NYC bars hosting Democratic presidential debate parties

New Yorkers gather in front of the TV screen at RPM Underground, where a caucus-style Democratic presidential debate watch party takes place. (Courtesy David Abelson)

By Shaye Weaver | Twelve Democrats vying for the presidency return to the debate stage on Tuesday night, and as they do, hundreds of New Yorkers will take to bars to watch them flourish or flub.

One watch party at RPM Underground is making a game of it — caucus style. For each of the candidates, there will be a room for his or her fans to watch and cheer them on.

“The cool thing about doing it in a caucus style is that we’re all under one roof,” said the event’s organizer, David Abelson. “At the end of the day, there will be a single nominee going up against Donald Trump and hopefully everybody can come together under that. This is an opportunity to engage with other people and talk about the candidates and discuss the issues.”

With two similar events under his belt, Abelson, a Midtown East editor and producer, said that the parties seem to mimic real life — the parties’ polls have mirrored national polls, he said.

“Most of us are still undecided, however, candidates do have dedicated supporters already,” he said. “Some rooms have been completely empty — utterly empty — and you can imagine who they are. Other rooms have been absolutely packed, like the Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders rooms.”

Those who attend the party will be able to purchase special menu items include the “Bernie Burger” with Vermont cheddar, “Mayor Pete’s Jerky Treats,” “Liz’s Fish n’ Chips,” “Chicken Wings Caucus Style,” “Bill de Buffalo wings” and more. Drink specials will also include $4 beers, $6 wines and $7 well drinks from 6 to 8 p.m. This time, partygoers are encouraged to dress in costume as a candidate, an issue, or any other punny political getup for a costume contest. Tickets are free but required to get in. Get them at eventbrite.com.

The third round of debates, moderated by CNN and The New York Times at Otterbein University outside of Columbus, Ohio, goes live starting at 8 p.m., so let the drinking games and commentary commence. Below are some of our best watch party bets.

A “Mystery Science Theater 3000” style party

Q.E.D. Astoria, 27-16 23rd Ave., Queens,  7:30 to 10 p.m.

Comedian Christian Finnegan and Frank Conniff of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” will do stand-up and throw out amusing commentary during the debate. There will be drink specials and prizes, too. Tickets are $10 on qedastoria.com.

Watch with political thespians

The Gray Mare, 61 Second Ave., Manhattan, 8 to 11 p.m.

Theater in Asylum is creating a theatrical take on the Democratic primary debates and are gathering research at a watch party open to all. Admission is free.

Talk impeachment with the Committee for 2020
Fools Gold NYC, 145 East Houston St., Manhattan, 6:30 to 11 p.m.

The Committee for 2020, a group of “progressive defenders of the Constitution and the rule of law,” will watch the debates at Fools Gold and discuss impeachment and the group’s fundraiser. The event is free and open to all.

Cheer on Tulsi Gabbard at Tara Rose
384 Third Ave., Manhattan, 6 to 11:30 p.m.

A Hawaiian-themed watch party with leis, drink specials and ukuleles will take place at Tara Rose with New Yorkers for Tulsi. Happy hour will be extended until 8 p.m. and at 11 p.m., there will be a presidential impressions contest with prizes. Admission is free.

“Pod Damn America” does the debate
Secret Loft, 137 W. 14th St., Manhattan, 7 to 11 p.m.

The “gothic socialist” comedy podcast by comedians Alex Ptak, Jake Flores and Anders Lee is hosting a viewing party that will show the debate on a big projector screen. The hosts will make cutting commentary and jokes during the breaks. Tickets are $10-$15 on eventbrite.com.

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