Where to Watch the First 2020 Democratic Debates Around DC

Find drink specials and watch parties as 20 candidates take the stage Wednesday and Thursday.

Local bars and restaurants are hosting watch parties for the Democratic Debates. Image via Shutterstock.

The first Democratic debates leading up to the 2020 election will be broadcast on Wednesday and Thursday at 9 PM EST. With 20 candidates taking the stage across two nights, DC-area bars and restaurants have double the chance to host watch parties and pour debate night drink specials.

Union Pub
201 Massachusetts Ave., NW 
As an homage to NBC’s candidate groupings (orange and purple, respectively), the Capitol Hill bar is serving a color-coordinated cocktail for $6 each debate night. Sip the orange cocktail on Wednesday and cast your debate predictions at a watch party hosted by forecasting site PredictIt. Thursday night features the purple cocktail with blue Curaçao, cranberry, and pineapple.

The Outrage
1722 14th St., NW 
The resistance-minded community space is opening its doors to non-members for debate bingo and $3 rosé (the drink special is from 8 PM to 9 PM). Register for one or both nights to rep your presidential pick with DIY friendship bracelets and other candidate-themed crafts.

Johnny Pistolas
2333 18th St., NW
An extra large field of candidates calls for an extra large screen — 150 inches, to be exact. The Adams Morgan bar is projecting both debates with drink specials like $3 Tecate, $5 margaritas, and $6 house wine.

The Midlands
3333 Georgia Ave., NW 
Head to the Park View beer garden for $4 pints of PBR and multiple screens. Remember the baby Trump balloon flying over recent POTUS protests in London? The first 50 customers to purchase the debate night deal receive a mini-Trump-balloon of their own.

Nellie’s Sports Bar
900 U St., NW 
Unity may be a theme of the debates and Nellie’s is doing their part by bringing watch party patrons together over $15 buckets of Heineken to split among a group.

Red Derby
3718 14th St., NW
Both nights of the debate will be streamed live at the Columbia Heights bar, which will keep the momentum going for round two on Thursday with all-night happy hour. Deals include $1 off beer, wine, and mixed drinks.

Busboys and Poets
Multiple locations in DC, MD, VA
All seven locations of the socially-minded eatery are showing the debate. The restaurants are dedicating all of their available televisions for a multi-screen, multi-night watch party.

Shaw’s Tavern
520 Florida Ave., NW
Presidential politics and Wine Wednesday collide at this watch party, where the debate is paired with $5 house wines and Stoli vodka drinks. The special carries over for the second half of candidates on Thursday.

The Big Board
421 H St., NE
Kick off the first night of debates on Wednesday with $5 draft beers and $5 Absolut vodka cocktails. The late night menu features bites like buffalo wings and Old Bay tater tots, available until midnight.

Roofers Union
2446 18th St., NW
Although Trump won’t be participating in this round the bar created special cocktails referencing the incumbent. The bourbon-based Mandarin Candidate and Trumpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall are both $13 on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ivy and Coney
1537 7th St., NW 

The cash-only bar is adding both nights of the debate to their roster of Chicago and Detroit games. Happy hour is extended until 8 PM for an extra hour of discounted drinks leading up to the screening.

The Big Stick
20 M St., SE 

The Navy Yard sports bar is showing the debate and playing a drinking game to go along with the captions. Prompts include “drink every time a candidate says they’ll be different than POTUS” and “chug if they mention the 2016 election.”

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.