The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and I somehow just got an email from Al Franken with the subject line “Time to panic.” Looks like it’s Debate Day.
As Hillary and Donald face off in Long Island tonight, some will watch alone in the dark, while clutching a pint of ice cream in sheer fear. Others will jump into the thick of it and head to Hofstra University, where street performer and purveyor of love and farts Matthew Silver will be debating fringe candidate Vermin Supreme. Good luck finding them. Thousands of protestors — not to mention a 51-foot joint — are also expected to descend on the Hempstead school.
Don’t worry, you can also watch from a safe distance. Here’s who’s throwing watch parties, offering drink specials, or otherwise spicing up this evening of discourse.
Misery Loves Gin Watch Party at The Shanty
79 Richardson Street, 6 pm – 11:30 pm: free.
In the past, Brooklyn distillery New York Distilling Company and its adjoining bar The Shanty have hosted an immersive Shakespearean theater production and a weekly comedy show. Tonight, they’re welcoming all of you to drink in the debate. There’ll be complimentary Pink Gin and Rock & Rye, plus happy hour all night, which includes $7 cocktails. Gird your liver.
Presidential? Debates: Making ‘Merica Embarrassed Again at Banter
132 Havemeyer Street, 9 pm, free.
This sports-themed bar will take on politics tonight, with the debate on multiple wide-screens, if that’s your thing, and drink specials galore. There will be $20 pitchers of craft beer and $20 Heineken Light buckets (5 beers) and other specials, to ensure a happy level of drunk for your viewing experience. Beware of bros, and not the Bernie kind.
Live Presidential Debate Show at Throne Watches, Williamsburg
43 Wythe Avenue, 8 pm – midnight, free.
What better place for a “watch party” than in a store that literally sells watches? Some of the neighborhood’s most interesting and fun comedians will gather in this unconventional space (the regular home of the Future Forms comedy show). The night’s hosts are Tim Platt and Mo Fry Pasic (no strangers to hosting as a duo) and they will even have a live Twitter feed, like fancy folk. Some of the laughs will hopefully be from joy and genuine humor, others may be peals of pity and fear.
Back Room Debate Party at Heavy Woods
50 Wyckoff Avenue, 5 pm – 11:30 pm: free.
This bar off the L train offers southern culinary fare and drinks aplenty. At their “Back Room Debate Party” (most likely more salacious in name than content, unfortunately) they will be showing the debate in their back room, with an open bar from 5-6 pm (keep crying, day job folks). There’ll be an impressive roster of Cheeto flavors to snack on, in
honor shame of a certain orange-skinned one.
Three Sheets to the West Wing Debate Party at Pine Box Rock Shop
12 Grattan Street, 9 pm – 10:30 pm: free.
Trump and Hill themed drinks may help numb the pain at the first of this vegan bar’s “Three Sheets to the West Wing” debate parties. They’ll be serving original cocktails like “The Tremendous Trainwreck” made with cheap liquor and orange soda and “The Pantsuit,” made with Owney’s rum, Midori and almond milk served on the rocks.
LOWER EAST SIDE
Cord Cutter Comedy Show and Debate Watch at Old Man Hustle
39 Essex Street, 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm: free.
Here’s another way to wash down your laughter with a harsh dose of reality. And a $5 beer and shot combo. At this tiny, quirky bar, the Cord Cutter Comedy show (featuring comics from Fuse, SiriusXM, Just for Laughs, among others) will be followed by a screening of the debate.
Standard Votes at The Standard, East Village
25 Cooper Square, 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm: free.
At this swanky hotel, the showdown will be displayed on the Café Standard’s big screen, and they’re offering free “red or blue shots” every time Trump says “YUGE!” Will these mysterious free shots brainwash you into the corresponding binary political affiliation? send you to the Matrix? or just get you drunk? Try them all to see!
Presidential Debate Viewing Party at Double Wide Bar & Southern Kitchen
505 East 12th Street, 8-11 pm: free.
New rule: Politics should ALWAYS come with a little free alcohol, especially this year. The first 50 people at this neighborhood spot get a free drink. Try some of their southern snacks like BBQ bourbon wings, fried okra, or sliders with pulled pork and coleslaw.
Presidential Debate Viewing Party at Village Pourhouse
64 3rd Avenue, 8-11 pm: free
You can never have too many presidential puns, especially when booze is involved. For a special price of $8, you can enjoy the Donald Drumpf (rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, grenadine) or the Secret Server (vodka, blue curacao, triple sec, sweet and sour mix and a splash of Sprite). Love or hate the candidates, these election-inspired sweet drinks are welcome in our mouth anytime.
Theater In Asylum Watch Party #1 at 12th Street Ale House
192 2nd Avenue, 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm, free.
Over the course of the next month or so, the Theater In Asylum company will be watching and analyzing the debates and amassing a team of theater-folk to get to work creating a debate-inspired performance piece. Their first step in this process is simple: attentively watch the first debate. Join them tonight!
Two Beers In: Live Debate Special at UCB East
153 East 3rd Street, 8 pm: $10
What’s better than experiencing this seriously funny debate with some seriously funny people? Master Trump impersonator Anthony Atamanuik will join Dan Gurewitch and Julie Weiner of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver as well as Two Beers In hosts Cody Lindquist and Charlie Todd with pre and post show commentary. Participating drinking games are included. It’s sold out, but try your luck anyway. Aren’t we all trying our luck with the very act of living nowadays?
#VoteProChoice Watch Party at Professor Thom’s
219 2nd Avenue, 8:30 pm – 11 pm: free
Interestingly, sports bar Professor Thom’s will be the site for this event being thrown by nonprofits National Organization for Women (NOW-NYC) and WIN.NYC. They’re making an event of the night, with bingo, snacks, and drink specials. The free event is currently sold out, but there will be a waitlist in case some who RSVP don’t show.
The Politics of Dancing Benefit at EasternBloc
505 East 6th Street, 8 pm – 2 am: $20
This isn’t any old watch party. Red-lit gay bar EasternBloc will be throwing a debate watch and “dance party benefit” hosted by several drag queens, with 2-for-1 drinks til 9 pm, go-go dancing, performances, and sets by three DJs. It’ll cost you $20, but the funds will go to “help support Hillary’s campaign to save the world.”
Additional reporting by Katherine Barner.