Where to Go for Election Night in DC

No matter your affiliation, here’s where to celebrate the close of another election cycle in the nation’s capital.

By: Erin Keane Scott

Whether you lean red or blue, it’s fair to say the 2012 presidential election has been something of an emotional roller coaster on both sides of the aisle, leaving everyone in its wake feeling like they may never see the end of “BroncoBama and MittRomney.” After Romney’s binders of women, Obama’s long snooze through the first debate, and the continuously confusing polls, Washingtonians deserve to take a load off and be happy it’s all over—at least for another four years (or two if you’re looking forward to primary season). We’ve rounded up a bevy of election-night parties to watch results fly in while sipping a cocktail or two.


For Cocktail Connoisseurs

Voters who enjoy the art of mixology should party at Art and Soul, where election-themed “swing state cocktails” will be buy one, get one free if you show the bartender your “I Voted” sticker. Watch as the election results roll in—the drinks will be half off within 15 minutes of their corresponding state’s announcement.

Lincoln Restaurant is holding an election night fete starting at 6, complete with a special menu modeled after the candidates’ favorite foods, election-themed cocktails, and extra TVs for monitoring the results.

Pennsylvania Avenue’s Sonoma is hosting an all-day happy hour, with complimentary snacks for people rocking their stickers, and $3 beers, $5 house wines, and $5 specialty cocktails called the Birth Certificate and the 47 Percent. There’s also an election pool to guess which states will go which colors, and prizes to be won.


For Music Lovers

The Kennedy Center is holding a free Election Night Jam with new artistic director for jazz Jason Moran and the Bandwagon in their Grand Foyer. Jazz lovers can dance and enjoy the music while results are broadcast on a big screen.

Though not actually on election night, HeadCount, a voter registration organization, and Magic Hat Brewery host a “participation party” at the Howard Theatre. The concert, headlined by Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and Anders Osborne, is November 4 at 8 PM. Keller Williams and John Kadlecik also perform. You can buy tickets through the Howard’s website.


For Social Media Junkies

LivingSocial hosts its Donkeys and Elephants Election Night Party at Dupont Circle standby Buffalo Billiards. Beginning at 4, this private viewing party offers specials on food and drinks, a political costume contest with prizes, and red and blue shots. Tickets are $10 via LivingSocial’s website.

If you’re interested in rubbing elbows with digital media gurus, join Eventstir and Runinout for the DCWeek festival’s official election night party at Rocketbar. The party starts at 7, and the first 200 people to show up get a beer on the house. RSVP at Eventstir.


For Nonpartisans

The National Press Club (529 14th St., NW; 202-662-7500) holds a nonpartisan event that isn’t just for journalists. Both members and nonmembers can celebrate with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar starting at 6:30. You can purchase tickets for the event online—admission is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers.

Campaigns & Elections magazine hosts a soiree on the hill at Kelly’s Irish Times, where the results will be broadcast on big-screen TVs. There will also be red state and blue state shots, food, and prizes. Admission is free, but you do need to register for a ticket online.


For Everyone

The Human Rights Campaign is taking over Eatonville to support LGBT-friendly candidates from 6 PM. There’s a suggested $5 to $10 donation that includes a thank-you gift. RSVP through the event’s Facebook page.

On election night, all four Busboys and Poets locations will turn their big-screen TVs to stations with election coverage, and the results will be piped through all of the speakers in the restaurant.

Wanna get crunk in the club while the results roll in? ElectionNight.us is hosting an event at Ultra Bar. Tickets ($20 to $100) can be purchased online and give you access to an open bar, wi-fi, TVs screening the results, and live media coverage throughout the evening.

Bullfeathers is a Capitol Hill mainstay for Democrats and Republicans alike, so if you want to party with insiders (some of whom might possibly be out of a job), head over starting at 6 to watch the results unfold on the bar’s multiple screens.

Know of another great event happening on election night? E-mail events@washingtonian.com and we'll add it to the list!