1. As you can imagine, thousands of furloughed government workers are having an effect on the D.C. bar scene.
2. BuzzFeed went to some favorite Capitol Hill watering holes to find out how the government shutdown is affecting their business.
3. Sonoma is an upscale bar frequented by many members of congress.
4. A bartender named Dominic told us members of Congress were getting “their buzz on” before voting to shut down the government.
“On the night of the actual shutdown when they were going in and doing the voting, there was at least 3 or 4 tables of members sitting around getting their buzz on before they decided to go shut the government down. It was a little disconcerting to see these guys on their 3rd merlot before they go in.”
5. Capitol Lounge, a favorite Hill staff bar, has been packed with furloughed staffers.
6. Bartender Scott Haller tells us that staffers are “pissed off.”
“There are bigger crowds and people staying later. I think it’s the novelty of it and we’re all in this shared misery together. There are emotions that are being subdued, but get them drunk enough, put them in the right situation, and you’ll see them come out. Groups are coming in and they’re like, pissed off.”
7. But he is tired of being asked for free drinks.
8. And staffers are ordering less because they just can’t afford it.
“People are getting less, they’re ordering less…they still wanna come out but they’re like ‘eh, I can’t afford it.’”
9. To bring in business, his bar is giving away free beer with a government ID.
10. Pour House is a Capitol Hill staple.
11. Bartender Dibri says staffers are coming like it’s “vacation.”
“Everyone is getting ripped up and blowing all their money. We had a bunch of people in the corner yesterday with signs that said, ‘Federal Government Laid Us Off,’ and they were doing carbombs.”
12. Drunk staffers have been such a problem that they have had to bring in extra security just to manage them.
“They are getting rowdy. I have to cut them off regularly because they don’t have work in the morning. It is like Friday night for them. Where I’d have less security on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, I have to have bring in more security.”
13. And furloughed interns with fake IDs have been a pain in the ass.
14. Charlie is a Bartender at 201 Bar and Union Pub, both favorites of staffers.
15. He says staffers are drinking longer and getting “blasted.”
“They are staying much longer and drinking more. They get blasted because, hey, they don’t have work in the morning.”
16. He says one group of staffers came in after signing their furlough papers on Tuesday and drank for 12 hours.
“[A group of Hill staffers] came in at like 12:30 p.m, got some buckets. Eventually I was like alright guys last call. They drank the entire work day…for them it was like a Friday.”
17. But Charlie is worried about his own paycheck if the shutdown continues.
“If this continues I’m going to lose all my money. I’m not furloughed. No one is gonna have money to give me, so I’m the one that really loses out. They all get paid retroactively.”
18. Brad, the bar owner, says furloughed workers have been asking him for “two week” jobs.
“I have probably gotten about 25 or 30 emails in the last three days saying, ‘Hey Brad, you met me one time. I just got furloughed,’ and then they would ask me if I had any two week jobs.”
19. But at least D.C. can rest assured, no matter how long the shutdown lasts, there will be plenty of booze left to drink.
So tip your bartenders!