Whether you're voting for Obama or Romney, these are the Washington, D.C., hot spots where you can drink like a politician -- and maybe even spot a few in action.
-- Kate Parham, Condé Nast Traveler
This story originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveler: Where to Bar Hop Like a Politician in Washinton D.C.
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This speakeasy-style bar in the basement of the historic Hay-Adams Hotel, which served as the first family's temporary residence before Obama moved into the White House, is full of political figures even when it’s empty. The walls are covered in caricatures of presidents, congressmen and the like, all done by cartoonists such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Matt Wuerker of Politico. “Being across from the Chamber and the White House brings in a good mix of people from both parties,” says bartender David Metzner. “The guys who’ve been at this longer stick with traditional cocktails, like a Manhattan or Sazerac, while the newer crowd goes more trendy, like our Knobby Sidecar… although those who are currently in office try to be a bit more discreet and usually just order club soda.” If you want to spot a VIP, come during the week from 5 to 8 p.m. and check the back table, behind the bar, says Metzner. To cast your vote, choose from Off the Record’s new Bipartisan Menu. Obama’s drink: a white Godiva martini with espresso and vanilla vodka. There's no Romney pick yet, because he doesn't drink, but you could opt for the Presidential Martini. It has blue-cheese olives and chilled Belvedere. “Just like a politician," Metzner says. "Cold and smelly on the inside.” Read More: 12 Unexpected Room Service Dishes Courtesy Hay-Adams Hotel
The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel's southern-inspired restaurant (within walking distance of the Capitol) has a strict motto: “Fried Chicken Takes No Sides.” That doesn’t mean diners can’t cast their own votes anyway. On a normal day, you can pony up to the bar and order drinks such as the Fundraiser, made of rye whiskey, Hum liqueur, sour cherries, and bitters—all of the cocktails reference a congressional phrase. But now through January 31, guests can also drink from the Swing State cocktail menu. Help Nevada out and order the Oasis (watermelon, Vida Mezcal, lime, simple syrup and mint) or head to Iowa with the Meat & Potato (house-oaked vodka with candied bacon). Show up at Art and Soul on election night for the results poll wearing an “I Voted” sticker, and you’ll get a free cocktail from the Swing State menu after you buy one. Read More: The Best New Hotels of 2012 Photo courtesy of Art and Soul
This Capitol Hill restaurant, just steps from the White House, attracts a loyal following of Supreme Court judges, likely because the tables are fairly far apart, with lots of corner spots. “Most judges want to be discrete, just slip in and out,” general manager Christian Pendleton says. “With very few exceptions, politicians don’t want to be treated differently, but they do want to be recognized and stroked a little bit.” When it comes to ordering, Pendleton has noticed that Republicans typically go for the heavier foods with big red wines, whereas Democrats tend to be a bit more adventurous and order smaller plates with white wine. Want to spot a political bigwig? Check the table straight behind the maître-d’. “It’s in a quasi boxed-off corner area, although almost everyone has their table they want to sit at,” Pendleton says. “Celebrities, like Brad and Angelina, want to sit in the center of it all where everyone can see them.” Not sure what to sip? “The judges never order anything but wine,” says Pendleton. “But the Senators, generally speaking, order cocktails and then wine.” If you want to fit in either way, try the new Bipartisan Lunch Menu, a three-course offering available during the week for $25. Read More: Best New Hotels Under $300 Photo courtesy of 701
In honor of the presidential race, the hotel’s Lobby Bar has created a special menu (“Choose your cocktail, choose your candidate”) inspired by favorites from each presidential and vice presidential candidate’s hometown. Going to side with Romney? Opt for the Grand Old Fashioned, made with bourbon, muddled strawberries and oranges, Peychauds Bitters, and topped with a "conservative" splash of club soda. Want to see Obama for another term? Go with Blue Bourbon Baracks, made with a "liberal" pour of bourbon, fresh blueberries, Angostura Bitters, and topped with ginger ale. Running mate beer and slider parings are also available. Think Leinenkugel IPA and beer bratwurst sliders from Wisconsin, or Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre and Delaware rockfish sliders. Read More: 11 Hard-to-Get-to Hotels Photo courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.
Every night, the Bar & Lounge at the Park Hyatt invites guests to show support for their candidate by eating—wait for it—cheese. That’s right: The hotel’s resident cheese specialist, Lisa Hviding, has selected two blue cheeses (Ewe’s Blue, a sheep’s milk cheese from New York, and Barick Obama, a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Vermont) and two red cheeses (Red Hawk, a cow’s milk cheese from California and Lincoln Log, a pasteurized goat’s milk cheese from Michigan). Each time a cheese is ordered, a blue or red coin is dropped into the corresponding category on a scale, so guests can get a feel for who's in the lead. What’s more, a 35-pound wheel of “Presidential Cheese” is on display, awaiting its official name on Election Day. Read More: The 8 Best Hotels of All Time Photo courtesy Park Hyatt Washington
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