Who needs a legitimate pro football team? Washington has its own Super Bowl-like tradition every January: Watching the State of the Union in bars and restaurants all over the city, with big screens, full sound and even the occasional drinking game.
The bars on Capitol Hill will be prime territory. Capitol Lounge and Lounge 201 are among the hotspots showing the speech on all their flat-screen TVs. (Lounge 201’s viewing party boasts $4 “SOTU-tinis.”)
The party that’s most likely to force you to call in sick on Wednesday is the seventh annual throwdown at Ventnor Sports Cafe in Adams Morgan. Pick any word -- “housing” or “unemployment” or “pipeline” -- and every time the president says it, you get a $1 Jello shot. (Pro tip: Don’t select “America” or “jobs” unless you’ve got a strong liver; each was used more than 20 times in 2011.)
Things should be a little more intellectual -- and entertaining -- at the 14th Street Busboys and Poets. After a viewing party hosted by Obama for America, attendees are invited to offer their own “State of the Union” in rhyme during the weekly open mike poetry night, which begins at 9 p.m.
The other three Busboys and Poets locations are also hosting viewings: Both Shirlington and Hyattsville locations feature post-speech panel discussions -- Shirlington’s is hosted by the Arlington Democrats. A coalition of groups, including AllHipHop.com, the League of Young Voters and the Ustream streaming video site, are sponsoring a viewing party called BarackTalk at the City Vista Busboys, with an interactive online panel discussion on youngvoterlive.com.
If you’re going to any of the Busboys events, take the pre-speech 2012 election poll beforehand; results will be announed at each party.
Meridian Pint will show the speech with full volume in its basement bar. DC Brau beers and Jameson whiskey will be $2 off from 8 p.m. to close.
Want to combine dancing and politics? Local salseros and salseras are turning the weekly Latin dance party at Fiesta Lounge into a State of the Union event. Stop by to watch the speech, then get grooving to a DJ. There is a $5 cover charge at the door, and 75 percent of the fees collected will be donated to the Obama 2012 campaign.
The Network for Progress’s annual State of the Union Progress party at Local 16, hosted by a coalition of groups including Generation Obama and Northern Virginia for Obama, will feature a raffle, State of the Union bingo and a DJ. Admission is free, but RSVPs are suggested.