Up to 100 million people are expected to watch Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump square off Monday night in the first of three general election debates – an audience comparable to only to the Super Bowl. Those numbers have convinced some Southern California sports bars to put the debate on tv instead of Monday Night Football.
“We’ve just been getting so many requests to view it," said Franklin Bator, the director of operations at Hyperion Public, a Silverlake pub. "It’s the first national debate between the candidates, so it takes precedence for sure.”
Bator is expecting more than 100 people to show-up. His staff is even serving a special election menu, with hot wings for Republicans, spicy blueberry wings for Democrats and pretzels for the undecideds.
Dozens of bars and restaurants in Southern California are hosting viewing parties, some for a particular candidate and others with no political affiliation. But not every bar is getting into the election spirit.
At Rocco’s Tavern in Pasadena, the staff debated what to show and they decided the NFL would take priority, though they will have the debate on a few televisions with the sound muted, according to manager Steve Underwood.
“Since we are a sports bar, we’re going to put the Monday Night Football game on,” said Underwood. “Maybe some people are trying to get away from the reality of the debate.”