We've white-knuckled our way through two presidential debates, but the end is nigh: This Wednesday, at 8 p.m., the third and final debate of the 2016 presidential election will start. (And then we still have about three more weeks to get through before we'll actually find out who the nation's next president will be, but at this point, let's just take this election one day at a time.)
Sure, it's technically your civic duty to watch Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump argue over their positions – but more importantly, missing this last debate means you'll also miss out on understanding the wave of Twitter memes, late night comedy rants and Saturday Night Live sketches guaranteed to follow what might be the craziest debate yet. We're here to make sure that doesn't happen to you, as we've found Houston debate watching parties you can attend no matter where you live in the city or which candidate you support.
We've broken down the viewing parties into two categories, non-partisan events hosted by a seemingly neutral venue – though we make no promises, since it's practically impossible not to have an opinion on this election – and partisan events, which are clearly hosted by either a candidate or a local chapter of a political party. Check them out below.
Debate watching at the Rec Room, a live performance space in downtown Houston, is not a spectator sport. The event's preview page promises drinking games – our suggestion: drink whenever you mentally count down the days left till the election – and debate-themed bingo. There will also be live fact-checking, since that seems to be a disturbingly necessary service of watching any political event this year.
Axelrad Beer Garden
For Houstonians who feel their heart rate spike during every debate and can't help but start looking for the nearest exits, Midtown's Axelrad Beer Garden might the most casual, least stress-inducing place to watch. Not only is the bar outside, but beer, cocktails, pizza and a food truck will be available. Plus, you can order in pizza while you enjoy New Orleans jazz musician Kermit Ruffins' pre-debate performance, which will start at 5 p.m.
Give into the belief that this election can't really be happening and imagine that this debate is nothing more than a dystopian movie by watching the debate on the big screen at the Alamo Drafthouse's Mason Park and Vintage Park locations. While the 8 p.m. show is technically free, you must “hold your seat” by buying a $5 voucher for food and beverages.
For Democrats (or anyone supporting Hillary Clinton)…
Want to be surrounded by people who will boo, hiss and likely make fun of Donald Trump's spray tan this Wednesday? You have two options: Both the Gage Lounge, a Midtown bar, and Harold's in the Heights, a restaurant that serves southern and Creole food in – where else? – the Heights, have debate watching parties listed on Clinton's website. While the Gage Lounge party is an official campaign event and starts at 6 p.m., the viewing party at Harold's is hosted by the Democrats of the Houston Heights, Precinct 59, and starts at 7 p.m.
Thanks to the Harris County Republican Party, Houston Republicans have two very, very different options when it comes to debate viewing parties this week. If you're looking to get your rowdy, would-be cowboy on, check out the watching party at Rebels Honky Tonk, which will open at 7 p.m. especially for the event. There will be a cash bar, and light appetizers will be served. However, if going to a bar with a mechanical bull sounds like a recipe for wanton sin to you, the northwest club of the HCRP will host a viewing in the Stone Chapel of northwest Houston's Lanier Theological Library. That party also starts at 7 p.m.