D.C. Bars Prep for Super Tuesday Gatherings

Washington Post Express
February 5, 2008
by Marc Zawel

THE TURNOUT ON SUPER TUESDAY
is expected to be large — and not just at polling places. As anticipation builds over how voters in 22 states will cast their presidential primary ballots, restaurants and bars in the nation’s capital are preparing to accommodate those who will be coming in to watch the results over patriotic potables.

Photo by Michael Grass/ExpressAt Topaz Bar, in Dupont Circle‘s Topaz Hotel, bar manager Joseph Norton said that he’s expecting a politically diverse crowd. “They tend to sway both ways,” he said of the regulars. “For the most part, people are fairly reserved. Not necessarily less passionate — but it’s a fairly friendly environment.” Topaz, which was built on the same spot where President Theodore Roosevelt once lived, is offering red, white and blue $10 signature campaign cocktails, pictured at left, including the “Independent Player,” a refreshing combination of Stoli and aloe vera juice.

If last week’s State of the Union Address was any indication, there won’t be an empty seat tonight at Capitol Hill‘s Hawk ‘n’ Dove, according to bartender Edgar Gutierrez. “This place gets packed,” he said, adding that despite the bar’s location, the crowd is “mainly in agreement” — which means Republicans are in the minority and televisions will be tuned to MSNBC.

With the White House directly across Lafayette Square, the Hay-Adams Hotel‘s Off the Record bar is not surprisingly also expecting a packed house. “For us, it’s bigger than the Super Bowl,” said Wossen Yohannes, a bartender there. The party in power tends to make up the clientele, Yohannes said, as well as political wonks from the nearby U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Still, the bar’s flat screen will probably be showing results from CNN. “We’ve got a right to decide which channel,” he added.

Photo courtesy JW MarriottFor those interested in a more festive atmosphere, the downtown JW Marriott downtown, is transforming its 1331 Lounge into “Super Tuesday Central.” There will be a variety of places to watch the primary results: guests can belly up to the bar, lounge by a roaring fireplace or retreat to a semi-private area with individual televisions, pictured at right. Cocktails created just for the evening include the $8 Red Martini, a citrusy mix of Absolut Citron, Pama Pomegranate liqueur and house-made sour mix.

And, if hearing Wolf Blitzer drone on all evening long is not your cup of tea, Stetson’s, the U Street NW bar where the Bush twins were spotted drinking underage back in 2002, might be a good bet. Televisions downstairs will be muted as patrons participate in the weekly Pub Quiz night and happy hour prices continue to 8 p.m. There’s no promise, however, that Blitzer’s blaring voice won’t be heard from the non-muted televisions upstairs — or from those around the entire city for that matter.

Photo of Topaz’s cocktails by Michael Grass/Express; Photo of 1331 courtesy JW Marriott

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