Presidential debate drink specials and watch parties in DC

With the first presidential debate scheduled for Thursday evening in Atlanta, bars and restaurants across the nation’s capital are gearing up to host viewers.

The Thursday night debate, set to air on CNN, is nothing short of a rematch for the same two candidates who sparred in 2020. 

The main differences in this debate: muted mics and a new set of rules.

Restaurants and bars across the D.C. area are expecting a high turnout of viewers, as the last time Donald Trump and Joe Biden took the debate stage the COVID-19 pandemic forced political junkies to watch from home.

This year, a range of locations are offering deals for viewers to enjoy the discourse over a drink. 

Here is everything you need to know about Thursday’s local watch parties in D.C.

1. Union Pub

This Capitol Hill favorite is welcoming viewers, and likely Hill staffers, with a "Red vs Blue" drink poll. The bar will serve a Red drink and a Blue drink at $6 each all night and whichever drink is purchased will be the watch party winner! Shots will be $4, and pints will be between $4-6. Seats are first-come-first-serve but no tickets are required.

2. Mission Navy Yard

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 28: A group of friends celebrate Brian Lenert's (center left) birthday at Mission (Navy Yard) in Washington, DC on May 28, 2023. (Photo by Craig Hudson for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Network and enjoy a drink at the Network for Progress and Virginia Blue Victory’s Blue Drinks Watch Party event. Register by 7 PM on Thursday for free entry. The networking mixer begins at 8 PM at the restaurant’s Plaza bar on the first floor.

3. Midlands

If you’re looking for a relaxed place to catch the debate, this beer garden in Petworth is the place for you. Beer will be $5 all night, and the watch party will begin at 9 p.m.

4. Shaw’s Tavern

UNITED STATES - JULY 24: People watch Former special counsel Robert Mueller testify before the House Judiciary Committee as it is shown at Shaws Tavern in Washington on Wednesday July 24, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

This tavern is the perfect spot for all of the wine lovers! With indoor and outdoor seating, the debate will be shown on two screens across two floors. Wine bottles will be half off all night.

5. Busboys and Poets

Show up at any Busboy and Poets location for a range of drink specials. If you’re seeking a thought-provoking experience, head to the Mount Vernon Square location where Ohio State Senator Nina Turner will host a post-debate discussion.