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As the House Stands Still, Nearby Union Pub Lays Down a $218 Deal

Plus, Congress turns to Wiseguy Pizza and Cotton & Reed rum to get through a rough week

Third day of 118th Congress
Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) preparing for yet another round of voting for speaker at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, January 5.
Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Never to stray away from politico pop culture, Capitol Hill’s nonpartisan standby Union Pub just unleashed a punny party special to honor the speaker stalemate spectacle currently under way just blocks away.

The go-to dive’s new “Speaker of the Pub” deal is priced at $218 for the 218 votes needed for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to finally clinch the speaker bid for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Union Pub’s group offer includes two buckets of icy Budweiser or Bud Light beers, eight shots of whiskey, a bottle of wine and another of “fancy” bubbly, a platter of “totchos” (tater tot nachos), and a “Speaker of the Pub” wooden gavel. On Thursday, January 5, at least three tables participated in the deal that runs until a speaker is finally elected in what has been the longest contest in 164 years.

McCarthy has so far lost a whopping 11 rounds of votes inside the U.S. Capitol, and the next meeting of the 118th Congress is set for Friday, January 6 at noon. Without a speaker in place, all House business and legislating halts, committees are unable to pay staff, and members-elect can’t be sworn in.

As one would, McCarthy and company ate their feelings this week. On Tuesday, January 3—the same day the frigid Hill freeze kicked off—late-night delivery reportedly came in the form of New York-style pies from Wiseguy Pizza, wheeled in via dolly cart, and boxes upon boxes of Chick-fil-A.

The following day, at least one elected official on the other side of the aisle wallowed in stalled sorrows at the bar. When GOP Rep. Kat Cammack stood up and accused Democrats of supposedly drinking on the floor, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) shot back with: “If only! If Dems took a shot every time McCarthy lost a Republican, we’d all be unconscious by now,” per a Tweet.

So when Congress adjourned that night, Ocasio-Cortez went straight to nearby Cotton & Reed Distillery in the Union Market district for dinner. There’s no food served on-site, so “she was taking advantage of our under-utilized policy that takeout is always allowed,” notes a Cotton & Reed rep. Her documented visit on Instagram stories also included a shot of its rum barrels.