Where to Talk Politics with the Right, Left, or Unaffiliated People
If you are a political junkie, you’ve come to learn that not everyone wants to talk politics with you. Like picking a candidate or running mate, you have to choose your company carefully at times. If discussing the election season’s issues, political players and power brokers with friends, family or co-workers goes nowhere — or pushes relationships to a breaking point — you may want to find other outlets for spirited debate or nods of agreement. To find politically charged people with whom to hash out the problems and solutions of the day, check out some groups and places below to see which one best fits your interests and political persuasion.
A reminder that August 17 is the last day to register to vote in the New York state primary election. That election for state and local offices takes place September 17.
Lexington Democratic Club: The largest and oldest reform Democratic Party organization in Manhattan was founded on the Upper East Side in 1949. It engages in both local and national politics, but primarily concerns itself with politics in the Upper East Side’s 73rd Assembly District. Regular annual membership is $20.
Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC: The city’s first and only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Democratic group aims to represent the ideas, concerns and priorities of the city’s and state’s LGBT community and also endorses federal and congressional candidates. The group, which also sponsors events and has spin-off meetings, convenes every fourth Wednesday of every month at 8 p.m.
The New York Libertarian Party Meetup Group: The NY Libertarians, a party founded 40 years ago, have enlisted some 400 members in its New York meetup group to storm the castle. With their no compromise, pro-freedom attitude, they are dedicated to individual rights, constitutional government and free enterprise. The second Tuesday of every month, the meetup group gathers to hear speakers and share ideas on how to restore civil society and raise awareness. A meeting this summer at the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant featured Gregory T. Angelo, chairman of New York state’s Log Cabin Republicans, the only Republican organization dedicated to representing gay and lesbian interests.
Metropolitan Republican Club: From its real clubhouse on East 83rd Street on the Upper East Side, members support NYC Republican candidates and ideas. Activities include dress-up gala affairs, election campaigns, talks with prominent speakers and events that strive to spark a debate. Interested? They meet the first Thursday of every month from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in their members lounge for an informal social gathering. A regular membership is $75 a year and events are open to nonmembers for a nominal fee.
New York Young Republican Club: Recognized by the county, state and national Republican committees, people between the ages of 18 and 40 come here to discuss and promote Republican principles and values. They hold monthly free socials at bars and clubs, and meet every third Thursday of the month to mix with speakers, candidates, authors and more. Regular membership is $35 a year. The monthly meetings are open to the public and free, and are usually held in Midtown Manhattan.
Democrat Leadership for the 21st Century: The DL21C has no affiliation with the Democratic Party and doesn’t endorse candidates, but it sure does lean Democratic. DL21C describes itself as an independent forum for progressive New Yorkers to network, ask questions and hear from some of American’s top elected officials. Casually dating or very committed to politics? It doesn’t matter. All are welcomed to its events, which are held in bars, clubs and other spaces around the city. Yearly membership is $50 and events are open to nonmembers for a small fee.
NYC Debate Meetup: If you don’t care about discussing similar interests with your fellow party members and you just want to verbally duke it out on the debate floor — in this case, within the Sony Public Atrium on Madison Avenue between 55th and 56th streets — check out this club and learn how to debate on fun topics of your choosing. Don’t worry, their debates are not audience events, but you’ll find their sign at one of atrium’s public tables. Novices and experienced debators are both welcome. Not only can verbal sparring take out some of your stress and frustration, but it can also improve your public speaking skills and analytical thinking. The meetup
Politics for a Human Community: Every part of life is touched and affected by humans. If that statement hits home for you then this is a group you should join. Their belief is that man is interconnected and interdependent with all of humanity. The group believes all human interaction must contain empathy, love and respect. They have several meetings and events throughout the month, each with a different topic, such as political and spiritual discussions and community building. Membership dues are $10 a year.
Radical Women Meetup Group: Boys drool and girls rule! The Radical Women focus on women’s leadership and train women to take their place in the face of the struggle. This small group has under 40 members, but they join the fight against sexism, racism, labor exploitation and homophobia. Events this summer included a happy hour in the West Village, a meeting in Harlem addressing injustice in the justice system, and there’s an upcoming potluck dinner in the garden of Black Women’s Blueprint in Brooklyn. Not sure how radical you are? Check out the Radical Women Manifesto, a guide socialist feminist ideas and the feminist organization founded in 1967.
Politics doesn’t have to be discussed only at formal meetings with an agenda. What better way to talk about politics, or even democracy, in a democratic place. Bars are known as places where strangers can talk and share common ground. Drinking Liberally, an informal social group founded in NYC in 2003, gives compatible, left-leaning people a place to raise their glasses, share ideas and also a pitcher. No need to be a policy expert. Come, drink responsibly, and have a good time where it’s not forbidden to talk politics.
· When: the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m.
· Where: 4th Avenue Pub on 76 Fourth Avenue
· When: the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.
· Where: Harlem Tavern on 2153 Frederick Douglass Boulevard
New York City
· When: every Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m.
· Where: Rudy’s Bar and Grill at 627 Ninth Avenue, between 44th and 45th streets
· When: the second and fourth Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m.
· Where: Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden at 29-19 24th Avenue
Upper East Side:
· When: the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.
· Where: Reif’s Tavern on 302 East 92nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue
· When: every fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m.
· Where: The Commodore Bar at 366 Metropolitan Avenue