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No Capitol Lounge?


You Are What You Drink. In this contentious election season, Republicans and Democrats don’t just take opposite sides of most policy issues; they’re also split on where to eat, what bars to frequent and what newspaper to read.

The Liaison Capitol Hill, the swanky, recently renovated spot on New Jersey Avenue Northwest, is capitalizing on the city’s partisan mood with a special “Pick Your Party” package geared toward out-of-towners seeking to feel like political insiders.

For $219, guests get a guide to restaurants and bars favored by the political party of their choice (Democratic picks include Busboys and Poets and the Pour House, while Republicans favor Old Ebbitt Grille and the Bush twin hangout Smith Point), along with a picnic basket full of “American culinary delights” and a “Not for Tourists” city guide. And to ensure folks stay on top of the issues, Democrats receive a copy of the Washington Post, while Republicans get the Washington Times.

General Manager Dani Elhachem tells HOH that the Liaison already has received hundreds of reservations for the package, which is part of the hotel’s effort to shake things up on Capitol Hill.

“There’s nothing stuffy about our hotel,” Elhachem said. “Capitol Hill in general has been looking for something fun and different and new and exciting, and I think we’re pretty confident that we’re doing that.”

Also using the Republican-Democrat split as marketing fodder is the Source by Wolfgang Puck. The swanky restaurant created special election-themed dishes based on the flavors of Illinois and Arizona, the home states of presidential contenders Sens. Barack Obama (D) and John McCain (R), respectively.

There’s the Chicago-style half smoke, a hot dog featuring mustard, sweet pickle relish, chopped onions, tomato wedges, dill pickle and peppers, reminiscent of Obama’s hometown. Seeking something with a little more southwestern flavor a la McCain’s home state? Try the baby back ribs, which come with a special honey-chipotle sauce. Both dishes are priced at $14 each and are available during dinner hours in the restaurant’s lounge.

And don’t worry about betraying your party bona fides — you can try the dish of your rival party.