"What America needs now is a drink," declared President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the end of Prohibition on Dec. 5, 1933. As this year's contentious election campaign finally comes to an end, FDR's words are just as relevant 83 years later.
When Angelenos go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 8, bars and restaurants across the city will be hosting viewing parties and offering election-themed food and drink specials. Whether you're celebrating your presidential candidate's victory, or drowning your sorrows before moving to Canada, here are the best Election Day specials and viewing parties in Los Angeles.
For sheer architectural splendor, few venues on Election Day can compare to The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown L.A. The 1,600-seat movie palace is hosting an Election Night Viewing Party featuring their favorite cable news channel on the big screen. Drinks will be available for purchase and DJs will be spinning as the returns come in. Doors at 4 p.m. Admission is free, RSVP required: theatre.acehotel.com/events/election-night-viewing-party.
On election night, The Standard hotels in Downtown L.A. and West Hollywood present Standard Votes, taking place from 5-10 p.m. at both properties. The Downtown L.A. hotel is screening the returns along with massage therapists, a Freudian drink therapist, and a special chakra healer to prepare you for the outcome. And of course, the red and blue shots will be flowing. Enter the raffle for the chance to win fun commemorative prizes.
The hotel's sister property in WeHo is presenting the Golden Girls Burlesque group and Walter Davis Band in the Mmhmmm lounge - yes, you can literally "Hit the Poles." There will also be a live DJ and plenty of beverages for everyone.
KPCC and Loyola Marymount University’s Center for the Study of Los Angeles are presenting Election Central, a nonpartisan watch party at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Downtown L.A. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with the national and state returns. At 8:15 p.m., the Center for the Study of Los Angeles will release the preliminary results of its L.A. Votes exit poll. Its team will also forecast results for various local measures and initiatives and report on how Angelenos voted in the presidential race. Election Central is free and open to the public, and will feature drinks and complimentary food, election-related activities, giveaways and more.
The landmark Los Angeles Athletic Club in Downtown L.A. has witnessed many historic moments since its founding in September 1880. On Election Day, the private club (accessible to LAAC hotel guests) is offering "I Voted!" drink specials at its 101-year-old bar, Invention. Bring your "I Voted" sticker and enjoy $2 drafts and house glasses of wine while you watch the returns.
Discreetly located off 6th Street in the Bank District of Downtown L.A., The Association is welcoming everyone on Election Night: "We are a bipartisan bar and hope everyone in the community will come out for what will be an important day in history." Election coverage will be shown with full surround sound beginning at 5 p.m. Seating is first come, first served. Drink specials will be offered all night. RSVP: http://hillaryvstrump.eventbrite.com.
Fans of tiki and live music should not miss the Tonga Hut Takeover at General Lee's in Chinatown. While there aren't any election specials per se, the guest bartenders from the landmark North Hollywood tiki bar will be mixing cocktails that are sure to take you to a Polynesian paradise - even if it's only for one night. Adding to the summery vibe, The Counselors will play two sets of surf instrumentals starting at 9 p.m.
All four locations of Plan Check Kitchen + Bar (Downtown L.A., Fairfax, Sawtelle Japantown, Santa Monica) are featuring themed specials throughout Election Day.
Choose from two spicy burgers:
- Nasty Woman Burger ($15) – beef patty, Sriracha Leather™, bacon, habanero cheese, schmaltz onions, kombu pickles
- Bad Hombre Burger ($13) – beef patty, habanero cheese, bacon, spicy mayo, batter-fried onions, jalapeno escabeche
Settle in and watch live election coverage while you sip these election drink specials:
- The Candidate ($8) – gin, lemon juice, honey, elderflower liqueur, prosecco
- Make Americanos Great Again ($8) – Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey, Campari, Yellow Chartreuse, aromatic bitters, orange zest
- O Canada ($2) – discounted shot of Crown Royal
Touting “An Education in the Art of Food & Beer,” all three Public School locations in L.A. - Downtown L.A., Culver City and Sherman Oaks (PS213, PS310, PS818, respectively) - are offering Happy Hour (aka "Recess") all day. And because nothing says "America" like beer pong, the gastropubs are hosting an election-themed tournament, featuring presidential beer pong balls. Can't wait for those selfies!
The Black Cat in Silver Lake is hosting an Election Night viewing party, featuring all-American dishes like fried chicken and apple pie in addition to the regular dinner menu. The Cat is "stocking up on the hard stuff, [it] could be a long night."
The team at Big Bar in Los Feliz is as well known for their epic special events as they are for their expertly made cocktails. On Election Day, Big Bar welcomes guest bartender, Tobin Shea (beverage director at Redbird in Downtown L.A.) for 50 States // 50 Cocktails. Connecting his love of history and cocktails, Shea has created a cocktail for each state in the Union, along with a special edition of Mixtape Mixology with 50 songs dedicated to each state.
Here's how it works: as each state reports election results, the corresponding cocktail will be made available with either a red or blue coaster per the outcome. Once the state reports, those cocktails are available throughout the night, but not before. Word is that the Wild Turkey will be flowing all night as well. 50 States // 50 Cocktails is taking place from 4-11 p.m. No cover.
Also located in Los Feliz, MessHall is offering voters something extra on Election Day. Flash your “I Voted” sticker on Nov. 8 and receive the Ration of your choice with any entrée. Options include House Fries, Crispy Cauliflower, Cheese-ee Grits, Olives + Herbs, or Rainbow Carrots.
Located just over the Golden State Freeway in Atwater Village, The Morrison will be decorated with red, white and blue balloons and broadcasting the election returns on its numerous screens. Show your "I Voted" sticker and receive a free Happy Hour beer or glass of wine when you order any food item. Limit of 1 per person, 21+ with valid ID. If you're under drinking age you'll be served The Morrison's house specialty, butterscotch bread pudding.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center presents Let’s Make History Tonight, an Election Night party taking place from 5 p.m. to midnight at Next Door Lounge on La Brea. Enjoy complimentary food, a cash bar with drink specials, and watch the election returns on large screens throughout the club. Sponsored by the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Young Professionals Council, the Center’s Los Angeles Women’s Network, and AIDS/LifeCycle. Reservations required, RSVP at Eventbrite.
The largest national LGBT civil rights organization, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured equality. HRC Los Angeles and Hollywood For Hillary are hosting an Election Night Viewing Party from 5 p.m. to midnight at The Abbey Food & Bar in West Hollywood. Meet hundreds of other Hillary supporters as the returns start coming in. The Abbey and its adjacent lounge, The Chapel, will be screening election results beginning at 4 p.m.
The Beverly Hilton hotel (aka the “White House of the West”) has hosted countless presidents and heads of state over the years, and now you can walk (or sip) in their footsteps. Available now through Election Night, the special White House of the West menu offers cocktails that range from classic to modern, each named for a president with a penchant for the beverage.
- THE JFK - Beefeater Gin Martini, up with olives. Served regally in the White House to those in the good graces of “Camelot.”
- NIXON - Bacardi Rum and Coke. Nixon would relish mixing and stirring for his guests aboard the presidential yacht Sequoia.
- FORD - Glenfiddich Whisky on the rocks. Served in the spirit of bipartisanship.
- REAGAN - Orange Blossom. A Reagan favorite containing a mix of vodka, orange juice and a splash of sweet vermouth.
- BUSH SR. - Absolut Vodka Martini. Always politically correct, with or without garnish.
- CLINTON - Tanqueray Gin & Tonic. A standard on the Washington cocktail circuit.
- OBAMA - Blue Hawaiian. Combines the president’s penchant for aged tequila and the cool blue waters of the Pacific.
The Crest Theatre in Westwood is hosting an Election Night viewing party, the fourth and final event in their Decision 2016 fall series. Doors open at 6 p.m. with food trucks on Westwood Boulevard and theatre concessions available. Live stream of election results on the big screen, including live interviews with local political groups, starts at 7 p.m. A victory party for the winner kicks off at 11 p.m. A $5 donation is requested.
Located on Main Street in Santa Monica, Areal features a spacious patio, retro lounge, and a farm-fresh menu that appeals to any food lover. Watch election coverage starting at 7 p.m. Show proof that you voted and spin the prize wheel for drink specials, food specials, and special prizes. There are rolling specials throughout the night as states report in, or "when Nate Silver shows up on screen."
On Election Night, The Lincoln presents the second edition of For the Record, a weekly series of audience-curated vinyl DJ sets. Guests can BYOV (mixtapes too) and they'll be spun by The Lincoln’s resident DJs. Taking place from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., this week’s event is centered on "Born in the U.S.A.," featuring music by, for and about America - patriotic to protest, Springsteen to Crosby Stills Nash & Young. "Come salute the winners and console the losers with music, and party... whatever your party."
Along with all-American hot dogs and apple pie, specialty cocktails for the evening include:
- The Nasty Woman ("it’s blue-ish"): rye, applejack, lemon, blueberry, mint, crushed ice
- The Hollywood Boulevardier of Broken Dreams ("it’s red"): bourbon, Campari, Carpano Antica, orange bitters, orange peel
- The Green Party Killer ("it’s pale green"): gin, mint, egg, lime, simple syrup, atomized Fernet-Branca
Inspired by and named for the famous Chicago strip, Rush Street is a multi-level restaurant, bar and lounge located in the heart of Downtown Culver City. On Nov. 8, Rush Street presents its "Red, White & Blue" Election Night Party. Specials include red and white wines, Blue Moon draft beer, and "I Voted" sticker specials.