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Mug Shots: They’ll Drink to That

Hill staffers are known for loving two things: politics and drink specials. The upcoming presidential debates are the perfect chance to combine these two things as a few area bars roll out the specials and turn the television to the McCain-Obama showdown. Sure there’s talk that tonight’s debate might be canceled, but either way, there will be something — be it a debate, a debate about whether to have a debate or Obama all alone on a stage yammering on about change — to watch while you throw back a few drinks. [IMGCAP(1)]

One bar that welcomes everyone is at Union Pub (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE). The bar is just a stone’s throw away from the Senate offices that both presidential nominees call home.

Whether it’s for watching the State of the Union address or election night coverage, this bar can always be counted on to get into the political spirit, and debate night is no different. Union Pub plans to show the debates in surround sound on several TVs — including one with a 100-inch screen.

Union Pub will also be serving its usual “Freaky Friday” specials. From 5 to 7 p.m., rail drinks are $2.50 each, with frozen drinks costing $5 a pop from 5 to 8 p.m. For those who shy away from hard liquor, house pitchers are available for $10 from 7 p.m. until closing.

If you’re looking to hang a bit closer to the trophy — er, White House — Chef Geoff’s Downtown (1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) has been in the election spirit for some time. For the past few weeks, those who dine at the restaurant have been asked to partake in a straw poll, choosing from “Barack Obama/Democratic Party,” “John McCain/ Republican Party” or “Chef Geoff/ Dinner Party.” Chef Geoff’s warns, though, that the poll is “unofficial, unauthorized and with a relatively high margin of error.”

The restaurant is also serving specialty drinks at both its locations and its sister restaurant, Lia’s. For $10, voters can indulge in the McCain Mojito (Zacapa rum, mint, lime and sugar cane) or the Ciroc O’Poma (Ciroc vodka, pineapple, lime and pomegranate). These drinks will be offered during the campaign season. And if you happen to go during happy hour, specials include $5 burgers, $8 pizzas and $7.95 supermugs of beer.

Regardless of whether it’s debate night, Asia Nine Bar and Lounge (915 E St. NW) will be adding a new twist to the election-themed fare. Rather than cocktails, this Penn Quarter hot spot is serving candidate-themed sushi rolls for $8. The Obama Lean and Green Roll features asparagus, cucumber, avocado, radish sprout and basil leaves, while the McCain Roll is a mix of lobster, guacamole and tortilla chips.

The Biden Roll is a crunchy combo of local crabmeat, cucumber and wasabi cream sauce. The Palin Roll features — what else? — smoked Alaskan salmon with spicy mayo. You can make your vote known via your sushi order through Election Day.

So if you’re looking for a wonky weekend, keep these places in mind. Whether you end up watching the candidates face off over the issues or watching the pundits yell about the lack of a debate, you may need a drink of two to ease the pain.

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