While the cliche says election night is Washington’s Super Bowl, that’s not always true for midterm elections, which frequently draw less interest than when the presidency is up for grabs. Bargoers might not see as many themed cocktails or cupcakes as in 2016, but there’s no shortage of enthusiasm for watching results roll in. Here are some of the biggest viewing parties and political happy hours, which offer free drinks, all-night happy hours and even cuddly puppies.
(Standard disclaimer: Yes, it is probably illegal for bars and restaurants to offer discounts to anyone wearing an “I voted” sticker — we were writing about this a decade ago — but given that these offers come back every two years, it seems unlikely there will ever be a large-scale crackdown. Just be warned they could change.)
Barrel: The Capitol Hill bar hosted a Trump-themed pop-up bar in 2016, but it’s keeping things more low key this time. Trade an “I voted” sticker with a bartender between 4 and 8:30 p.m. for a $1 Old Fashioned. 613 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
The Bird: This Shaw bar achieved notoriety by offering special happy hour cocktails every time President Trump fired a White House official or special counsel Robert S. Mueller III indicted someone associated with the president. On election night, visitors can show an “I voted” sticker for a $4 Moscow Mueller vodka drink, then tuck into specials from key swing states, such as a Kentucky hot brown or Georgia-inspired bourbon pecan pie. (Food costs $5-to $10.) A selection of $8 cocktails is headlined by the “Mr. President”: an orange mix of peach-infused Aperol and prosecco topped with a “toupee” of cotton candy. 1337 11th St. NW. '
City Tap House Dupont: The larger and more comfortable of Washington’s two City Tap Houses is hosting an election night happy hour that targets craft beer fans with $4 cans and $5 drafts from 4 to 10 p.m., as well as $6 glasses of wine and $7 “premium” mixed drinks. 1250 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Duffy’s Irish Pub: The “new” Duffy’s on H Street NE starts its first election night with a free pint of Guinness Blonde for anyone with an “I voted” sticker, followed by a round of election trivia at 8 p.m., with all-night drink specials. 1016 H St. NE.
The Hamilton Hotel: It’s been a stressful time for the politically minded in D.C. If it gets to be too much on election night, head to the lobby of the Hamilton Hotel, where local nonprofit People. Animals. Love. will have a team of adoptable dogs to pet and play with in the lobby between 6 and 8 p.m. Meanwhile, in addition to election-themed snacks and cocktails, the bar will have games that include pick-the-winner contests and gubernatorial place mats to color in. 1001 14th St. NW.
Looking Glass Lounge: Some bars are postponing their weekly events, such as trivia, so they don’t clash with election night crowds. Petworth’s Looking Glass Lounge is doubling down with Election Night Trivia, which features a $60 bar tab for the smartest team, beginning at 8 p.m. 3634 Georgia Ave. NW.
Mission: The sprawling Mission in Navy Yard has five bars and 16 big-screen TVs over two floors, meaning there’s plenty of room to bring a crew on election night — or attempt to escape the other party. The all-night specials include $5 Dos Equis pints or Patron shots, $7 house margaritas and $8 quesadillas. 1221 Van St. SE.
The Park at 14th: The hot Franklin Square lounge is usually open from Thursday through Sunday, but it’s making an exception for the Vote It Up election party, which promises “dining, mingling and dancing” in addition to watching results. RSVP in advance for free admission. 920 14th St. NW.
Right Proper Brewpub: Right Proper’s original Shaw location offers a free draft beer for anyone wearing an “I voted” sticker. They’ll be showing cartoons on the projection screen before 8 p.m., and election coverage after. 624 T St. NW.
Roofers Union: The “Remember, Remember the Sixth of November” party at the three-story Adams Morgan bar includes all-night happy hour deals ($4 beers, $5 wines and house mixed drinks), a Denizens Brewing tap takeover with half-price beers, and $9 red and blue Negronis. 2446 18th St. NW.
Union Pub: A popular destination for Capitol Hill staffers blowing off steam after work, Union Pub chose its main election night special — $3 rail drinks — through an online ballot. Other deals includes $4 bourbons and $4 Belgian beers from 5 p.m. to close, and a pair of red and blue cocktails. 201 Massachusetts Ave. NE.