DC residents hit the bars for James Comey′s political Super Bowl | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 08.06.2017
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DC residents hit the bars for James Comey's political Super Bowl

In Washington, DC, politics is a spectator sport. Residents of the US capital took extra long lunches on Thursday to watch former FBI director James Comey's long-awaited Senate hearing and the revelations it might bring.

The were plenty of names for it: ComeyBowl, ComeyDome, Comey Day. Whenever there is political drama happening, the residents of Washington, DC can be sure to tune in. Bars and restaurants all over the city - many of which chose to open their doors earlier than normal on Thursday - switched their TVs over to the hours-long hearing at the Senate Intelligence Committee of former FBI director James Comey. It was just the latest episode in the ever-heightening drama surrounding the administration of President Donald Trump.

Many bars even offered special deals: a bingo card to follow along with the statements, or a round of shots or drinks every time Trump tweeted during the hearing (those barflies would be disappointed; Trump's tweets were conspicuously absent).

At McIntyre's, a sports bar in the northwest of the city, patrons sneaked out of work for an early lunch or chose to work from the bar to watch the proceedings. Richard V. Molnar, the day manager, brightened the morning by wearing a stars-and-stripes outfit to match his white mustache and beard.

"It helps bring attention to the issues," Molnar told DW about his decision to wear the costume. "People were asking ‘why are you wearing that?' and I'll say "Oh it's Comey Day!'"

Comey Senate hearing: Molnar: 'It's Comey day!'

Molnar: 'It's Comey day!'

Gathering in bars to watch political showdowns is just part of DC culture, said Molnar. Today he chose to open early because some of his regulars requested it. "We're a neighborhood bar, and I feel that everyone should know what's happening," he said. "We have an obligation. Let's hear what's said."

Brittany Parker, a fellow working at the Department of Defense, said that taking a few hours to watch the hearing, even though it might be morning on a Thursday, fit in with the life of Washington.

"Being in DC everyone, in some way, shape, or form, is in the government," Parker said. "This is our way of life, and it's under attack. There's a real question now if someone like Trump can come in and disrupt the states quo of what it's like to work in politics."

Parker said she chose to come to McIntyre's because she wanted to be part of a crowd that was genuinely interested in the hearing.

Mark Sullivan, the general manager at a high end condominium residence, took a small break in the middle of the day to watch the hearing because he was "intrigued if there was a smoking gun."

"It's always interesting to watch with friends and locals as opposed to at work, or alone in my living room," Sullivan said.

A few seats down the bar, Katie Paskowski, a federal employee at the US Office of Personnel Management, echoed Parker.

"For DC, it's like a sport, this is like the Super Bowl!" she said. Coming to a bar to watch the hearing "adds to it."

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