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Cast Your Straw Vote at Harry’s New York Bar

Harry's New York Bar
courtesy of Harry’s New York Bar

[Update: There was a record number of straw votes cast at Harry’s New York Bar on the evening of the U.S. presidential election. How did expat Americans vote? Hillary Clinton received an enormous majority of the votes. Harry’s Bar has been correct in 20 of the 22 elections in which the “straw pool” has been conducted.]

A bar might seem like an odd place to cast a ballot for a presidential election, but that’s also part of the fun.

Harry’s New York Bar [1] in the 2nd arrondissement [2] has been conducting a straw poll since 1924 for U.S. citizens casting their vote for the U.S. presidential election. (One must show proof of citizenship to participate.) Astonishingly, the results have only been wrong two times in the 92 years the bar has been doing it (1976 and 2004 were the unsuccessful election years).

The global media frenzy surrounding this year’s historical American presidential election, means that more and more people are talking about it– perhaps over drinks at the bar. [3]

The night of the presidential election, Tuesday, November 8, Harry’s will be holding — as is tradition — a lively party to honor the festive occasion.

Located at 5 rue Daunou and open till 2am every night except Sunday (when it closes at 1am), Harry’s offers much promise of an exciting night, even on non-election nights.

The bar is over 100 years old (established in 1911), and has been run by the same family, the MacElhones, since 1923. It is undeniably a Paris institution, attracting expatriates and natives from all walks of life. During World War I, the bar was frequented by American soldiers, perhaps because it reminded them of home. It was also a natural attraction for the throngs of American artistic types who flocked to Paris in the 1920s in search of a less expensive, and more artistically fulfilling, city to call home.

Harry's New York Bar
courtesy of Harry’s New York Bar

Harry’s boasts a formidable list of who’s-who on their roster of famous people who once called Harry’s their watering hole. Such literary (and heavily imbibing) notables like Ernest Hemingway [4]and F. Scott Fitzgerald counted it among the many bars they frequented, as did writer Sinclair Lewis. Coco Chanel was a fan. So were Hollywood legends Humphrey Bogart and Rita Hayworth, and James Bond creator Ian Flemming. The bar is even referenced in a Bond story.

It’s said that music legend George Gershwin composed An American in Paris at the piano bar there (named, amusingly, Ivories). And legend has it that the Blood Mary and French 75 were both invented there.

So if you’re an American, amble down to Harry’s to take part in the vote. And if you’re not an American, amble down to Harry’s anyways because you’re likely to have un bon temps.