidential cocktail or down $5 craft beers and small plates while cheering on your candidate. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and an RSVP is required. E-mail email@example.com.
Casey’s Irish Pub (613 S. Grand Ave.; 213-629-2353) will be showing the debate on several TVs, with happy-hour specials running from 3 to 7 p.m. and from 11 p.m. to midnight. The drink menu includes $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon, $4 well drinks, $5 Jameson pickle backs, and $1 pub fries with a beer purchase.
Buck Tavern (1655 Market St., 415-874-9183), the dive-y spot owned by outspoken former City Supervisor Chris Daly, is a magnet for the city’s politicos, and the scene is likely to be raucous. Romney supporters beware: The house politics lean left.
Obama’s campaign is hosting an official San Francisco viewing party at Soma nightclub Temple (540 Howard Street , 415- 978-9942), where Obama-Biden 2012 paraphernalia will replace dubstep and $400 bottles of Cîroc. $10 required donation.
The debate will be on all the TVs and red and blue cocktails will be on the menu at 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE, 202-544-5201). Its proximity to the Capitol Hill Senate offices practically guarantees a crowd with a lot at stake, and $4 shots of Jameson will ease the pain if things don’t go their way.
Couldn’t fight your way into the University of Denver to see Obama and Romney face-to-face? Try these instead:
If you’ve got $25.01 to burn, you can get into the viewing party at the Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion (400 East 8th Ave., 303-866-5344), and see if their drinks are as bipartisan as they claim.