A political debate is a spectator sport. Unless you're one of those rare and increasingly-annoying undecided voters, at this point the debates are less about hearing what the other candidate has to say as much as rooting yours on (and rooting against the opposition) for the hour-and-a-half they're yapping at each other. It's like watching the World Series, it's just that in this case, you're watching people actually in shape. (Zing!) And, like any thrilling sporting event, it's best viewed with a crowd.
Tonight's second presidential debate -- or, as President Obama likes to put it, "the first debate" -- deals with domestic and foreign policy issues. (Meaning, what, everything?) It begins at 6pm sharp on pretty much any station you flip to. But instead of watching it at home, head out to one of the following establishments who promise to have it on, the better to get yelly amongst peers.
Waterloo & City
If you want to watch the debate in style, head over to Waterloo & City. While they'll be showing it at the bar, they're also opening their private room in the back at 6pm for a special viewing party. (The room has communal seating, keep in mind, which can be a huge selling point or a terrible thing best avoided, depending on who you end up sitting next to.) Specials for tonight include a whole roast chicken for two, rib-eye steak, and chicken pot pie.
12517 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90066
As with the first debate, downtown's sign-less The Association bar is holding a casual debate celebration. Watch the two candidates go at it in the darkly-lit bar on three different 50-inch HD plasma TVs while devouring the $5 small plate specials, $5 craft beers, and specialty "presidential cocktails."
110 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
What better way to examine all of the intricate face-work of the two candidates ("Did he just smirk there?!?!") than by having the debate projected onto the big screen? At the great Downtown Independent, in downtown L.A., doors open at 5:30pm to allow a few moments of drinking time if you need to steel your will for the evening. And then, if you need a palate-cleanser, if politics was harshing your mellow, stick around for Holy F*** Comedy at 9pm, also free.
251 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
If you're already on the west side and don't feel like fighting with a three-hour traffic-jammed trek back across town -- and, really, only listening to the debates is worthless; you can't get a sense of who's "winning" if you're paying attention to silly things like "substance" and "policy" -- duck into Busby's West in Santa Monica. Make sure to get your food orders in before 7pm to take advantage of happy hour, but feel free to drink inexpensively until 8pm.
3110 Santa Monica Boulevard,
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Adjacent to the UCB Theatre -- which, again, is a big positive if you're looking for a post-debate comedic palate-cleanser -- Birds will be showing the debate on their dual bar-section overhead TVs. (As such, if you end up wanting to dine as well, make sure to get there early enough to reserve a seat in the eatery half where your view isn't obstructed.) Happy hour goes until 6pm.
5925 Franklin Avenue
Casey's Irish Pub
And finally, what better place to hear people argue than at a classic Irish pub? Casey's downtown has happy hour on food -- I recommend the shepherd's pie, because I always recommend the shepherd's pie -- and drinks until 7pm, just in time to get one last order in before the final sure-to-be-infuriating-somehow half hour of this second of three presidential debates.
613 South Grand Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA 90017