The Best Democratic Debate Watch Parties in Miami

Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders Bernie 2020
Here we go again. It’s just about time for another presidential election.

Before Florida votes to either give President Trump the boot or give him four more years — hey, this is Florida, so who knows how it'll go — there'll be debates upon debates.

Miami will host the first Democratic debates June 26 and 27 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Yes, there are two debate nights because there are approximately 89,867,654 Democratic candidates running.

Odds are you won’t make into the actual debate. But you can catch all of the action at a local watch party. Here are your best bets:

1306 Miami. She the People — a national network connecting women of color — the New Florida Majority, and a number of other organizations will host a multifaceted shindig at 1306. Before the big debate airs, there will be a panel discussing issues such as race, the economy, and injustice. During the debate, all attendees will be given a device to gauge their reactions to candidates in real time. So if/when Joe Biden gives that inappropriate hug, you can give that thumbs-down. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-377-2277; Admission is free with RSVP via

ArtServe. For folks in Broward, ArtServe will be the place to watch the June 26 debate. A number of community organizations — including Broward Young Democrats, the Broward Democratic Environmental Caucus, and Sister District 22 — are coming together to present this event. Bites and beverages will be onsite to help wash down all the candidates’ answers. 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-8190; Admission is free.

Barceloneta. Miami Beach residents will want to head to Barceloneta for both nights of debate action. Beginning at 8:30 each night, the Spanish restaurant will be the official gathering spot for the Miami Beach Democratic Club. When you just can't take the spin anymore, the spot’s Londres sangria (made with Cava, lemon, gin, and a lemon twist) will helps. 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, and Thursday, June 27, at 1400 20th St., Miami Beach; 305-538-9299; Admission is free.

Cvltvra at the Gabriel Hotel. Billed as the watch parties closest to the debates (two blocks away!), the Gabriel Hotel’s Latin-gone-Mediterranean Cvltvra is shaping up to be quite a spectacle. Each night of the debate from 5 to 7, the spot will host a pregame happy hour with $8 signature cocktails and glasses of wine as well as $5 beers and light bites. From 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, it’s Veuve Clicquot Thirsty Thursdays, offering bottomless champagne and chef-prepared bites for $45 per person. 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, and Thursday, June 27, at 1100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-577-9700. Admission is free.
Gramps. The Miami-Dade Young Democrats are throwing down where, you ask? That would be Gramps in Wynwood the first night of the debates. In conjunction with the Downtown Dems, the Young Democrats’ watch party will include a live airing of the debate on Gramps’ patio, in its theater, and at its main bar. 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; Admission is free.

Kendall Civic Center. Kendall Democrats will have their monthly meeting at the Kendall Civic Center Wednesday, and then it’s off to the bar next door! The group will have a room at Duffy’s beginning at 9 p.m. June 26 to watch the spectacle. It has to be one of the rare nights in Duffy’s history where sports won’t be on every single TV set. If your candidate flubs, the two-for-one drink specials will be a wonderful salve. 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at 8625 SW 124th Ave., Miami. Admission is free.
The Trump Train. What in hell is this thing doing on this list? Well, in addition to the Dems' watch parties, folks from the other side of the aisle will be watching and demonstrating in their own way. For exxample: The Trump Train, AKA a group of people led by Trump Team Broward, is taking the Brightline train from West Palm Beach at 5:30 p.m. June 26, stopping in Fort Lauderdale at 6:09, arriving in Miami at 6:45, and heading to the Arsht Center to demonstrate. There will be plenty of other groups demonstrating too, so expect a scene if you have tickets to the big show. Departing 5:30 p.m. from 511 Evernia St., West Palm Beach, and 6:09 p.m. from 101 NW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale.
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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.