A Badger’s Guide to the Presidential Candidates: Bar-style

Relating to the candidates the best way we know how: alcohol

Madtown Lowdown | Kelsey Lutgen | March 16, 2016

  • Copied

The 2016 presidential race is in our midst, and these bunch of candidates might be the biggest mixed-bag we’ve ever encountered. This is strangely reminiscent of the bar scene here in Madison: a hodgepodge of unique atmospheres and different walks of life all converging towards one goal—black out. Here’s the candidates we know and love mildly tolerate as our beloved Madison bars (and honestly, after watching some of these debates, you may just want to hit up one of these spots).


Bernie Sanders as Roast Public House

Bernie Sanders is relatively new to mainstream American politics, so when he arrived as Hillary Clinton’s top contender following a strong showing at the New Hampshire primary, it kind of confused everyone. Roast, whose doors opened a mere four years ago, has successfully been able to transform itself from a sandwich shop into a popular bar at night. Critics of Sanders argue that his politics are too narrow to garner a mainstream following, just as even Roast’s most loyal customers admit that the bar area could use some more elbow room. 


Marco Rubio as The Blue Velvet Lounge

Senator Marco Rubio from Florida is of Cuban descent, and thus one might assume he’d be as spicy and fun as his heritage (similar to Blue Velvet’s popular Latin Night.) However, Rubio cares to only service the elite with his tax policies and possesses a complete misunderstanding of what power truly is. Blue Velvet similarly features an expensive and expansive martini menu but largely ignores what the majority of its patrons need—2-for-1’s and cheap bar food.

(March 15, 2016 marked the end of Rubio’s campaign.  Perhaps this is a sign for Blue Velvet?)


John Kasich as The Ivory Room Piano Bar

It’s tough out there for mildly-Democratic-but-still-wants-to-be-recognized-as-a-Republican candidates, especially in John Kasich’s case. Honestly, the dude’s biggest problem might just be that he tries to appeal to everyone—much like The Ivory Room, who’s dinner menu is arguably better than their drink specials might be. The Ivory Room and Kasich run into the same problems with maintaining a solid following because while they’re well-liked, they’re never anyone’s first choice.




Ted Cruz as The Nitty Gritty

No one is quite sure how he’s gotten this far, but apparently Cruz will continue to relentlessly tail Donald Trump until his campaign has run itself into the ground. I’m pretty sure the only reason he’s still running is because he’s always reassuring himself that it’s okay to always finish second because at least you’re beating someone (sorry Rubio). The Nitty Gritty, like Cruz, has the appeal to attract you for the short-term (Power Hour specials) but lacks the sustenance to keep you there all night. If Cruz isn’t able to close the delegate gap between him and Trump soon, his campaign may be scrambling for their “Final Countdown.”


Hillary Clinton as Wando’s

Wando’s claims they’re the best late-night option due to their infamous fishbowls and third-floor DJ area, but enduring the line outside and the line to the third floor is arguably not worth braving the townie-infested bar crowd. Hillary Clinton, like Wando’s, claims she has the overwhelming allure to secure the Democratic bid—but the more she talks about it, the more people ignore her. I mean, it actually looks like it’s painful for her when she laughs. Can we really trust that either of them are a good time?


Donald Trump as Osaka

What started out as a joke in the group chat (“Osaka tonight lol?”) turned into a long-term commitment fueled by what can only be described as poor judgement and sake bombs. Donald Trump’s supporters could be compared to those who choose to go to Osaka willingly—confused, blind, and lacking an understanding as to what quality bars are.

Now, you may be noticing that this list is missing what is perhaps the most storied bar in Madison: the Kollege Klub. Alas, we have not forgotten it. Out of pure fairness, the honor of being compared to the best bar in Madison belongs to…

President Barack Obama

Now, you may be saying, “Hey that’s not fair! He’s not even a candidate!” Exactly. Despite your personal feelings about the guy, Obama has proven he is top dog through two elections, and if you choose it three times in a row, you would.  Similarly, the KK serves as the king of the Madison bar scene. Whether your memories of the KK be fond (double-fisting Long Islands at FAC) or unfavorable (getting your fake confiscated despite your best objections that “it’s totally real!!!”), the KK is an institution whose appeal among students and parents alike has made them indisputably the top bar in Madison.