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In Washington, D.C., Local Bars Host Impeachment Hearing Watch Parties


There have been several public congressional hearings that have made big news lately. And here in Washington, those hearings tend to bring drink specials. So NPR's Kat Lonsdorf hit the bars around Capitol Hill earlier today to see what today's testimony had shaken up.

KAT LONSDORF, BYLINE: In some ways, the scene at Union Pub looks a lot like a big game - crowds of people sitting at tables and perched on bar stools, craning their necks to look at TVs. But in other ways, it's pretty different. There's no cheering, no team jerseys. And it's political points that people are paying attention to. But there's drinking, of course.

HANNAH OLSEN: So I'm drinking the, 'I got 99 problems but impeachment ain't one.' It's peach vodka, peach schnapps.

LONSDORF: Hannah Olsen is sitting at the bar with her friend. She's a student at Georgetown.

OLSEN: I'm new to D.C., so I felt like this would be peak D.C.

LONSDORF: It really is peak D.C. I mean, this - I - where'd you move here from?

OLSEN: Miami.

LONSDORF: So this probably isn't happening in Miami.

OLSEN: Yeah. No, I don't think this would be up Miami's alley.

LONSDORF: It's definitely up D.C.'s alley - at least this part of D.C., the political bubble in the shadows of the Capitol building.

At Duffy's Irish Pub down the road a bit, Stanley LaGrenade is drinking a Guinness, watching Ambassador Taylor on the screen above the bar.

STANLEY LAGRENADE: D.C. is a fun place because we treat these congressional hearings like they're a sporting event. You know, people take off work. I wanted to be a part of that.

LONSDORF: So he took a day off and headed to the bar.

LAGRENADE: It's easy for me to stay home and scream at the TV and stay in my bubble. But coming to a bar and talking to others who may sort of see things from the other point of view is interesting.

LONSDORF: There are others here who also took the day off, but they wouldn't go on the record about it.

Behind the bar, Jessie Marrero is on duty. She's mixing up a subpoena colada for a nurse here on her day off.

JESSIE MARRERO: It's a camaraderie of being able to sit with other people, drink, maybe laugh, maybe not laugh.

LONSDORF: At Hawk 'N' Dove, one of the Hill's oldest bars, they opened early for political nerds to watch the hearings from the beginning this morning. Wendy Strothman is visiting D.C. from New York with her husband. She says they didn't want to miss this.

WENDY STROTHMAN: This is historic. I remember the Watergate hearings, and this is the most historic hearing, I think, since then.

LONSDORF: They've made friends with Alan Riddick, a longtime Washington resident sitting next to them. Riddick says a lot of his friends in this town are tired of talking about politics these days, so he's here to sit with new friends who aren't burned out.

ALAN RIDDICK: Yeah. Yeah. It's cool. And have a beer while you're at it (laughter).

STROTHMAN: We'll all need a good, stiff drink after this is over.


LONSDORF: Cheers to that.

Kat Lonsdorf, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOT'OX'S "BABYLON BY CAR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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