Although the testimony of former FBI director James Comey was happening down at the Capitol, the real party was happening across town at a local D.C. bar.
Shaw’s Tavern in south D.C. opened it’s doors early on Thursday morning for their Comey Hearing Covfefe, a watch party inviting interested politicos to their bar for vodka, sandwiches, and a highly anticipated Congressional hearing.
The owner of the restaurant, Rob Heim, said an invite from a friend to watch the testimony at a bar inspired him to make a watch party of his own, right in his own tavern. Before he boarded his flight Sunday, he put out a Facebook invite for his party. By the time he landed, there were over 200 ‘yes’ RSVPs and counting.
“We’ve always done debate parties, watch parties and always had a good crowd,” Heim said. “but I never thought this would blow up like it did.”
In honor of the hearing, Shaw’s Tavern rolled out special menu items like an FBI Sandwich, a play on the class BLT sandwich, that included fried chicken breast, bacon and iceberg lettuce. There was also an FBI breakfast, which included French toast, and ice cream.
There was also a drink special of $5 Russian vodkas, making light of the possible Russian collusion with the 2016 election.
By 9:15 a.m. ET, the line outside Shaw’s Tavern spanned a whole block, filled with people eager to get a glimpse of the hearing— and maybe grab a drink early on a Thursday. Lauren Daly and her friend flew in from Dallas, Texas the night before and made it a priority to get to the bar after she the saw the event of Facebook.
“Part of it was just the hilarity of bars choosing to open early for this moment, so I’ll kind of be a part of history,” Daly said. “I want to know what he has to say.”
Daly, who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, described the past 138 days of the Trump administration, including the Comey firing in one word: Bewilderment.
“I feel like regardless of what Comey says, it’s going to provide the public a better idea of what’s going on behind closed doors,” Daly said. “There’s just been so much secrecy and so much going on in the background that weren’t not being told about.”
Daly’s friend, Lindsie, simply described the Comey hearing as a “Fake House of Cards.”
Shortly after 10 a.m., the hearing started, and the bar fell quiet. People were squeezed together at tables, munching on F.B.I. sandwiches and sipping on Russian vodka, their eyes glued to the television. Those passing by the bar stopped to peek into the windows of the Tavern to see what all the buzz was about.
Aras Troy of D.C. didn’t have a Russian vodka himself, but instead opted to sip on a cup of labeled ‘covfefe’—which was made up of hot coffee and whipped cream. Troy said the hearing watch party was slightly bizarre, but within D.C. fashion.
“D.C. is crazier than ever nowadays because it’s Trump era,” Troy said. “It’s the new normal. Everyone’s involved and everyone has a political opinion.”
Troy said he had been following the Comey coverage over the past few weeks and thought the hearing was crucial for the Trump administration’s image.
“I think it is a big deal because things are unraveling at the seams,” Troy said. “It’s definitely not the end of it, but it’s more of a start. It's chaos."