Midterm elections never generate the excitement seen with presidential races, and this extends to bars as well as the voting booth. Two years ago, we were awash in candidate-themed cocktails, late-night return-viewing parties and cupcakes whose icing told the world who you were voting for. Now? The scene is about as exciting as the unopposed Senate campaign of Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
The one high-profile bar event to come through so far: Katie Couric is hosting a special Midterm Mixer panel discussion at Capitol Lounge, which will stream live on Yahoo.com. Among the guests offering their take on the results are former "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist and Politico's Mike Allen. It won't be all talking heads: Georgetown University's Georgetown Chimes a capella group will perform a few songs. Filming begins at 11 p.m. though Capitol Lounge staffers say the Nixon Room -- the side bar where the cameras will be rolling -- probably won't be open to the public. Still, you can expect the Lounge to be busy from happy hour on, and possibly before. Drinks are $1 off from 4 to 7 p.m., and it takes more than an election to stop 25-cent wing night, which also kicks off at 4 p.m.
Here's a sampling of other election events, as well as bars and restaurants that will give you a reward for flashing your "I Voted" sticker. As always, we'll update this list with more as they come in, and you can send details to email@example.com.
The 201 Bar
The Senate-side 201 is full of flat-screen TVs. Election night specials include half-price bottles of Belgian beer, $4 glasses of house wine and $4 infused bourbon, starting at 5 p.m.
Whether you're toasting your candidate's victory or drowning your sorrows, you can head to the bar at 701. All bottles of champagne are half price from 8 p.m. until closing, with returns shown on TVs in the lounge.
Busboys and Poets
All four Busboys and Poets locations will host election night viewing parties. The usual Tuesday open mike at the 14th and V street location has been replaced by an event hosted by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. (In the interest of fairness, Norton's opponent on the ballot, Tim Krepp, is hosting his viewing party at the Argonaut on H Street NE.)
The Georgetown club, formerly the members-only spot George, is opening at 7 p.m. for a post-election viewing party with results on all TVs and full sounds. "There will be drinking games and appropriately themed cocktail specials," according to the invitation, and "we'll take it up a notch later in the night with some tunes for celebratory dancing." (Did we mention the crowd leans Republican?)
The Ritz Carlton's classy bar will show election returns from 5 to 11 p.m. while offering themed food and drink specials: Democrats can order "Liberal Fried Pickles" and the Ketel Citroen-based Progressive Donkey cocktail, while Republicans snack on Conservative Chili Con Queso and sip the Bulleit Bourbon-and-clove The Elephant in the Room.
The Georgetown saloon is extending happy hour until 11 p.m. instead of the usual 7 p.m., so you can watch election results while ordering $5 23-ounce draft beers, $5 rails or house wines, $1 oysters, $1-per-wing platters, and $5 bowls of chili mac.
Smith Public Trust
The Brookland restaurant has hosted meet-and-greets with city and neighborhood politicians throughout the campaign cycle, and it's hosting a party to view the election results. Starting at 7 p.m., coverage will play on all TVs while bartenders pour $5 Ommegang brews and $8 Ketel One drinks.
The upstairs bar at the P Street location is hosting a viewing party with half-price appetizers, $9 pizzas and $4 house wines and $4 Stoney's Amber and Stoney's Pilsner drafts.
The Capitol Hill bar, known as a destination for sports fans and interns, will have results on all 25 flatscreen TVs, plus $4 bourbons, $5 cans of craft beer and $12 Bud Light pitchers.
"I Voted" deals
Boundary Road's popular $6 Comboh – a shot of Old Overholt and a can of Natty Boh – is usually only offered on the Late Night menu. On Election Day, voters can show an "I Voted" sticker to get the deal at any time of day.
Get the "Politics and Peter Tosh" cocktail - Appleton Estates Rum, orange, nutmeg, lime and sugar - for $4 with an "I Voted" sticker. TVs in the restaurant will be showing election results.
Take 15 percent off any American cheese with an "I Voted" sticker.
Show an "I Voted" sticker for 25 percent off any order.
Say "I voted" to a cashier and get a free order of chips and queso.
Ivy and Coney
Drink $3 Old Style or Stroh's or cans all night with an "I Voted" sticker, and feel free to make political jokes at the Chicago- and Detroit-themed bar.
Get any pizza for $10 with an "I Voted" sticker.
Show an "I Voted" sticker and take your pick of a free house red or white wine, any draft beer, or a snack from the Bar Bites menu.
Nopa Kitchen + Bar
The Bitter Sweet Victory cocktail - cranberry-orange honey-infused Calvados, Grey Goose Pear, lemon and pineapple foam - is $10 instead of $12 with the presentation of an "I Voted" sticker.
Take 20 percent off any pizza when you show an "I Voted" sticker.
Red Velvet Cupcakery
The first 100 people with an "I Voted" sticker receive a free cupcake pop.