The top spots you should have watched the #DemDebate in Des Moines (Or where you should go next time)

Posted: September 20, 2019 | By: Kiley Roach Tagged: Blog

The Democratic Debates might as well be the Superbowl for political pundits and fascinated college students. In Iowa, where politics is life during an election year, a public watch party is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in what real people think of the candidates. If you don’t feel like going out on the town for the Democratic Debate, you can also just do what most of us do and watch it in a living room with our nerdy friends, but these spots are way more fun.

Uncommitted Debate Watch Party

Teddy Maroon’s | Des Moines

7:00PM – 9:30PM

Hosted by the Polk County Democrats, Teddy Maroon’s on Ingersoll Avenue hosted their third Democratic Debate watch party. This upper-echelon sports bar came equipped with cocktails, a wide selection of beer on tap, and delicious apps to enjoy while watching the debate. While I am a proponent of visiting Teddy Maroon’s year-round, the restaurant came alive with political energy during a watch party. While the drinks and the food aren’t free, it’s definitely worth the investment. The best part is, the Polk County Dems have yet to endorse a candidate, so this event was perfect for uncommitted voters!

Pupusas & Politics

1511 S. Union St | Des Moines


Do you enjoy homemade Salvadorian food? Vigorous politic-ing? Pupusas & Politics might be the watch party spot for you. This year, they put on a deal for 3 pupusas for just $5.00 during the debate (for those who don’t know, pupusas are slightly thicker than corn tortillas typically stuffed with cheese, beans, or meat). Who doesn’t love good, cheap food over a spirited debate?

No Strings Attached – Debate Watch Party

Papa Keno’s | Drake

College & Young Democrats of Iowa

7:00PM – 9:30PM

A frequent trivia-hotspot and local pizzeria, Papa Keno’s continues to be a popular location for political events. In the spring, Democratic presidential hopefuls, like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, made frequent pit-stops to connect with young voters, members of the Drake community, and local and national media. For the third Democratic Presidential Debate, the College & Young Democrats of Iowa gathered with the community for some pizza, beer, and a crowded stage. For the next debate, make sure you give this hot-spot a second look.

Debate Watch Party with Caucus for Kids

Conmigo Early Education Center | Des Moines

6:00PM – 10:00PM

Every Child Matters, an Iowa-based nonprofit organization focused on closing the opportunity gap facing American children and families and advocates for elevating their issues to a national stage. They hosted a debate watch party with free food and drinks at the Conmigo Early Education Center. If you’re interested in issues facing children and families, this would have been the watch party for you. Non-profit organizations with a number of missions will host political events and watch parties throughout the caucus season, so make sure you monitor social media for updates!

Campaign Watch Parties

Presidential campaigns will often host their own local watch parties for their staff and interested voters. When you attend one of these, you are a little less likely to get an impartial view of the candidates. These types of watch parties are great if you know someone who works on a campaign or if you are already committed to a candidate. It can be fun to eat, drink, and converse with likeminded folks who are just as interested in what your candidate has to say as you are!